10 things to know about the South Island

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Fun facts you probably didn't know about New Zealand's South Island.

1. It's only a short flight to the South Island of New Zealand - flights start from just 3 hours to Christchurch or Queenstown.

Wakatipu Basin, Queenstown

By Tourism New Zealand

The Wakatipu Basin, surrounded by mountains, offers ample photo opportunities


2. It's an easy drive through stunning landscapes between Queenstown and Wanaka - and it only takes one hour.

3. Alexandra in Central Otago often boasts our highest national temperature, around the 30 degree mark!

New Zealand
Exploring the Abel Tasman by sea., New Zealand

By Ian Trafford

Exploring the Abel Tasman by sea.

4. There are a number of beautiful sandy beaches and lake shores to relax on or venture around in kayaks, boat cruises, dive tours or wildlife discovery across the entire South Island …. with no stingers!

5. Parts of the South Island are amongst the flattest in the country. 

New Zealand
Dunedin Railway Station., New Zealand

By David Wall

Dunedin Railway Station.

6. You'll get a good dose of heritage in Dunedin - here, the gold rush led to the construction of the best collection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere … and New Zealand’s only castle! On top of that, it's the gateway to native wildlife on the Otago Peninsula - penguins, seals and an array of birds.

New Zealand
Wines produced by Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson are known for their complex flavours., New Zealand

By Ian Trafford

Wines produced by Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson are known for their complex flavours.

7. No other region in New Zealand boasts as much sunshine as Nelson/Marlborough and nowhere will you find as many fine quality wines, with some 150 wineries and cellar doors offering world-class Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines alongside Australia’s white wine of choice, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

New Zealand
Hooker Valley in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park , New Zealand

By Miles Holden

Hooker Valley in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

8. Fly from Christchurch to Queenstown in 50 mins or pick up a Britz campervan at Christchurch Airport and take an easy 3-day journey to Queenstown. Meandering through Central Otago you will discover delightful little towns around each corner, lakes, the majestic Mt Cook and plenty of amazing food, cafes and vineyards on the way.

New Zealand
Re:Start Project in Christchurch, New Zealand

By David Swanson

Re:Start Project in Christchurch


9. Christchurch is recovering well from the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and an innovative mix of pop-up bars and restaurants and container-based shopping malls has given the city new life. The beauty of Christchurch is also undiminished: simply stroll through its lush and velvety urban parks or enjoy a leisurely Edwardian punt ride on the Avon River. It's a great place to base yourself when exploring  the amazing sights and experiences nearby – whale watching, vineyards, the French settlement of Akaroa, scenic walking and cycling tracks and more - just an hour or two away.

10. And  we speak the same language (mostly!), drive on the same side of the road, have easy to follow road signs, with accommodation options at every place along the way. Plus our money makes sense – the $2 is larger than the $1 and we don’t have anything smaller than a 10 cent coin … oh, and we make the best chocolate and ice cream in the world!  

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