Why people visit and revisit New Zealand’s South Island - Tuatara Tours
cyclists stopping by a lake on the alps to Ocean track

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Why people visit and revisit New Zealand’s South Island

27 March 2024

New Zealand’s South Island is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and offers a wide range of attractions and activities that appeal to both locals and tourists. There truly is something for everyone, whether you’re after some high flying adrenaline or a more relaxed stay, New Zealand’s South island will have you wanting to come back again and again.

Here are some of the key appeals of the South Island:

Scenic Landscapes: The South Island is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, including the Southern Alps, fjords, lakes, and rugged coastlines. Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, Lake Tekapo, and Aoraki/Mount Cook are just a few examples of the spectacular natural scenery you can explore.

Adventure Sports: The South Island is an adventure lover’s paradise. Queenstown, in particular, is known as the adventure capital of the world, offering activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, white-water rafting, and skiing in the nearby Southern Alps.

Wildlife: The South Island is home to diverse wildlife, including seals, dolphins, penguins, and the iconic kiwi bird. The Otago Peninsula is a great place to spot wildlife, including the rare yellow-eyed penguin.

Lord of the Rings Filming Locations: The South Island was a primary filming location for the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” film trilogies.

Wine Regions: The South Island boasts some of New Zealand’s finest wine regions, including Marlborough, Central Otago, and Canterbury. Touring these regions offers opportunities for wine tasting and scenic vineyard tours.

Tramping: There are numerous hiking trails and tramping routes in the South Island, ranging from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. The Abel Tasman Track, Hump Ridge and Alps to Ocean Cycle Tour are popular options.

Indigenous Culture: Maori culture is prevalent throughout New Zealand, and you can experience it in the South Island.

Relaxation: If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, the South Island has plenty to offer. You can soak in hot pools in Hanmer Springs, take leisurely cruises through the Marlborough Sounds, or simply enjoy the tranquillity of the countryside.

Photography: The South Island provides photographers with endless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to crystal-clear lakes. It’s a dream destination for landscape and nature photographers.

Culinary Experiences: The South Island offers excellent dining options, especially when it comes to seafood and lamb. You can enjoy freshly caught seafood in coastal towns or savour lamb dishes in local restaurants.

Stargazing: The South Island is known for its clear, unpolluted skies, making it an excellent location for stargazing. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is one of the best places for observing the night sky.

Local Festivals: Throughout the year, various festivals and events take place in the South Island, celebrating its culture, music, and food. The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and Queenstown Winter Festival are just a couple of examples.

The South Island of New Zealand is a diverse and enchanting destination that offers something for everyone, whether you’re seeking adventure, natural beauty, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway. Its unique combination of stunning landscapes and outdoor activities makes it a popular choice for travellers from around the world.

Tuatara Tours is situated in Christchurch – ideally placed to guide tours to the north and to the south to see the diverse attractions. We have been exploring the South Island as a business for over 20 years.

If you are seeking an organised trip, to be guided to the most scenic places, with good quality overnight accommodation – then check out the options for both guided walking and cycling tours.

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