Top things to do in New Zealand South Island

New Zealand is stunning; there is so much to see. While I’m travelling the globe I’m often asked what are the top things to do in New Zealand South Island, where to go and what to see.

The list is huge, there’s so much to see and do, from my time travelling New Zealand in 2010 for six months and spending a year living here in 2013, here’s my list of top things to do in New Zealand South Island which I enjoyed. Hopefully it will give you some ideas of what you would like to do with your time in New Zealand – see below in no particular order.

Give Geocaching a go as you’re travelling around New Zealand, it’s good fun & free – geocaching.com

Top things to do in New Zealand South Island

  • Akaroa (near Christchurch) – Swim with Hector Dolphins (smallest and rarest) – akaroa.com, my Akaroa post
  • Rangitata Rafting – Grade 5 Rafting (x2 Grade 5) and Cliff Jumping, was great fun! – rafts.co.nz, my Rangitata rafting post
  • Hanmer Springs – Thermal and sulphur pools (Spa Complex) – hanmersprings.co.nz
  • Kaikoura – Swim with Dusky Dolphins, Swim with Seals, Seal Watching (free, pull up on the coast) and Whale Watching – kaikoura.co.nz, my Kaikoura post & Videos
  • Abel Tasman – Walking and Kayaking in the national park. 1 1/2 day Kayak and 2 1/2 day walk which was fantastic.
    Route – Day 1. Marahau to Anchorage, Day 2. Anchorage to Mosquito Bay. Day 3. Mosquito Bay to Waihakeke. Day 4. Waihakeke to Whari. Day 5. Whari then back to Motueka by bus. More information – abeltasman.co.nz
Mosquito Bay
The view while camping in Mosquito Bay
Milford Track
View going from Minataro to Dumpling. If you get to Minataro early and it’s a clear day, I highly recommend climbing up and taking in the stunning views, as you might not get a clear day the next day when you do it.
  • Catlins Scenic Route – Nice route to take if heading to or from Dunedin to Invercargill – catlins.org.nz (interactive map)
  • Otago Coast – Moeraki Boulders, Elephant Rocks (near Duntroon), Yellow Eyed/Little Blue Pengiuns – moerakiboulders.comotago-peninsula.co.nz
  • Lake Tekapo – Mt. John Observatory for amazing star gazing (book on the day or day before as can fill up), Hot Springs, Nice Walks. From here you’re only a half an hour/45 minute drive to Mt. Cook – tekapotourism.comearthandskynz.commtcooknz.com
  • Queen Charlotte Track – Nice 3 day walk, personally I felt the Milford Track, Kepler or Abel Tasman is better if you’re short on time – qctrack.co.nz

These are some of my top things to do in New Zealand South Island, hope they’ve helped inspire you, have fun and enjoy!

Queen Charlotte Track
View from walking the Queen Charlotte Track