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Travel Guide: Tips for getting around New Zealand’s South Island


I’m Troy and I’m Jamie Welcome to New Zealand’s South Island! We’re Flight Centre consultants, and New Zealand experts, and we’re going to show you the hotspots to visit on the South Island, plus the best tips for travelling to and around New Zealand. The South Island is filled with excellent food, warm hospitality, immense beauty, and a hell of a lot of action! People always ask, when is the best time to travel to New Zealand? Well, the simple answer is any time, but it really depends on what you want to do. If you’re keen to hit the slopes and ski or snowboard, then head to Queenstown between July and September. Whereas if you want to hike, mountain bike, or get on and in the water, spring and autumn are the best times for these activities. In fact, some of the best places to hike in New Zealand are here. A great hike, is this one here at Queenstown Hill. But if you’re looking for something a little more energetic, just across the hill in Wanaka you’ll find over 750km of walking and biking trails, including the iconic Roys Peak! Or, if you head further north, Abel Tasman National Park is home to some of the best beaches in New Zealand. Not to mention the iconic multi-day Abel Tasman Coastal Track! Many of the best national parks in New Zealand are on the South Island, too. If you’re short on time you can see them from above with a flight over Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park, or Fiordland National Park, home to Milford and Doubtful Sound. And you may even get to land on a glacier! If heights aren’t your thing, you can see Milford Sound from the ground too, on a boat! Just be mindful of the weather and read the road reports. If you’re here for the thrills, Nevis Bungy is one of the best places to bungee jump in New Zealand because it’s the tallest, with an 8.5-second freefall! You can also bungee at Hanmer Springs Attractions, The Ledge or Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. Or, you can experience the highest cliff jump at Shotover Canyon Swing! Adventure means different things to different people. I always recommend a jet-boat ride! This is the Skippers Canyon Jet, but there’s also the Dart River Wilderness and Shotover jets. So much fun! Some of New Zealand’s best wine regions are here on the South Island, including Queenstown, Central Otago and, of course, here in Marlborough! Make sure to call in to a cellar door to sample some award-winning sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon, the wines New Zealand is known for. Food and wine go hand in hand, and in Marlborough Sounds you can find some of the best seafood in New Zealand. Speaking of food, you want to know where you can find the top restaurants in New Zealand, right? There are lots of great places to dine here, no matter your budget. Fergburger is famous and worth the wait for sure. Hot tip: you can call to pre-order and skip the queue! But there are plenty of other places to eat, like Bespoke Kitchen or Vudu Cafe in Queenstown. If you’re taking a day trip to Arrowtown, be sure to try Chop Shop. Or for more fine dining, you can’t go past Inati in Christchurch, Rata in Queenstown, or here, at Arbour Restaurant in Blenheim. How easy is it to drive around New Zealand? For Australians it’s super easy! We have many of the same road rules and we drive on the same side! In fact, exploring in a campervan is the perfect way to make the most of the South Island. There are so many spots to stop along the way. Between Christchurch and Queenstown, be sure to check out Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook National Park and Wanaka! And between Christchurch and Nelson, Marlborough, Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs are definitely worth a visit! If you’re travelling with kids, there’s plenty to do. In Christchurch you can check out the International Antarctic Centre, or hop on board a Black Cat cruise in Akaroa to see the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, Hector’s dolphins! Those are our top tips for New Zealand’s South Island! If you have any questions, Come and see us at your local Flight Centre store.

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