New Zealand South Island | Designer Travel

new zealand south island

New Zealand South Island

Dramatic natural scenery and lots of wildlife

The South Island of New Zealand is much less populous than the North Island and it’s home to an amazing amount of wildlife making it a great place to see many species in their natural habitat. The Banks Peninsula outside of Christchurch has the largest mainland colony of little blue penguins and the Marlborough Sounds is a top spot to see dolphins, seals and whales. You can enjoy a wildlife tour in Dunedin which will give you the chance to see penguins, sea lions and fur seals in their natural habitat.

For awe-inspiring scenery, we recommend Fiordland; one of the most beautiful and dramatic areas of New Zealand. Here you’ll be greeted by granite peaks, shimmering lakes, ancient rainforests and cascading waterfalls. You can take a scenic flight over the area or explore some of the more accessible fiords by kayak. Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site which includes Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds – outstanding areas which are simply picture-perfect. It’s home to three of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’ – the Routeburn, Kepler and Milford tracks so hiking and walking enthusiasts should make this area a must-visit on their NZ itinerary.

Sitting on the picturesque shores of Lake Wakatipu is Queenstown which is a real treat for activity enthusiasts. You’ll find plenty to do here including bungee jumping, canyoning, jet boating, river rafting, horse trekking, sky diving, cycling and even skiing in the winter.

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and it embraces visitors with a mixture of varied activities, culture and heritage. You can go punting on the Avon River, visit the world-famous Botanic Gardens or travel to nearby Hammer Springs for a thermal soak.

At Designer Travel, we can tailor-make your ideal holiday to New Zealand – whether you’re looking to stay on one island, visit both, take a walking/cycling/hiking/activity holiday or simply find a stunning luxury retreat where you can totally unwind, we can help. Simply tell us what you want and we will do the work for you while you sit back and relax.

We have an experienced team of friendly and enthusiastic experts who will search for the best options available for your trip to this wonderful destination. Designer Travel are ABTA bonded and independent so we can choose from a huge range of flight and accommodation options.

To start the ball rolling on your fabulous New Zealand adventure, fill in the enquiry form or give us a call and we’ll be at your service in no time. It’s what we love to do!

Key Highlights
  • A must see/visit is the imposing Mitre Peak and Milford Sound
  • See the little blue penguins at The Banks Peninsula
  • The island has several top skiing resorts – ask us for more details
  • Adrenaline junkies will love the adventure sports on offer at Queenstown
  • Visit Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand
  • Treat yourself to a peaceful overnight cruise to the remote wilderness of Doubtful Sound
  • Take a helicopter ride over the Franz Josef Glacier
  • Tour some of the scenic areas used for filming The Lord of the Rings films
  • Take a boat cruise at Marlborough Sounds to spot seals, whales and dolphins
  • The Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau delivers a five-star stay in a stunning location

Travel Information

Time Difference: GMT +12 hours

Currency: New Zealand Dollar

Climate Information

Temperatures in the upland areas of the South Island during Winter (June to August) fall as low as -10°C.

The average rainfall is high in New Zealand, ranging from 600 to 1500 mm spread across the year.

Summer temperatures (December to February) can reach 22°C.

Leisure & Activities

Dolphin and Whale Watching
One of the best places to head for, if you would like to experience the wonders of nature, is Kaikoura where you can spot magnificent sperm whales. Situated on the east coast of the South Island, there’s also the opportunity to see dolphins, Orca Killer Whales and Humpback Whales.

Cycling & Mountain Biking
New Zealand is home to some amazing cycle trails which vary widely in terrain, from smooth paths to challenging single tracks which run across the mountains. The New Zealand Cycle Trail encompasses 22 rides offering cycle tours suitable for varying ages and level of ability. It's a wonderful way to take in some of the country's must-see sights and wonderful scenery.

Skiing
Mt Hutt Ski Area is an award-winning ski resort located approximately 90 minutes drive from Christchurch. There's terrain suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all levels of ability. There's also Mount Dobson Ski Area which has everything from beginners slopes right up to challenging black runs.

Hotels in New Zealand South Island