South Island

The South Island is where you’ll find the most extreme scenery in all of New Zealand. Deep lakes, tall mountains, glaciers coming down into the rainforest, fabulous wine, delicious food, rugged coastline….we could go on and on!

You really need a week or more to explore the South Island, but you could easily stay for much longer. From the food and wine of the Marlborough region to the spectacular beauty of Fiordland, the wildlife on the Otago Peninsula to the coastline of the Abel Tasman National Park, there is something here for everyone, regardless of your interests or age.

If you only have time to visit one place on the South Island it must be Queenstown. From Queenstown, daytrips to Milford Sound, wine country, and Lord of the Rings filming locations are all available, along with a wide variety of the adrenaline activities New Zealand is known for, including: jet boating, bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, sky diving, zip lining, helicopter excursions, mountain biking and more…

If this is your first trip to the South Island, from Queenstown you should drive up the west coast and see the glaciers by foot, helicopter or ski plane. Continue up to Nelson, visit the Abel Tasman National Park and explore the local vineyards, studios and galleries in the area. The Marlborough region is known for fabulous sauvignon blanc and green-lipped mussels – it’s a good idea to book a driver so you can sample at will! Finish your trip with a drive down the coast to Christchurch, stopping to go whale watching in Kaikoura or soak in the natural hot springs at Hanmer Springs. Spend your last few nights in Christchurch before flying home.

South Island

Explore the cities of Queenstown and Christchurch , cruise Milford Sound, enjoy wine in the Marlborough region, tour Lord of the Rings filming locations, or go whale watching in Kaikoura

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We traveled to New Zealand this year for a great adventure exploring the country. This trip was 4 years in the making due to the Covid pandemic. We booked in 2019 with Esplanade and they planned a fantastic trip. The Esplanade team worked with us seamlessly over the years as we booked and Covid cancelled our trip at least 3 times. When we finally were able to travel in 2023, they had everything perfect. We were really expecting a lot of confusion due to the multiple bookings and cancellations, but Esplanade had everything perfect at every turn. The accommodations, excursions, transfers, etc. were all planned even better than we could have imagined. We highly recommend Esplanade Travel and will be using them again on our next adventure.

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