5 Exhilarating Things to do in South Island, New Zealand

Even as the pandemic is ravaging around the world, New Zealand is one of the countries that's successfully kept the virus at bay to an extent. In doing so the country is mostly open for the public to move around. The shops, movies, beaches, transport, hotels and parks function within the country. The island nation boasts of several tourist attractions. Things to do in South Island deserves to be highlighted.

Embedded in the lap of nature most of the things to do in South Island are for nature lovers. Whether it is for an adrenaline rush or for a meditative mood, you have ample chances up for grabs. Things to do in South Island include jet boating, rafting, forest camping, skydive, paragliding, trekking, etc. Well, come winter, things to do in South Island just puff up further.

Obviously, you can't think of a two or 3 days trip to South Island and do justice to your trip. A minimum of a one-week getaway would be the best bet. And that's what my brother tomyabhijith and his friends did.

One-week trip plan

Being an island, you need to resort to flights or ships to land on South Island if you are from other parts of the country or outside. Choose the nearest airport or port that suits you to save time. Mount Cook can be the first destination if you are landing in Christchurch. From Mt Cook, Lake Wanaka and then to Queenstown. Sightseeing and activities in these locations will need at least three days. Upon which ride on to Milford Sound which is around 280 KM from Queenstown. Rest of the days for Fiordland National Park which is on the way and Milford Sound. Not that in a week you can cover all the things to do in South Island, but the main ones yes.

Note: Book campervan from best companies with multiple offices. The advantage being, you needn't drive back to hiring point to return the van. You can return the van at any of their offices. For instance a van booked from Christchurch can be returned at Dunedin. Taking turns to drive by yourself would save you the extra expenses of hiring a driver.


Depends heavily on activities you indulge in and the to and fro flights fare.

  • Campervan: NZD600 + fuel (5 days). It functions as your van, night-camp, kitchen, toilet and restroom. Abhijith recommends campervan to the travellers to this region. The reason being checking in at hotels at each destination can be expensive and more time-consuming. According to him, five adults can sleep comfortably in a minivan
  • Parking: NZD 25. Hotels on the way allot parking space for campervan. At this fee, you can use their Wi-Fi too.
  • Skydive: NZD 300
  • Helicopter ride: NZD 250
  • Cruise: NZD 80
  • Paragliding: NZD 199
  • Food: Your van can be your kitchen. So carrying cooking ingredients can save extra bucks.

Note: These are discounted prices due to international border lockdown.

Mt Cook

Time for some adrenaline rush. The highest mountain in the country with its snowcapped peaks enchants you. One of the best things to do in South Island beckons you in form of a helicopter ride. Experience the thrill of a helicopter ride around the snow-covered peaks. Skiing or Strolling through the valleys of the mountain can be revitalizing too. Mt John Observatory point is another worthwhile spot to visit when you are here.

Lake Wanaka

Nearly 60 KM from Queenstown is the beautiful town of Wanaka. For those interested in watersports and a peaceful atmosphere, the small city is a paradise. Overlooking the Mount Aspiring National Park, Lake Wanaka offers amusing activities like fishing, boating, kayaking and swimming.  Trekkers and hikers choose the town as their fav point to start off. A walk through the city offers you chances to visit exhibition centres among other entertainments.


Queenstown literally flaunts a flurry of activities. You need to be specific with your itinerary to manage time. Else you will end up spending all the days in this happening city itself. The major attraction of the town includes skydiving, bungee jumping, hot air balloon ride and water rides among others. During winter you can enjoy snow activities too.

Although an expensive town, it is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Tourists outnumber the locals. The city sightseeing itself is quite pleasing. Nightlife with pubs, clubs and bars is glittering too.

You are recommended to taste the special Fergburgers of the town. From NZD10-20, you have multiple options available.

Approximately 4-hour drive to Milford Sound from here. And you will be driving along the spectacular Fiordland National Park, by the side of Lake Te Anau. 1+ km long Homer Tunnel in the mountain range will give a pleasant experience while driving.

Fiordland National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Fiordland National Park features the majestic Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Being locations for several epic movies like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogies, X-Men Origins speak volumes about this place. By boat or air even by trekking through it, you can explore this unparalleled location. Camping here for a night won't be a bad idea either.

Milford Sound

The first sight of the bewitching Sound itself will prove 280+ KM drive from Queensland is worth it. Milford Sound is a 15 km long fiord that opens into the Tasmanian Sea. It is rated as one of the best travel destinations in the country. Located within Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site it is shaped by the glaciers. Surrounded by cliffs on all sides, the enigmatic spot is not a bay, nor a bight, nor a fjord. It is not for nothing that Rudyard Kipling called it the eighth Wonder of the World. And you cannot but underline and have it in your list of things to do in South Island.

The main highlight is the 6-7 hrs. cruise around the Sound. Voyage might sound lengthy, but the mesmerizing ambiance will make you lose track of time. Magnificent waterfalls, towering peaks, and if lucky wildlife will keep you enthralled.

Paragliding above the Sound is another exhilarating experience.

Note: No mobile network coverage



A Travel enthusiast and Foodie, craving to explore the intricate beauty of nature and its gift of delectable treats. Pens down his thoughts and experiences to present a delightful journey for his readers

12 thoughts on “5 Exhilarating Things to do in South Island, New Zealand

  • May 16, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Omg, what an adventure in New Zealand’s south island! It’s awesome how many destinations and activities you guys covered in 5 days. Lovely pictures from Mt Cook to Milford Sound 🙂

  • May 16, 2021 at 10:55 am


  • May 16, 2021 at 11:26 am

    This is an amazing location.
    Thank you for sharing

  • May 16, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    I love the south island of New Zealand. I loved Queens Town and the Luge ride! Great read.

  • May 16, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent💯 work

  • May 16, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Tempat yang indah…😍😍

  • May 17, 2021 at 8:17 am

    New Zealand is yet ANOTHER bucket list destination for me. I may have to wait for my kids to get older- I cannot convince them or the wife to want to travel here.

    • May 18, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      The best part is the country is keeping safe in COVID times too

  • May 18, 2021 at 4:40 am

    I haven’t been to New Zealand yet. I really want to try extreme sports there! I love the place. It looks so clean and fun to be at. I hope I can visit soon after the pandemic!

  • May 19, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Milford Sound Video is the best thing I saw today. I hope that I can make it there someday.

  • May 19, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    It is an extraordinary pleasure reading your post. It really makes me feel happy and thanks for sharing your post. Please keep posting more blogs like this, thanks.

  • Pingback: 7 Best Adventurous Things To Do In Rotorua, New Zealand | Kuntala's Travel Blog

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