New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide

Discover the best things to do in
South Island, New Zealand

Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes and hidden gems of the South Island?

Our insider guide is your ultimate resource for unlocking the secrets of this epic island we call home.

Having travelled to over 50 countries in the world and extensively for over 20 years in New Zealand, we can truly say there is no place quite like the South Island of New Zealand.

As true insiders ourselves, we’re passionate about sharing our firsthand knowledge and insider tips to help you discover the best things to do, see, and experience. From awe-inspiring mountains to pristine lakes, remote beaches, and captivating wildlife to exhilarating adventures, join us as we unveil the essence of the South Island of New Zealand.

Get ready to immerse yourself in extraordinary experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime! Whether you’re an international or domestic traveller or a local South Islander, let us inspire you to discover New Zealand South Island.

Your New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide features travel tips, destination guides, hidden gems, and the best things to do on the South Island of New Zealand.

Why South Island, New Zealand?

Because it has it all: majestic mountains, scenic hiking trails, epic road trips, diverse national parks, charming towns, vibrant cities, stunning beaches, serene lakes, delicious food, fine wine, and so much more! Plus, you can experience the rich culture and Māori history, the friendly locals, and the amazing wildlife. There’s no place like the South Island!

Charming Towns
Stunning Scenery
Pristine Nature
Friendly Locals

Places To Visit

Your ultimate New Zealand South Island guide includes all the South Island regions, cities, national parks, landmarks, & do-not-miss places in the South Island.

Things To Do

Find out all the best things to see and do in the South Island including South Island adventures, tours, activities, attractions, and experiences.

Plan Your Trip

Whether this is your first trip to New Zealand or you’re a local, find all the travel info and resources you need to make your trip planning easy.

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Travel and live

Explore, Discover

and Experience

The South Island

The South Island of New Zealand is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a place where you can go from snow-capped mountains to sandy beaches in a day, where you can try extreme sports like bungee jumping, skydiving, or jet boating, and where you can indulge in food and wine that will tantalise your senses. If you’re looking for a thrill, a chill, or a fill, you’ve come to the right place.

Can’t wait to discover the South Island? Here’s the latest from the blog

You know you want to! Join us!

Hikers on a trail with epic mountain views in Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
Plan your trip

What to Pack for New Zealand South Island

If you’re wondering what to pack for New Zealand South Island, we’ve written this packing list for you. We’ve lived between New Zealand and Australia for over 30 years, so we’ve become experts in packing for New Zealand, including packing light and being prepared to ensure a comfortable New Zealand trip. Before you embark on…

Wainui Falls, Golden Bay, New Zealand
Nelson Tasman | Things to do

Travellers Love the Short Walk to Wainui Falls in Golden Bay, New Zealand

For those who love to do short, easily accessible walks with priceless views, Wainui Falls Golden Bay is one of the best in New Zealand. The most accessible, largest waterfall in the Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson/Tasman region offers a captivating walk through forest abundant in ferns, nikau palms, and native bush. 

Light blue calm water and blue sky with mountain backdrop at Akaroa Harbour, New Zealand
Things to do | Christchurch & Canterbury

Romantic things to do in Akaroa, NZ

Picture this! Historic French buildings, wildlife cruises, waterfront strolls, romantic dinners and sunsets. When it comes to romantic things to do in Akaroa, you are spoiled with choices for a romantic weekend getaway. We have been visiting Akaroa for over 20 years and find it one of the most romantic places on the South Island….

Murchison New Zealand multicoloured street art mural with wildlife including a big owl and a kayaker.
Nelson Tasman

Don’t Miss These Fun Things To Do In Murchison New Zealand

Murchison, a small town in New Zealand’s South Island, is often passed through on the way to or from the West Coast. With natural wonders, outdoor adventures, and captivating landscapes, Murchison offers more than just a lunch stop. Please keep reading to discover the highlights of Murchison and fun things to do in Murchison New…

Lake Matheson Jetty Lookout view of mountain and bush reflection in lake
Things to do

Your ultimate guide to the Lake Matheson Walk

Fans of breathtaking landscapes, outdoor adventure, and nature will love the Lake Matheson walk. It is a must-do when visiting the West Coast and one of the most remarkable walks in New Zealand’s South Island. This iconic trail is best known for its mirror-like reflections, captivating sunrise and sunset views, and an experience that will…

Monocable aerial ropeway at Denniston historic mine
Things to do

Denniston New Zealand: Exploring Denniston Plateau

Denniston Plateau is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island. It offers visitors a glimpse of the past, fascinating walking trails and panoramic views of the coastline. After eagerly anticipating a visit for quite some time, we finally decided to take a side trip from Westport on a sunny day…

What readers
are saying

That’s what I’m talking about! Lay it on the line. South Island, here I come.
JOhn Barkus
I was reading from the start when New Zealand South Island first started writing the guides. Can’t wait for more stories.
Linda e.

See the South Island
the way you prefer

The South Island of New Zealand has something for every traveller, whether you’re a solo traveller, a family, a group, or a couple. Whatever your travel style is, luxury travel, budget travel, adventure, romance, culture, and nature, the South Island offers the opportunity to explore, discover, and experience in your own way.

Get inspired by our top trips and start your own
Campervan camping at Kohaihai campsite with river and bush view