A palette of dramatic scenery

New Zealand’s South Island hosts the purest natural landscapes you’ll ever experience. From wildlife to wineries, from glacial valleys to star-filled skies, nature's best flourishes against a palette of dramatic scenes.

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Safe, stylish, stunning small country

Connected and accessible, Christchurch’s geographic setting makes it the ideal gateway to New Zealand’s legendary South Island, with easy access through its sleek, modern international airport. The city centre is just 15 minutes away and less than a two-hour drive from popular Canterbury destinations such as Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura and Akaroa.

A choice of four beautiful seasons

This city of four magical seasons brings blossom-filled springs, warm summers, colourful autumns, and crisp clear winters. Most attractions are open all year round, and the city’s music, arts and food festivals capture the essence of each season. Christchurch is just a short hop from world-class skifields, famous lakes, vineyards and national parks like Aoraki Mount Cook.

Adventure-ready year round

Adventure-ready hills and beaches are right on Christchurch’s doorstep. Here it is possible to surf and ski in the same day. Thermal pools, night sky tours, hot air ballooning, mountain biking, golf, scenic train journeys, off-road tours, bungy jumping, and jet boating are just some of the year-round outdoor escapes on offer.

60%

mountain range coverage

5,842

km of coastline

16

protected forest & national parks

Queenstown

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Central Otago is a powerful landscape – sunny, dry and brown with weathered ancient mountains, alpine herb fields and fast flowing rivers. Sitting on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges, Queenstown is one of New Zealand's top visitor destinations. With a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, Queenstown is the home of the ultimate adventure bucket list. There’s skiing in the winter and year-round activities such as bungy jumping, skydiving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking, river rafting, and spectacular championship golf courses like Jack's Point and Millbrook. It has also become a renowned cycling destination, providing everything from easy scenic tracks to backcountry trails, road rides to heli-biking and the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola accessed downhill mountain biking

Fiordland

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Fiordland is one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Absorb the breathtaking treasures of this region by water, air or hiking. Carved by glaciers over 100,000 years the landscape is one where waterfalls cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords; where ancient rainforest untouched by man clings to mountains and where shimmering lakes and granite peaks look as they did a thousand years ago.

Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site and includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. Milford Sound was described by Rudyard Kipling as the Eighth Wonder of the World; take a scenic flight over it and you will understand why.

Some of the fiords can be explored by kayak but if you’d like to see the less accessible fiords, eco-tours can be arranged.

Marlborough and Nelson

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Located at the top of the South Island, Marlborough is New Zealand's largest wine growing region and the home of world-renowned sauvignon blanc. There are over 40 cellar doors in Marlborough, why not take advantage of a pre-arranged wine tour with a local operator and visit a selection of the region’s top wine producers. The sunny town of Blenheim is an ideal base for those who want to explore the local wine and food culture. Bike around the vineyards or catch a tour.

Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, Nelson is the sunniest region in New Zealand. When it comes to stunning scenery and sea views, you can’t go past the Abel Tasman Coast Track. One of New Zealand’s Great Walks, it passes through golden beaches, coastal forests, with photo opportunities at every turn. Go for a dip in the water at Onetahuti Beach.

The West Coast

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Never more than 50 kilometres wide, the Coast is a wild place of rivers, rainforests, and glaciers. The Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth was recently voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.

Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, and Punakaiki are among the West Coast's most famous sights and a definite 'must-see' in this region. Drop into a local pub to share a beer and yarn with the friendly 'coasters'.

Dunedin

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Dunedin is a region of unique landscapes and fascinating cultural history. Enjoy getting close to rare wildlife and soaking up the quirky city vibe. Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country's city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride.

Surrounded by dramatic hills with a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Catlins and the Deep South

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Slip into an enchanted world of leafy hill country, where land rises sharply from the coast to the inland ranges, and where rivers and waterfalls abound. This wooded, wild coastal corner is the most unsung of South Island regions. The Purakaunui Falls cascades 20 metres in three tiers.

Southland is a land of rugged coast and rolling plains, world-renowned Bluff oysters and the launching place for a visit to Stewart Island.