Sunshine and beaches aren’t the only attraction in this breathe taking country; the New Zealand South Island boasts some of the world’s most popular ski fields. Christchurch is the South Island hub for all travellers, with is beautiful gardens and Gothic architecture, while Marlborough boasts its extensive vineyards. Nelson is perfect for all of your wine connoisseurs.
There are some great New Zealand ski packages available that will give you access to some of the best slopes in the country. It all depends on what you love and how you want to spend your time. There are even some New Zealand tours that focus on The Lord of the Rings movies that will take you right to the areas where the movies were filmed.
The South Island of New Zealand is, quite simply, breathtaking. Particularly notable are its world-renowned ski fields and walking tracks.
Christchurch, known as “The Garden City”, is the South Island’s gateway for International travellers. Auckland and Wellington in the North Island are also good alternatives.
The top of the South Island offers the regions of Marlborough, Nelson and Golden Bay.
Marlborough is a world-famous wine region, noted particularly for its white wines. It also offers the many beautiful islands of the Marlborough Sounds, and the whale-watching area of Kaikoura.
Nelson teems with history and culture, being home to many artists and craftspeople, especially potters. Golden Bay boasts the most popular walking track in the country, the Abel Tasman. To visit these regions you can start from Wellington with a ferry across Cook Strait, or travel up from Christchurch.
Christchurch is renowned for its Gothic architecture and gardens.
Just a short distance away is the Banks Peninsula. A visit to Akaroa is recommended.
The Canterbury region is made up of the North covering the hot springs at Hanmer Forest Park, the Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass.
Mid Canterbury boasts Mount Hutt, world-renowned for reliable snow with a wide range of ski runs. Below the alpine foothills and glacier lakes, broad, fertile plains support large farms.
South Canterbury highlights include Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps and Lake Tekapo, where the much-photographed church of the Good Shepherd can be found. Travelling from Christchurch across the Canterbury Plains to Mount Cook you will pass through Ashburton, the centre of Mid Canterbury, a rich grain growing, pastoral and racehorse breeding area, then Fairlie, known as the “Gateway To MacKenzie.” In recent times Fairlie has developed ski fields at Mount Dobson and the vast Two Thumb Range. Leaving Fairlie you make your way to Lake Tekapo, the largest of three lakes in MacKenzie Country. The journey continues to Mount Cook National Park (103km) the highest peak in New Zealand, Mount Cook lies within the park. The Park is spectacular, featuring the Tasman Glacier, over 300 species of plants and many fine walks & tramps..
From the Canterbury Region you can journey to Coastal Otago which is made up of North Otago, Dunedin and Clutha District. Oamaru in the North is historically important as a source for the beautiful white limestone of many New Zealand buildings.
Further south is Dunedin which has retained its distinctive Victorian character, with stone buildings predominating. The Otago peninsula is home to a variety of bird life, including rare yellow-eyed penguins and the world’s only mainland royal albatross colony. Other favourite tourist attractions are Larnach Castle & Olverston House.
Leaving Dunedin on your way to Invercargill in the Southland Region you will travel via Balclutha, built on the banks of the Clutha River, New Zealand’s largest, before taking in the unique Catlins. The coastline is spectacular and native forests and walkways abound.
Invercargill in the Southland Region is New Zealand’s southernmost city and a base for exploring Stewart Island and the Fiordland. Or you can travel to Te Anau, on the South Island’s largest lake, a gateway to Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound offer the visitor a memorable experience of mother nature in all her beauty.
Within Central Otago is Queenstown, the most popular South Island resort on the shore of Lake Wakatipue. Together with Wanaka, Queenstown offers some of the most popular ski fields in the South Pacific, if not the world. Other activities include jet boating, fishing and world-renowned walks such as Milford Sound, Routeburn and Hollyford Track.
Many visitors are enthralled by the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. It features Te Wahipounamu, granted World Heritage status, a unique environment of rainforests and glaciers (Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers) little changed since the ancient mega-continent of Gondwanaland. It is also home to the Westland and Mount Aspiring National Parks.
The Northern & Central area of the coast offer lush forests rising to mountain ranges that soar above rugged coastline and wild seas.
Greymouth is where you begin or end one of the world’s most scenic train journeys, the Tranz Alpine, which crosses the Southern Alps from Christchurch.