Why I love the South Island

A childhood spent at the top of the South Island, with most holidays featuring a sandfly-infested awning and a gold pan for fun, the beauty of my home island was somewhat lost on me. Not so now. Obsessed with all things outdoors including hiking, mountain biking and wildlife-watching, I now realise that New Zealand’s South Island is a truly special place to be. Its coastline, mountain ranges, valleys and plains... Read More

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South Island activities

$46.25 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Restaurant

The Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is located on Bob's Peakat Skyline, perched high above the resort town of Queenstown in the beautiful Southern Lakes region of New Zealand's South Island. From the gondola base, located within a 10-minute walk from downtown Queenstown, you'll ride the Gondola to the restaurant. Take in the breathtaking panoramic views from Coronet Peak to Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables and surrounding mountains. At the Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar, enjoy a mouthwatering four-course buffet lunch or six-course buffet dinner that offers the very best of New Zealand’s local produce. Feast on South Island salmon, seafood, salads roast meats and delicious desserts.Complete your dining experience with a drink in the fully licensed bar (at own expense) before boarding the gondola for your round-trip to the gondola base.Christmas Day:Christmas day lunch and dinner includes a round-trip gondola ride, Christmas themed buffet, live entertainment, two luge rides and an appearance from Santa. Christmas dinner has two sitting times to choose from. Please note the Kiwi Haka is closed on Christmas.New Year's Eve:New Year's Eve dinner includes a round-trip gondola ride, NYE festive themed buffet and live entertainment, two luge rides. NYE dinner has two sitting times to choose from. Please note the Kiwi Haka is not included.

$156.52 Day Trips & Excursions

Full-Day Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park Tour including Milford Sound Cruise and BBQ Lunch from Queenstown

Upon entering the Fiordland National Park, the largest National Park in NZ, travel up along side the Eglington River to three mountain lakes at the head of the Eglington Valley. During this part of the journey you will make the first of our many sightseeing stops that also allow for some great photo opportunities. You have a couple of different locations for lunch and will endeavor to select the best spot on the day. With some fantastic walks in the area, this is a great opportunity to experience the beautiful alpine forest up close. After lunch you head towards the Homer Tunnel, taking in some incredible mountain views while driving along side the crystal clear waters of the Hollyford river. Once through the Homer Tunnel, you'll wind the way down the Cleddau Valley. At this time you arrive in an area called Fiordland but are visiting a "Sound", the difference will be explained. You link up with a scenic cruise for a 1hour and 45 minute excursion on the fjord. The barbecue lunch includes a classic Kiwi BBQ of marinated lamb kebabs, chicken kebabs and sausages, a good range of salads, fresh bread and fruit juice. Vegetarian patties are available on request. Please be sure to specify any dietary requirements at the time of booking.Important Note: During the months of May to October the itinerary for this tour will be modified. In place of the BBQ lunch enroute to Milford Sound, the tour will include a full scenic cruise with a BBQ lunch on board the cruise boat.

$319.45 Outdoor Activities

Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

Choose from four different morning departure times to suit your schedule, then head to the centrally located tour base in Franz Josef to meet your guide. Wrap up against the elements with the protective jacket, trousers, hats, gloves and leather boots provided, and don’t forget to grab your crampons! When you’re fully kitted out, head to your helicopter and start your journey with a short flight up onto the Franz Josef Glacier.Enjoy breathtaking views of the glacier and surrounding area from your vantage point high in the sky, then land gently on the glacier and set off with your guide. An amazing sight to behold, there are forests of ice formations jutting out at different angles from the mighty glacier .Follow your experienced guide through the maze of ice as you explore the magnificent natural landscape. Discover first-hand the dramatic environmental changes that are affecting the glacier and gain insight into the amazing geological forces at play.At the conclusion of your glacier hike, return to Franz Josef by helicopter and relax with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pools. Nestled in a lush rainforest on the edge of town, the hot pools are fed by pure glacier water. Sit back, relax and rejuvenate your muscles in the soothing water — the perfect way to end the day in style!

$170.75 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Te Anau or Manapouri

You'll be picked up from your Te Anau hotel and travel to Lake Manapouri to West Arm. You'll board a coach and cross over the 670-meter high Wilmot Pass. You'll stop here to view Doubtful Sound far below. Your journey continues to Deep Cove where you'll board a spacious catamaran for a three-hour Doubful Sound Wilderness Cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. The skipper will provide detailed commentary and point out highlights. Ten times larger than Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound is an unspoiled wilderness of many moods, one minute clear, blue and sun drenched, the next mysterious and mist shrouded. A wild place of dense rainforest, rugged peaks, cascading waterfalls and deep still waters quiet, serene and green. Keep a look out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently come alongside the vessel, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fiord and rare penguins can at times be observed.

$170.75 Day Trips & Excursions

Milford Sound Full-Day Tour from Queenstown

Your journey from Queenstown takes you along the edge of Lake Wakatipu beneath the rugged Remarkables to Te Anau for a morning tea break (own expense). You'll then enter the Fiordland National Park, pausing at the Mirror Lakes before passing through the Hollyford Valley. The road then climbs to enter the Homer Tunnel, emerging above the CleddauValley before descending to Milford Sound.Carved by a massive glacier in the last ice age, Milford Sound is one of the most treasured regions of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. The best way to check out the heart-stopping, pristine scenery, towering peaks, waterfalls and marine and bird life is aboard this Milford Sound cruise. While cruising, you'll enjoy a full commentary about the rich history and environment of Milford Sound.

$305.22 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Heli Hiking Franz Josef

After meeting your guide and being fitted for all of your provided equipment, your Franz Josef Glacier adventure starts with a thrilling helicopter ride from the helicopter base in town up to the ice. With its ability to hover over stunning landscapes and provide access to remote areas, a helicopter flight is the ultimate way to see the 7.5-mile-long (12 km) glacier at the top of New Zealand's Southern Alps.Soar right by towering peaks, over deep crevasses and past sparkling waterways. Admire the pristine blue color of the ice, and land high up on the glacier between two icefalls, where your 2-hour guided hike begins. Follow your experienced guide into the spectacular icefall terrain, usually seen only by skilled mountaineers. Climb in and around ice caves, see dramatic pinnacles and seracs, and learn about the history and current conditions of the Franz Josef Glacier. Enjoy amazing photo ops of this unique landscape, and then re-board the helicopter for the ride back to town.Safety and helicopters:The local tour operator has an excellent safety record, practices rigid assessments and uses exclusive high-quality equipment. Your safety and enjoyment come first.The helicopter fleet consists predominately of AS355 twin-engine Squirrels, which seat six passengers plus the pilot. They are ideal for scenic flights, with an open-plan cabin that provides excellent views for all passengers. The local tour operator has the highest-level certification from the Civil Aviation Authority for scenic helicopter tours; this involves regular monitoring and audits of all aspects of the operations.