New Zealand: South Island

2018 saw my biggest adventure yet.

A two month solo trip of New Zealand. It didn’t just meet my expectations, but it went above and beyond all that I’d imagined it would be. It truly was the adventure of a lifetime.

If you missed my guide on what to see in the North Island, you can check it out here.

But without further a do, here’s my highlights of the South Island…

  • Lake Tekapo

If you’re a star gazer, or just love beautiful scenery, Tekapo is the place for you. Tekapo is located in an International Dark Sky Reserve, meaning its one of the best places on Earth to view those starry skies.

If getting up in the middle of the night isn’t your thing (it isn’t mine), then I’d highly recommend visiting The Church of the Good Shepherd. The Church was built for pioneering families in the Mackenzie Region, with a bronze statue of a sheepdog close by; recognising the area’s dependence on the sheepdog.

  • Christchurch

Christchurch is an incredible city, full of even more incredible people. Its a city that’s still trying to recover from numerous earthquakes, but the sense of community is inspiring. To be honest, it was one of my highlights of the South Island. It reminded me so much of cities like York and Durham where I’ve spent so much time in back home. It just felt like I was back in the North.

There’s plenty to do and see in Christchurch including the Air Force Museum, Botanical Gardens, 2011 Quake Memorials and The Canterbury Museum. So there’s much to do to keep yourself busy during your time in the city.

Still stuck for things to do?

Why not hire a car and take a road trip along Arthur’s Pass! It’s a trip you won’t regret doing.

  • Mt Cook

Mount Cook (Aoraki) is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Sir Edmund Hillary used this very mountain to prepare himself for conquering Everest. Pretty cool, right?

There’s plenty of hikes to do, and even on the grimmest of days, the views are still breathtaking. Just be warned, even though there are steady and easy hikes to do here, in the winter months, they can be incredibly slippy. In pretty sure a fair few of us almost slipped and broke something…

  • Franz Josef/Fox Glacier

If you’re wanting to do a skydive during your time in New Zealand, I’d highly recommend doing yours here. This is where I did mine,and it was breathtaking…quite literally. The views are incredible, with a mixture of mountains, glaciers and the sea. Its one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen and done.

There’s also plenty of hikes to do around Lake Matheson (you can get incredible hot chocolates here in the little cafe at the beginning of the looped walk), Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. And if you want to see some local Kiwi wildlife, there is a Kiwi sanctuary at Franz Josef!

  • Kaikoura

Last but not least is Kaikoura, the whale watching and seal spotting capital of the South Island.

Although it may seem pricey, the whale watching tour is phenomenal. And, if you don’t spot and whales, you get a refund! Win win situation, right?

I was lucky enough to spot two beautiful whales, as well as dolphins and marine life. Its something I’ll never forget. I will warn you though, you’ll need a strong stomach; it can get quite rocky on those waters!

If spending time on the water isn’t your idea of fun, then why not take a long walk along the shore and visit the seal colonies! The seals often just chill out on the rocks, however do keep your distance; they are wild animals after all.

I hope you enjoyed my brief guide of my favourite spots of the North and South Islands of this incredible country, and if you ever visit, let me know what you think!

Charley x

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