South Island Introduction:
If you are looking for outdoor adventures, you will find them here. The “Mainland” has scenery on a “larger than life” scale with a more modest population than the north.
Here you will find an unbelievable nine National Parks, each offering access to unspoiled wilderness. Amongst these natural wonders are the Southern Alps including New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki (Mt Cook) and the longest glacier, the Tasman Glacier.
Regions of interest: The West Coast
From the golden beaches leading to the inland forests at the top-of-the-south, the Abel Tasman National Park is the smallest park with a very popular coastal walk taking around 4 days. Picton is where you will arrive into if you take the Cook Strait ferries across from the North Island. The boat trip in is breath taking as you pass the Marlborough Sounds. Did I mention Wine? I should have Marlborough is renowned wine country.
Regions of interest: Tasman/Nelson, Marlborough
At the foot of the South Island is Fiordland National Park. This is the largest park and home to the world renowned Milford Track.
Regions of interest: Southern Lakes/Fiordland
Along the way, prepare to be captivated by the contrasts. Dense rain-forests occupy the west of the Southern Alps, with the almost empty land of the foothills to the east. The Canterbury Plains are the most extensive area of flat land in New Zealand. Put Akaroa on your must do list, a slice of French/NZ history you should see. South Canterbury has quaint townships and of the beaten track places like the Catlins Cathedral Caves.
Regions of interest: Canterbury, South Canterbury
The deep south will find you the closest to the Antarctic continent that you can be. Stewart Island is famous for their Oyster Festival. Be captivated by the aurora australis (Southern Lights), has features that are almost identical to the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) Otago boosts Botanical gardens and the heritage buildings of Otago University.
Regions of interest: Otago, Southland/Stewart Island
Seasonal changes are more dramatic than those in the north. Whether you are freedom camping or have rented a Maui Motorhome there are wonderful sights to see and fantastic places to visit. Bring your camera and journey safely. Come back for another visit, there’s lots to see and do.