Best things to do in, the South Island, New Zealand

A trip to New Zealand’s South Island will be sure not to disappoint; there truly is an activity and location for every individual and choice of travel style. Regardless of the way you see New Zealand we can guarantee you will leave appreciating the food, culture, people and landscapes of this spectacular land.

New Zealand's South Island is where the magic happens!

Picturesque landscapes decadent food and wine as well as activities that will make your heart race beyond belief. A South Island adventure should be on everyone’s bucket list no matter the age; from families to solo travellers and honeymooners alike a definite tick off the bucket list will be achieved in the glorious South Island of New Zealand.

When planning your New Zealand South Island itinerary we recommend including the following:


Do yourself a favour and go for a long and windy drive among the mountain ranges. The scenery is next-to-none with a surprise around every corner, expect to come across hitchhikers, wildlife and everything in between. Locals and travellers alike will agree, this is by far a top thing to do in New Zealand’s South Island!



New Zealand’s South Island is home to exquisite food and wine, a must in this stunning island is too over indulge and enjoy every minute of it. The Marlborough region in New Zealand’s South Island is the largest wine-producing area in the country. Take full advantage and get the ultimate wine and dine immersion by booking a wine tour in New Zealand’s South Island. 


Take your scenic drive to the next level and jump on board a scenic flight… to altitude! Skydive from a perfectly good plane with us at NZONE Skydive in Queenstown! Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island is the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world. Hence, It wouldn’t be appropriate to take a trip and not add an adrenaline filled tick to the bucket list. Virtuosa noted skydiving in New Zealand as the number one must-do in their 2019 Luxe Report, so if you don’t take our word for it, take theirs! If you have been waiting for a sign to #EmbraceTheFear this is it; take a look at some amazing deals we have on offer at the moment and book your skydive now!

Once you completed your Queenstown Skydive you can also check out our two sister dropzone Skydive Southern Alps located in Glenorchy and Skydive Wanaka located in Wanaka. Both are home to amazing views and a relaxed atmosphere which will make you feel ready to conquer the world or… jump from a perfectly good plane! 


As you are now aware, New Zealand’s South Island is scattered with mountain ranges, lakes and coastlines. The stunning scenery and topography of the South Island creates for many multi-day and single-day hikes alike. There are many tourist hot spots in the South Island when it comes to hikes; the most popular are Roy’s Peak, Ben Lomand, Lake Alta and The Routeburn Track. Hence; we recommend taking to the mountains for scenery beyond belief and the most rewarding tick off your New Zealand Bucket List. 


Milford Sound is a stunning Fiord located in New Zealand’s South Island. It’s best known for towering Mitre Peak, as well as the many rainforests and waterfalls that occupy the region. There are many ways to experience this beautiful part of the South; you can cruise through the sound by boat or kayak. Hike over multiple days or even fly in and out of the region from Queenstown. Regardless of how you choose to see it, you will be sure to boast of its beauty, needless to say, a visit to Milford Sound should be on everyone’s South Island bucket list… if it’s not already!


The West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is where nature stands out. The extended stretching region is home to some of the most scenic drives in New Zealand. Experience the natural beauty of the land up close and personal by partaking in a glacier heli-hike. Both Fox and Franz Glacier located on the West Cost of New Zealand’s South Island, offers an all-inclusive experience. Your experience will include a helicopter flight to the glacier followed by a hike on top of and inside of it! These glaciers are some of the fastest moving in the world, thus creating constantly changing and evolving paths of travel. Be prepared to explore unique ice caves, tunnels and crevasses, making no two days of exploration the same.


Beyond its stunning landscape, New Zealand’s South is also home to an array of native flora and fauna. We recommend a stop in Kaikōura where the mountains meet the sea; it is here that you will get an up close and personal with the majestic wildlife of the ocean. Kaikōura is world-renowned for its inhabitants of a variety of marine mammals; most of which can be seen by the naked eye. In particularly the giant sperm whale and the acrobatic dusky dolphins, which make this location so well known. Enjoy a leisurely cruise through this stunning location and watch as mother nature’s water creations play in front of your very eyes.


It’s no secret that New Zealand is home to some of the most awe-inspiring terrain and mountain ranges., hence it’s no surprise a trip up the mountain for some time on the snow has made our South Island Must Do list! Strap on your board or skis to experience postcard views at every turn. Whether you’re a pro on the slopes or a newbie on the magic carpet a day up the mountain will leave you wanting more. We recommend The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Mt Hutt; all are located in the South Island and best thing Coronet Peak even offers night skiing! Hence; you can jam-pack your day with adventures and head up the mountain of a night for a few runs, mulled wine and some live music… the best way to end a winter’s day in New Zealand!


Lake Tekapo has some of the darkest skies in the world, the pure air and darkness of the night mean you will have a rare opportunity to see the night sky in all its glory. Mt John Observatory in the region has state of the art telescopes, which allow for beyond amazing visuals of the night sky. The telescopes will provide views of galaxies and star clusters which aren’t visible to the naked eye. This experience provides a unique opportunity in time to truly appreciate the natural world we live and the wonders of the universe beyond our day to day encounters. 


The North of the South Island is home to some astounding Flora; hence its no surprise Christchurch is known as the “Garden City”. Christchurch’s botanic gardens is a must-do in the New Zealand South Island.  There’s something to delight in every season as the gardens showcase everything from daffodils to roses in the warmer months as well as stunning autumn leaves and cosy conservatories in the cooler months. See, smell and immerse yourself in the beauty that is New Zealand’s Flora in the vibrant and ever-growing city of Christchurch. 


As you have already gathered from above New Zealand is renowned for its picturesque mountain ranges and lakes, but what you may not have realised just how great its coastal beaches are too! Dunedin has samples of coastline and with that, some beyond amazing beaches and surf stops that are a must-see. Take a dip in the ocean by day and have a picnic fish and chips dinner on the sand at night, (a true Kiwi way to take on a coastal adventure)!


There you have it from land to see; ground to air and everything in between. These are our top recommendations for your New Zealand South Island Itinerary for any time of the year. Whatever you choose, we are confident you will immerse yourself in some of the most scenic places, attractions and destinations New Zealand has on offer.

*Image source: Pixaby 


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Want to skydive again? We have two sister drop zones in Wanaka and Glenorchy and they would love to share another skydive experience with you.


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We recommend you commission us to shoot, edit and compile a complete documentary of your NZONE skydiving adventure.


Queenstown is the birthplace of Tandem Skydiving in New Zealand, also known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’.


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