New Zealand is one of our favourite countries in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to visit four times and Dan fell in love with it on our first trip together a few years ago. New Zealand has beautiful national parks, world-class skiing, turquoise lakes, wineries, ancient glaciers, multi-day hikes and adrenaline packed adventures for all! Here are our top 5 destinations in New Zealand’s South Island.
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is one of the largest national parks in the world. Boasting untouched wilderness, an abundance of wildlife, snowcapped peaks, crystal clear fiords and endless ancient forests, it is one of the most majestic places you will ever visit.
We’ve been lucky enough to visit both Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound on our travels to our lovely neighbour, New Zealand.
Milford Sound is known as the ‘8th natural wonder of the world’ and is one of the most spectacular places on earth! The drive to Milford Sound is one of the most scenic journeys in the world and it is worth giving yourself plenty of time to experience it. Milford Sound is breathtakingly beautiful in any weather with snow-capped peaks, permanent waterfalls, sheer cliffs and playful wildlife (seals, dolphins & penguins).
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to the highest mountains in New Zealand, as well as some of the most stunning lakes and the longest glaciers. The best way to see Mount Cook in all its glory is on the beautiful scenic Hooker Valley hike, one of the best day hike’s we’ve ever done!
The Hooker Valley Track is without a doubt New Zealand’s prettiest day hike. A lot of hikes in New Zealand require you to commit to a few days, whereas the Hooker Valley Track is just a few short hours of walking through some of the most beautiful scenery you would have ever seen! The hike leads through the Hooker Valley, along the Hooker River and ends at the glacial Hooker Lake, with Mount Cook towering in the distance.
Picture perfect Wanaka is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains with beautiful waterways at its doorstep. Wanaka has outdoor pursuits for everyone ranging from hiking to downhill mountain biking and skiing at nearby Cardrona and Treble Cone ski resorts. One of our favourite (and toughest) experiences in New Zealand was hiking Roy’s Peak!
Wanaka is picturesque, relaxed and has so many outdoor activities and adventures on offer for its visitors. It was one of our favourite stops on our campervan trip around the South Island.
Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world and I’ve never met a single person who doesn’t love it. It’s a destination we fell in love with decades ago and will without a doubt return to over many decades to come. Queenstown has the best vibe of any city we’ve visited in our travels.
With the Remarkables in the distance and Lake Wakatipu lapping at its shores, Queenstown has something for everyone. Multiple ski fields are only a short drive away, there’s a buzzing nightlife, incredible restaurants and shopping as well as enough activities to keep everyone happy!
The Queenstown Casino is a popular place for visitors, but for those who would rather enjoy it from the comfort of their accommodation (with great views hopefully) there is an alternative as well. Speaking about this, many platforms nowadays test global and local operators for fairness, security, and overall experience, so you will be able to select New Zealand’s best online casino, but if interested you can find more information here.
The Mackenzie Region
The Mackenzie Region has so much on offer and is without a doubt one of the most beautiful areas in New Zealand. From beautiful turquoise lakes, to snowy alps, ancient glaciers and some of the world’s starriest skies, you’re guaranteed to be in awe the entire time you spend in the Mackenzie Region.
At the very heart of the Mackenzie Region is the stunning Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Lake Tekapo is the more popular of the two, however Lake Pukaki is also worth spending time at! The views from Pukaki are spectacular with Mount Cook towering in the distance. During the day the lakes will leave you speechless and by night you’ll be witness to some of the best stargazing in the world, with much of the region located in the International Dark Sky Reserve. Make sure you take some time to soak in the views, whilst soaking (literally) in the beautiful Tekapo Hot Springs.
What are your favourite places in beautiful New Zealand?