There's unparalleled magic that comes with exploring New Zealand's South Island region. You'll find a pocket of wonder around every corner; glistening lakes, snow-capped mountain ranges and incredibly mesmerising fiords.
If a South Island trip is still on your wander-list, 2022 is the year to make it happen. Indulge your travel itch; the experts over at RealNZ are here to help turn your daydreaming into a reality. Scope out seven southern adventures to inspire your next Kiwi getaway.
Shack Up At Stewart Island Lodge
Trek your way to the southernmost point of New Zealand with a secluded escape to Stewart Island. City dwellers, take note, this is the perfect place to disconnect from the bustle and bliss-out in nature. Pitch up at Stewart Island Lodge for a stay to remember. All the good stuff is included; plush bedding, a continental breakfast and easy walks to the local town. Plus, the unforgettable views of Halfmoon Bay and Foveaux Strait don't hurt.
Raise Your Pulse With The Queenstown Jet Boat
Soaring through the water (or air) on a high-speed jet boat is simply a right of passage in the adventure capital. You won't miss a beat with the 360-degree spins, taking in the sights of Lake Whakatipu and the Kawarau River from an entirely new angle. Dip your toe in with a 25-minute ride, or go all out with one full hour of heart-racing thrills.
Tick Off The Bucket List With A Milford Sound Cruise
Let's be real; all those rumours you've heard about Milford Sound are true. It is easily one of the most immersive and memorable locations on earth. It's truly a sight to marvel at, from dramatic waterfalls plummeting down great heights to soaring mountain ranges and dense forestry. Skip the excuses; now is the time to tick off your bucket list with a Milford Sound Cruise. Climb aboard the Milford Haven, which boasts a bar, restaurant and rooftop deck with panoramic views—not that's perfection.
Indulge In Decadent Lakeside Dining
While Queenstown central can hold its own when it comes to food, some of the most memorable dining experiences can be found on the outskirts. Escape the traffic and jump on the TSS Earnslaw, which will drop you off at Walter Peak High Country Farm. You'll enjoy a decadent lakeside meal at Colonel's Homestead Restaurant, highlighting the local and seasonal produce from New Zealand's tastiest region. Follow up lunch with a tour of the farm—you will even get a chance to watch the working dogs in action.
Tap Into Tranquility At Doubtful Sound
If you're looking for a rejuvenating South Island holiday, head further afield and take in the serenity of Doubtful Sound. Tucked away in the middle of Fiordland National Park, this haven is a peaceful alternative to the more frequented Milford Sound. Extend your stay in tranquillity with an overnight cruise through the fiord; cozy cabins and an onboard chef await. This is the moment to get familiar with your surroundings—explore by kayak or keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife.
Soak Up Local History On The TSS Earnslaw
Step onto a slice of Queenstown history with a cruise across Lake Whakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw. This old-school steamship has been in rotation since 1912, transporting you back in time with working steam engines, throwback interiors and vintage memorabilia. Grab a local vino from the bar and check off the list of Queenstown sights during your 90-minute journey. On the scenic list are the Remarkables mountain ranges and stunning Cecil Peak. To your tour, you can also add a stop at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where bougie long lunches and farm excursions await.
Scout Out Glowworms In Te Anau
Few things are as captivating as tracking down glowworms in New Zealand. Experience something out of the ordinary over at Te Anau Glowworm Caves. Like most things in the South Island, it kicks off with a cruise across Lake Te Anau before sliding into the 12,000-year-old caves. On the agenda is a contrast of extremes; epic underground waterfalls and streams upon entry and then pure silence as you float along to the glowworm grotto.
Submit that annual leave, book those plane tickets and get planning—the South Island is waiting for you. The team over at RealNZ have you sorted with experiences worth first place on any bucket list—get ready for your trip over here.
Image credit: Supplied