Visit South Island/ Te Waipounamu| Unique Things to Do

The South Island of New Zealand is renowned for stunning and beautiful natural landscapes, including snow-capped mountains, wildfires, glaciers, pristine beaches, and lush rainforests. It is the larger of the two main islands in New Zealand and it got world recognition by its adventures and recreational activities, such as hiking, skiing, and bungee jumping.

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From wildlife to wineries, glacier valleys to star filled skies, the south island offers adventure in all its forms. The South Island is home to several famous tourist destinations, including Fiordland National Park, known for its spectacular fjords, including Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound.

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South Island is also popular for its natural beauty, its vibrant cities and towns like Queenstown, known as the “adventure capital of the world” and Christchurch, which is considered as the largest city in the South Island, known for its English heritage and beautiful gardens.


Top 10 Unique Things to Do in the South Island, New Zealand

Here are the most interesting and unique things to do by a Traveler in the South Island. Those are;


1. Visit Fiordland National Park

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Fiordland National Park is the first and major thing to do by a traveler. Roaming through Fiordland National Park which exhibits iconic natural glaciers, unique flora and fauna, and alpine ranges. Explore the 1.2 million hectares of national park with stunning fjords, waterfalls, and hiking trails in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can revel in a beautiful sunset at Fraser beach reserve, enjoy mirror lakes, hike to Lake Marian, and do a virtual flyover. Don’t miss the iconic Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound boat cruises.

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2. Take a bungee jumping in Queenstown

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Well known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown offers bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating, and more adrenaline-pumping activities against the backdrop of the Remarkable mountain range. Kawarau Bridge Bungy to jet boat thrill through the rugged beauty and unspoilt grandeur of white water rapids of the Shotover River. You can do multiple activities here like bungee jumping and skydiving, to take epic views of the Southern Alps and surrounding lakes, explore rocky gorges and creek crossing by quad bikes.

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3. Explore Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park

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Considered as New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook, home of highest mountains and longest glaciers. Park is a paradise for hikers, climbers, and stargazers with skyscrapers, peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields. Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park compose 23 peaks and 3000 meters high. Mountaineers regard the place as the best climbing region in Australia. It requires less skilled adventures with mountain walks that lead to alpine tarns and panoramic glacier views. Don’t forget to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.


4. Hike at Franz Josef Glacier

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Experience the breathtaking Franz Josef and Fox glaciers by hiking, ice climbing, or taking a scenic helicopter flight. As a traveler you can enjoy the most adventurous thing in the South Island in order to Franz Josef Glacier. Most recognized short hikes in New Zealand to climb the Witness the dynamic ice formations and blue ice caves. You have to travel around 4 km and it takes about 1.5 hours to complete, which starts from a glacier carved valley and passes through Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint, view of Sentinel rock and waterfalls on three sides.

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5. Water activities at Abel Tasman National Park

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Abel Tasman National Park is known for its stunning coastal sceneries, golden sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush native bushes. Ranked as the top national park when it comes to welcomes large numbers of international visitors, especially during summer months. Enjoy golden sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush forests in this coastal paradise. Place recognized as heaven for kayaking, you can expect water taxis on a daily basis in the entire park coastlines. Along with kayaking you can also take hiking in the Abel Tasman Coast Track, or simply relax on the beach.

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6. Visit Larnach Castle

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Larnach Castle is the only castle in New Zealand, located in Dunedin. Offering insights into Victorian culture and Victorian-style gardens. Built in 1871 by William Larnach, a famous merchant banker and politician. Renewed its next level craftsmanship works, New Zealand’s Antiques and styles of Victorian livings. Never miss to enjoy high tea, and learn about the castle’s fascinating history. Incredibly restored and explained by the Barker family who have owned and cared for the castle since 1967. Its stunning gardens were selected as the Garden of International Significances.


7.  Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

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Witness the unique limestone formations on the West Coast that resemble giant stacks of pancakes. Earthquake activity then lifted the ocean floor high and dry, slow motions of water, and wind began to erode the softer sandstone. Outcome is cliff and ravines with the hundreds of horizontal slices with vertical faces like huge stacks and pancakes. Today you will see high tide, the ocean swells rush headlong through ever narrowing tunnels. Never miss to visit at high tide to see powerful blowholes in action.

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8. Marvel at Moeraki Boulders

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Moeraki is now most famous for its Boulders, it is a Marvel at the mysterious spherical boulders scattered along Koekohe Beach. Under Moeraki beach boulders weigh several tones and are up to 2 meters in height. According to some research boulders belong to 65 million years ago. These formations, some over 1.5 meters in diameter, are a geological wonder and great for photography. The small fishing town of Moeraki was used by Europeans as an early whaling station and today it became home to many residents. Moeraki beach hotel and Moeraki village Holiday Park located here.

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9. Take a drive in Tekapo Dark Sky Reserve

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Tekapo Dark Sky Reserve offers some of the best stargazing in the world at this International Dark Sky Reserve. Due to its picture square at day and dazzling at night, Tekapo Dark Sky Reserve makes a perfect spot for stargazing. It is a 3 hour journey from south west of Christchurch in the Mackenzie basin. City looking north across the remarkable turquoise colored lake to the mountain drama of the Southern Alps. Take a tour or simply lay back and enjoy the clear night sky.


10. Cycling at Otago Central Rail region

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Take a cycle and ride your life by enjoying one of the perfect places in the South Island is Otago central rail. Total 150 km of cycling distance trail which is also suitable for horse riding and walking too. Cycling in the Rail Trail is one of the best things to do in the South Island as it offers a chance to see and learn about the history of railways and the Otago gold rush. While travelling in Otago central rail you are amidst some of the beautiful rocky landscapes, river gorges, viaducts, tunnels, townships, gold mining settlements and mud brick dwellings.


South Island Map

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Each of these destinations has its own unique features and importance’s. All these offer a totally different travel experience to backpackers and showcase the diverse natural beauty of South Island, New Zealand.

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