South Island has some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer, from rolling vineyards and sweeping beaches to sparkling lakes and snow-topped peaks.

It’s known for its spectacular scenery, but there’s more to New Zealand’s South Island than just mountains and waterways. The cities of Christchurch and Queenstown are popular year-round and both must-sees for an authentic taste of Kiwi life. Enjoy world-class wine, superb walking trails and an incredibly diverse range of wildlife all in one place.

  • Cruise or sea kayak in stunning and dramatic Milford Sound, dominated by the imposing Mitre Peak and home to diverse wildlife - it's on everyone's New Zealand must-do list for good reason
  • Hike through or kayak along Abel Tasman National Park for some glorious scenery
  • Head to Queenstown for the Shotover Jet, bungee jumping, luging and other adventure sports
  • Let an experienced guide take you on a heli-hike on Franz Josef Glaicer which includes a 10 minute helicopter flight
  • And you can't go to the South Island without taking in the incredible scenery as seen in The Lord of the Rings films

Good to know

Time difference:

GMT +12 hours (GMT +13 hours from the last week in March to the first week in October)

Capital:

New Zealand's capital is Wellington, in the North Island

Currency:

New Zealand Dollar (NZ$) comprising of 100 cents.

Flying time to destination:

Auckland: 23 hours, Christchurch: 24½ hours.

More facts

When to visit South Island

Jan

Highly Recommended

Perfect time to escape

Feb

Highly Recommended

Perfect time to escape

Mar

Recommended

Good time to escape

Apr

Recommended

Good time to escape

May

Recommended

Good time to escape

Jun

Could be Recommended

might be time to escape

Jul

Could be Recommended

might be time to escape

Aug

Could be Recommended

might be time to escape

Sep

Recommended

Good time to escape

Oct

Recommended

Good time to escape

Nov

Highly Recommended

Perfect time to escape

Dec

Highly Recommended

Perfect time to escape

Further climate information