Activities to Do in South Island

Visit Abel Tasman National Park, Explore the Hokitika Gorge, Stroll at Wineries in Central Otago, Go to Mt Aspiring National Park, Bungee jumping in Queenstown, Explore Fiordland National Park and many more.

If the grind of daily life has got you feeling drained, you can try some of the best things to do in New Zealand, South Island, to get back your lost vigor. If you're a shopaholic, you can head to Nelson Sunday Market, where you can find everything from cosmetics to wedding dresses, all at reasonable prices. If you wish to learn the art of winemaking and try premium quality wines, you can be a part of the unforgettable Winery tour in Central Otago.

If you're looking for one of the most adventurous things to do in South Island, you can enjoy a gondola ride at Christchurch and skydiving in Queenstown. If you're wild at heart, you can explore Fiordland National Park, a treasured natural icon with glaciers, unique flora, fauna, and alpine ranges. Book yourself a getaway to South Island to break free of everything and everyone to focus just on you.

Here is the list of things to do in South Island.

01

Visit Abel Tasman National Park

Visit Abel Tasman National Park
One of the best things to do in the South Island is visiting Abel Tasman National Park, which is a pristine paradise with turquoise bays, abundant sea and birdlife, and clean, fresh air. You can abseil down breathtaking granite canyons, zip through beautiful rainforest, and slide into the natural rock pools.

If you're looking for a dose of luxury, you can enjoy modern comforts in the depths of this national park with an overnight stay at one of the beachfront lodges. You can also marvel at the breathtaking views of the sweeping coastline, lush native bush, pristine clear waters, and golden sandy beaches in the park.

Location: Harvey Road, Marahau, Abel Tasman National Park 7010 New Zealand

Timing: 9 am- 5 pm
02

Explore the Hokitika Gorge, West Coast

Explore the Hokitika Gorge, West Coast
If you're confused about one of the best things to do in New Zealand South Island, you can explore the Hokitika Gorge that is renowned for its milky blue water and splendid scenery. You have to walk along a forested track until you reach a viewing platform from where you can see the gorge in all its wonder.

It used to be a renowned swimming spot, but now swimming is considered dangerous in this gorge, and you shouldn't attempt it.

Location: Whitcombe Valley, West Coast, Hokitika 7810 New Zealand

03

Stroll at Wineries in Central Otago

Stroll at Wineries in Central Otago
Book yourself a wine tasting session this holiday season by strolling through the famous wineries in Central Otago. You can observe the winery, marvel at the giant tanks and endless rows of vats and barrels, and taste the best quality of wines. Rippon Winery, Peregrine, Gibbston Valley Cheesery, and Amisfield Winery are the insanely popular wineries in Central Otago where you can taste most premium wines and learn the art of winemaking.

Location: South Island, New Zealand
04

Go to Mt Aspiring National Park

Enjoy some shutter shooting in the wild as you visit Mt Aspiring National Park that sparkles with waterfalls, glaciers, braided rivers, and lush native beech forest. It is a nature lovers' and hikers paradise as it has striking landforms ranging from tranquil river flats to soaring mountains and the most challenging terrains.

Other popular things to do in South Island at Mt Aspiring National Park are hiking the Rob Roy track, enjoying jet boating on the Makarora and Wilkins rivers, and taking a scenic helicopter ride.

Location: Ballantyne Rd, Wanaka New Zealand

05

Bungee Jumping in Queenstown

Bungee Jumping in Queenstown
One of the best things to do in South Island is enjoying bungee jumping in Queenstown from the best launching pads. Queenstown is home to the best swings and bungee jumps in New Zealand, so you can take the plunge out of your comfort zone here. You can make your way to Kawarau Suspension Bridge, the original bungee jump site, where over a million commercial bungee jumps have been executed safely.

Whether you're a hardcore adrenaline junkie or a first-timer, Queenstown will satiate your cravings for adventure.

Location: Town in Otago Region, New Zealand

Price: Rs 4500

06

Explore Fiordland National Park

Explore Fiordland National Park
One of the best things to do in South Island is roaming through Fiordland National Park that is a treasured natural icon with glaciers, unique flora and fauna, and alpine ranges. From endangered and rare species to varying landscapes, Fiordland National Park serves as a dazzling array of natural wonders.

You can revel in a beautiful sunset at Fraser Beach Reserve, enjoy the beauty of Mirror lakes, hike to Lake Marian and do a virtual flyover of the national park at Fiordland Cinema.

Location: Te Anau, Fiordland National Park New Zealand

07

Experience the Natural Spas

Immerse yourself in the natural bathing experience while enjoying the rivers and surrounding mountains' splendid views by soaking in the thermal pools on the South Island. These pools contain minerals dissolved from the huge rocks they seeped through, and people believe that taking a dip in mineral water can help with medical problems.

Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs and Hell's Gate Geothermal Reserve, and Mud Spa are the best natural spas on the South Island.

Location: 76 Napier-Taupo Road, SH 5, Taupo, New Zealand

Price: Rs 1669

Timing: Sun-Sat (8:30 am - 9:00) PM

08

Visit Larnach Castle

Visit Larnach Castle
One of the best things to do in New Zealand, South Island, is visiting Larnach Castle, built by the prominent politician and entrepreneur William Larnach. It is renowned for its fourteen-hectare grounds and garden, which have been recognized as the Garden of International Significance.

The castle has been made entirely from wood and has exquisite carvings on the high-arched doorways, windows, and walls. Each room has been appropriately restored with period furnishings and paintings that give you a glimpse into the life of high-class Victorians.

Location: 145 Camp Road, Otago Peninsula 9077, Dunedin, New Zealand

Price: Rs 2541

Timing: 9 am- 7 pm

09

Hike to Mt. Cook

Get ready for an epic day hike to Mt. cook that is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It has some of the most stunning hiking trails in the entire country, suitable for novices and experienced trekking enthusiasts. There are eleven official Mt Cook hikes; some are ten-minute bushwalks, while others are eight-hour uphill mountain climbs.

If you are looking for a short bushwalk, then Governors Bush Walk can be ideal for you. The most famous hike in Mount Cook is the Hooker Valley Track, which takes you along Mueller Lake and into the Hooker Valley.

Location: Mt. Cook Road, Mt. Cook Village, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park New Zealand

10

Have Fun at Christchurch Botanic Garden

Have Fun at Christchurch Botanic Garden
Head along for fun and entertainment at Christchurch Botanic Garden that is home to a fantastic collection of local and exotic flora and fauna from all around the globe. With an extensive network of rivers and streams spanning from the Travis Wetlands to the Port Hills' reserves, Christchurch has earned the title of 'the Garden City.'

Christchurch Botanic Garden has permanent, temporary, and art exhibitions from world-renowned artists. Kids can hop over logs, engage with nature and climb on rock walls in the garden.

Location: Rolleston Ave, Christchurch, New Zealand

Price: Rs 726

Timing: 7 am- 8:30 pm

11

Cruise at Milford Sound

Cruise at Milford Sound
Cruising at Milford Sound in a boutique-style boat is considered one of the best things to do in New Zealand, South Island, as you get a chance to experience the fiords in all different guises. During the cruise tour, you can scan for the fur seals, Fiordland-crested penguins, and dolphins.

The water's blackness, stunning sheer cliffs, and the beautiful alpine peaks combine to create a captivating tableau. You can also sip drinks and enjoy lip-smacking food during the tour.

Location: Te Anau, 9679, South Island

Price: Rs 5319

12

Enjoy Bird Watching at Stewart Island

Grab your binoculars and get set for a unique bird watching experience at Stewart Island. This Island is a bird watcher's paradise with many endangered and native species - including the kiwi, cheeky weka, Tui, Bellbird, k?k?, Kereru, etc.

A boat trip to Stewart Island will give you a chance to view many pelagic species such as Albatross, Shearwaters, Petrels, Gulls, Terns, Cormorants, Skuas, and Penguins.

Timing: 7 am- 6 pm

13

Hike at Franz Josef Glacier

Hike at Franz Josef Glacier
One of the most adventurous things to do in South Island is hiking at Franz Josef Glacier, which is one of the most recognized short hikes in New Zealand. The track cuts through a glacier-carved valley and has a few highlights, including the Franz Josef Glacier viewpoint, the breathtaking view from Sentinel Rock, and waterfalls on three sides.

The walk to the glacier is around four kilometers, and it takes about 1.5 hours to complete the journey.

Location: Glacier Access Road Westland, Franz Josef, Tai Poutini National Park New Zealand

14

Experience Nevis Swing

One of the best ways to bring back all the nostalgia of your childhood days is by experiencing Nevis Swing, a giant swing not meant for the faint-hearted. The swing lets you grasp the breathtaking beauty of the Nevis river as you rise above 120kph while enjoying the ride.

The Nevis Swing is composed of different sets of swing options from which you can choose your ideal swing style for limitless adventure. When you complete the three hundred meter arc, you'll bellow at the top of your lungs, wanting to do this activity all over again.

Location: A J Hackett Bungy Queenstown

Price: Rs 9399 per adult

15

Kayaking at Lake Tekapo

Kayaking at Lake Tekapo
If you're looking for a power-packed adventure, one of the best things to do in New Zealand South Island is kayaking at Lake Tekapo. This world-class recreational pursuit will give you a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature and meet with the locals. Lake Tekapo has many rapids, but even a beginner paddler can navigate the river safely.

While paddling on Lake Taupo, you can see Maori rock carvings and get a splendid view of the geothermal activity that is the heart of this place.

Location: Lake Tekapo, 7945, South Island

Price: Rs 5653 per adult

16

Enjoy Fishing at Kaikoura

One of the best things to do in New Zealand South Island is fishing at Kaikoura, a seaside town perched on the South Island's east coast. You can experience the beautiful sea life and the incredible scenery while having a fantastic time catching a great feed. You can take a charter where an experienced guide will help you polish your fishing skills.

If you're lucky, you can also have a glimpse of the Mighty Humpback Whale and the playful dusky dolphins. Not only will you have a memorable fishing trip, but you will also witness breathtaking mountain and sea views at Kaikoura.

Location: Kaikoura, 7300, South Island

Price: Rs 7987 per adult

17

Cycling at Otago Central Rail

Cycling at Otago Central Rail
Get ready for the ride of your life by enjoying cycling at Otago Central Rail that is a one fifty kilometer cycling, horse riding, and walking track on the South Island. Cycling the Rail Trail is one of the best things to do in South Island as it gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the railway's history and the Otago gold rush.

On the trail, you will pass through ever-changing dry, rocky landscapes, spectacular river gorges, viaducts, tunnels, thriving townships, preserved gold mining settlements, and mud-brick dwellings.

Location: Alexandra, 9340, South Island

18

Witness the Beauty of Purakaunui Falls

Witness the Beauty of Purakaunui Falls
One of the exciting things to do in South Island is appreciating the beauty of Purakaunui Falls that is situated in Catlins Forest Park and is considered the most photographed waterfall in New Zealand. The waterfall is surrounded by bushes that cascade twenty meters over three distinct tiers.

Lavishly adorned with the beauty of forests, mountains, and pastures, Purakaunui Falls is your answer to everything mesmerizing.

Location: Purakaunui falls road, Purakaunui  9586, New Zealand

19

Gandola Ride at Christchurch

If you're looking for one of the most exciting things to do in New Zealand South Island, a gondola ride at Christchurch should be your ideal choice. This cable car ride offers breathtaking views of the city,If  Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour. This exciting ride takes you through the smoldering depths of a volcano, through the early settlements of Christchurch, and a native New Zealand forest.

Once at the top of the Gondola, you can enjoy coffee at the cafe, explore the shop or go for a walk around the summit.

Location: South Island of New Zealand

Price: Rs 1815

20

Have fun at Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway

Have fun at Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
One of the best things to do in New Zealand, South Island, is hiking through Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, renowned for its marine wildlife and ocean views. This incredible trail takes you from the town of Kaikoura, on a loop around the cliffs. Along the way, there are many posted boards and maps with the history of the area.

You can witness here the Kaikoura seal colony, historic sites, and stunning beaches from above as you walk along New Zealand cliffs.

Location: 40 Fyffe Quay West End, Kaikoura 7300 New Zealand

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People Also Ask About New Zealand

  1. What is the South Island known for?

    1. Museums: South Island is home to many museums such as Canterbury Museum and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.

    2. Manuka Honey:
    Manuka honey extracted from Manuka trees is known to have bioactive healing properties.

    3. Wineries:
    Rippon Winery, Peregrine, Gibbston Valley Cheesery, and Amisfield Winery are the insanely popular wineries in Central Otago.

    4. Southern Alps mountain range:
    It is the backbone of South Island with crystal clear rivers and feeding glaciers.

    5. Nelson:
    It is South Island's sunniest region.

    6. Wanaka:
    This is a lively town known for its water sports activities.

    7. Clutha:
    It is known for its breathtaking waterfalls and gold mining heritage.
  2. What is the best time to visit New Zealand South Island?

    Summer (December-February) is considered to be the best time to visit New Zealand South Island as many festivities like New Year's Eve, and Christmas are organized during this season. The average high temperatures range from 21 degrees to 25 °C, without being humid during summers.
  3. What are the best adventure things to do in New Zealand South Island?

    1. Skydiving: Feel like a bird as you dive from hundreds of feet in the air in Queenstown, which is the birthplace of Tandem Skydiving. You will enjoy a forty-minute scenic flight with splendid views of the South Islands, National Parks, blue seas, and beaches.

    2. Hot Air Balloon Ride:
    One of the most adventurous things to do in New Zealand South Island is enjoying a hot air balloon ride over Queenstown. You can see Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps in all their glory while enjoying the ride.

    3. Gondola Ride
    If you wish to get 360-degree views of the South Island, you should take a Gondola ride in Christchurch. The Gondola ride to the summit takes approximately ten minutes (one way) at regular speed.

    4. Bungy Jumping: 
    If you're looking for one of the most thrilling things to do in New Zealand South Island, you can enjoy bungy jumping at the Nevis Bungy. As you throw yourself into the vacuum, tightly attached to an elastic, you'll feel like having the adventure of a lifetime.
  4. What are the best things to do in South Island New Zealand in February?

    1. Attend Auckland Lantern Festival: One of the best things to do in South Island in February is attending Auckland Lantern Festival, the biggest cultural event and annual four-day festival celebrating Auckland's Chinese communities.

    2. Attend Marlborough Wine Festival:
    Visitors can taste premium wines, sample local cuisines, and be a part of fun games by attending Marlborough Wine Festival that is held in Marlborough in February.

    3. Enjoy sunbathing at Hot Water Beach:
    Grab a swimsuit, a tide table, and a shovel, and head to Hot Water Beach located on the Coromandel Peninsula. During February, the beach experiences high tides, and due to incoming waves hitting the walls of the stacks, dramatic spumes of misty water are created.

    4. Explore Mt Maunganui:
    One of the best things to do in South Island in February is visiting Mt Maunganui, a premium summer holiday destination for backpackers. The town has two months-long New Year's Eve(January-February) with entertainment on the beach and the streets.

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