New Zealand's beauty is certainly not all concentrated in the North; its a place where the views are consistent throughout. The South island or Te Waipounamu in Maori is the larger of the two isles but is the less populated one, with a little over a million inhabitants, compared to its neighbour who has nearly three times more. Arguably the more aesthetically pleasing of the two due to the vast abundance of unspoiled land, the south features dramatic mountain scenery appealing to those with a thirst for adventure. New Zealand more and more is becoming renowned for much more than sheep and rugby.

Depending on the individual's interests, the southern isle offers stunning, panoramic views literally everywhere you look. Although you'd be forgiven for thinking you could get a tan as easily in south, as the two islands have different climates. The North is subtropical, whereas the South is cooler with a more temperate climate. Here are some gems to ensure you get the best out of your South Island experience.

Abel Tasman National Park

It may be an obvious choice but it can't be missed from the list. This beauty is said to be New Zealand's "finest coastal National Park", and with its location at the top of the South Island means it basks under the most sunshine hours in the country all year round.

Top excursions to recommend are either freedom paddle boarding/kayaking around the park to sites such as "split apple rock", or a guided day/half day tour. Bookme is a good site to use for discounts on activities.

West Coast Drive

Those who are road trip fans will be in their element with this one. With the sun at your back and the ocean to your right this stunning drive offers sights to behold.

Starting at Abel Tasman and cruising down to Queenstown there are a few places you can stop over on the way including Westport, Hokitika and Frans Josef where you can view the majestic glaciers. The trip offers a huge amount of photo opportunities, ones to note are Pancake Rocks, Seal Colonies and Lake Mahinapua.


Home to the famously photographed Wanaka Tree, its a town with a beautifully tranquil charm.

For those who want something a bit fun and quirky head to Puzzling World for an afternoon filled with funky optical illusions and a fairly comprehensive maze at the end. There are also lots of quaint restaurants and bars to choose one, and the Red Star burger gives Queenstown's famous Fergburger a run for its money. Head to Mint Bar below Base hostel for cheap drinks and karaoke, and Fitzpatrick's the Irish Bar for live music.


The infamous party capital where adrenaline junkies can get their fill, although those who aren't familiar with the area may fall into the abundance of tourist traps. Most activities can be booked for a fraction of the price on Bookme, so its worth checking it out before booking anything.

Budget backpackers should head to Searle Lane who offer homemade $4 pizzas daily between 7 and 8.30. Winnies is a laugh and offer discounted drink deals throughout the night, and Devil Burger is reasonably priced and delicious. Of course Fergburger should be mentioned, but be sure to phone beforehand to place your order if you don't want to queue for hours.


This underrated town is often one that's missed of the NZ travel itinerary, but that shouldn't be the case. Arguably home to the best rice balls in the country, the town offers some of the most reasonably priced bars and eateries in the country. Highlights include the famous Dunedin railway station, with it's architecture earning it the nickname "Gingerbread George", the Chinese gardens as well as the botanical gardens, complete with aviary.

Those with transport can venture out to the stunning tunnel beach, with vast smooth sand and interesting rock formations that can only be accessed through a tunnel carved through the cliff.

Lake Tekapo/ Lake Pukaki

These two lakes make up a trio, the other is called Ohau and all three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes. This explains their natural dazzling turquoise-blue appearance, where photos just don't do it justice. The largest, Lake Pukaki is definitely the most striking of the three and is probably the warmest for those wanting to brave the glacial cold. Lake Tekapo is situated next to a town of the same name that offers delicious pies and temperate hot pools. The Church of the Good Shepherd is something not to miss, built in 1872 it is a popular tourist photo opp.