Get away to the South (that isn’t Queenstown)
Don’t get us wrong, Queenstown is great, and there’s no denying that. However, The South Island is huge, and there’s a lot more to do there than just explore the classic Queenstown. Here are some of our favorite must-do’s next time you’re up to exploring the South Island.
1. Discover Stewart Island
The amount of people that didn’t know Stewart Island was in fact a place where people live, and that is accessible to all of us, is overwhelming. For this reason, we highly recommend checking it out. Its temperature is on the cooler side, so make sure to dress warm. However, Halfmoon Bay and Horseshoe Bay make it feel like a slice of paradise. You can take a closer look into the beautiful seal life at the Ulva Island Marine Reserve, or the wildlife on land on the Rakiura Track. If beaches aren’t your thing, you can always check out the Bunkhouse Theatre, or peruse the Rakiura Museum.
2. Take in the Milford Sound
Named as one of the most beautiful wonders of our country is the Milford Sound. Pick your preferred mode of travel whether it be by helicopter, boat or foot, pack the camera and take it all in! Sitting within Fiordland National Park, its beautiful views, ink-dark waters and gushing waterfalls have tourists and locals alike blown away. With unique weather patterns in and around the Milford Sound, make sure you prepare for your visit and always pack a rain jacket just in case. Nevertheless, no amount of rain or shine could take away from the beauty of this natural wonder.
3. Explore the Abel Tasman
Renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs and its world-famous coastal track is the Abel Tasman. While you can take it all in through water taxi, kayak, a sailing catamaran, or a heli-tour, the wildlife is the real superstar, and an essential part of the scenery. Birdsong from Tuis and Bellbirds fill the forest, while cormorants, gannets, and little blue penguins dive for their dinner and fur seals are seen lounging on the rocks of Tonga Island. The possibilities are endless, and you won’t be left bored.
4. Visit New Zealand’s only Castle
Built in 1871, the Larnach Castle is the only traditional Castle in the country. The castle looks deeply into Dunedin’s history and culture, and even boasts a 3000-foot ballroom. Hosting a High Tea at 3pm every day and offering luxury accommodation for those so inclined, the Larnach Castle is a one-of-a-kind experience. While we can’t travel to the UK right now, Castle Larnach is the closest thing we may get for the time being and it does not fall short.
5. Get a taste of the Central Otago Wines
The combination of cooler climates, glacially-derived soils, and deep river gorges makes for highly elegant Pinot Noir, impressive Whites, and the occasional pink Rose. The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail takes a visit into four of the most premium wine tasting rooms that Central Otago has to offer. Time has no limit on this self-guided walking trail, and it’s a perfect way to enjoy local wine while taking in the stunning views of Lake Dunstan.
6. Take a trip to the Chatham Islands
Famous for its plentiful seafood and fascinating marine and wildlife, the Chatham Islands sit about 800 metres east of the South Island. It consists of two main islands, Chatham Island and Pitt Island and is one of the most remote places in the country. With no cell phone service, 660 local residents and most goods having to be transported there by plane, it is the perfect place to get away, switch off for a while, and disconnect from the busy-ness of regular daily life.
Top image by Graeme Murray