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South Island

4.5
Entertainment Centers · Bodies of Water · Hiking Trails
Māui's Canoe
The wilder of New Zealand's two main islands, South Island offers a feast of nature in all its glory. Extensive, untouched plains connect alpine landscapes with rugged shorelines, creating a home for an abundance of animals and vegetation, on land and in the rich surrounding waters. Renowned as a window to the natural world before man (something that scores of film directors have tapped into over the years), South Island folds its cities and townships into the surrounding landscape, their populations adding something singular to the mix. On your trip to South Island, you'll witness the awe-inspiring cultural heritage of the Maori, whose art and architecture complements the developments of the colonial legacy. The result is a land of characterful buildings, rolling vineyards, and free-spirited adventure. Use our New Zealand itinerary maker to plan your trip to South Island and other destinations in New Zealand.
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Places to visit in South Island

Queenstown Trip planner BEST FOR: Entertainment Center, Water Sport, Spa Te Anau Trip planner BEST FOR: World heritage site, Water Body, Cave Christchurch Trip planner BEST FOR: Garden, Specialty Museum, Church Fox Glacier Trip planner BEST FOR: World heritage site, Hiking Trail, Scenic Walking Area Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu) Trip planner BEST FOR: World heritage site, Hiking Trail, Observatory

Popular things to do in South Island

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Water Body
Milford Sound Te Anau
4.8
Duration: 4 hours
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Water Body
Doubtful Sound Te Anau
4.7
Duration: 8 hours
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World heritage site
Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef
4.5
Duration: 2h 30 min
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Entertainment Center
Skyline Queenstown Queenstown
4.5
Duration: 3 hours

Hidden gems in South Island

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Hiking Trail
Kepler Track Te Anau
4.8
Duration: 8 hours
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Hiking Trail
Hollyford Track Fiordland National Park
5.0
Duration: 8 hours
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Kayaking / Canoeing
Kayaking & Canoeing Te Anau
4.5
Duration: 4 hours
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Hiking Trail
Routeburn Track
4.9
Duration: 8 hours

Nature in South Island

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Cave
Te Anau Glowworm Caves Te Anau
4.1
Duration: 2h 30 min
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Water Body
Lake Te Anau Te Anau
4.6
Duration: 2 hours
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Water Body
Lake Wanaka Wanaka
4.9
Duration: 4 hours
Water Body
Lake Tekapo Lake Tekapo
4.7
Duration: 2 hours

Wildlife in South Island

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Dolphin / Whale Watching
Dolphin & Whale Watching Kaikoura
4.3
Duration: 3h 30 min
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Wildlife Area
Kiwi Birdlife Park Queenstown
4.3
Duration: 1h 30 min
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Fishing Charter / Tour
Fishing Charters & Tours Te Anau
4.9
Duration: 3 hours
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Dolphin / Whale Watching
Dolphin & Whale Watching Akaroa
4.9
Duration: 2 hours

Trails in South Island

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World heritage site
Fox Glacier South Side Walk Fox Glacier
3.6
Duration: 2h 30 min
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Hiking Trail
Abel Tasman Coast Track Abel Tasman National Park
4.7
Duration: 8 hours
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Hiking Trail
Mount Fox Route Fox Glacier
4.7
Duration: 4 hours

Museums in South Island

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Specialty Museum
Toitu Otago Settlers Museum Dunedin
4.8
Duration: 2 hours
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History Museum
Canterbury Museum Christchurch
4.6
Duration: 2 hours
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Specialty Museum
International Antarctic Centre Christchurch
4.2
Duration: 2 hours
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Specialty Museum
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre Blenheim
4.8
Duration: 1h 30 min
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Art Gallery
The Ivy Box Queenstown
4.6
Duration: 30 minutes
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Wine Tour / Tasting
Explore Marlborough Wine Tours Blenheim
5.0
Duration: 4 hours
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ATV / Off-Road Tour
The Cardrona Wanaka
5.0
Duration: 3 hours
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Day Trip
Rent A Classic Nelson
5.0
Duration: 4 hours

Where to stay in South Island

Browse hotels, guesthouses, and unique homes and book your stay on the world's leading accommodation sites.
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Recently planned trips to South Island

4 days in Queenstown BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND February, popular sights Preferences: February Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 15 days in New Zealand BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 14 days in Nelson BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, museums, popular & hidden gems Preferences: December, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, museums Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Medium 6 days in Nelson-Tasman Region BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND April, popular sights Preferences: April Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 6 days in Abel Tasman National Park BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND April, popular sights Preferences: April Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 10 days in New Zealand BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 3 days in Queenstown BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA February, popular sights Preferences: February Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 15 days in South Island BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND January, popular sights Preferences: January Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 1 day in Geraldine BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 10 days in New Zealand BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems Preferences: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Medium 21 days in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (Te Wahipounamu), Franz Josef & Queenstown SEE PLAN March, teens, popular sights Preferences: March, teens Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 7 days in South Island BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium