South Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Small but lovely: St. Kentigern.
    Small but lovely: St. Kentigern.
    by Kakapo2
  • Moeraki Boulders
    Moeraki Boulders
    by Robmj
  • New Zealand fur seal basking on Tonga Island
    New Zealand fur seal basking on Tonga...
    by JohanIsWeg

South Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Port Hills

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Gethsemane Gardens If you would like to visit a wildly romantic garden with a Christian theme, then this is it! St. Cecilia Chapel is an enchanting little trellis structure in the heart of Gethsemane Gardens. High on a hill and close to heaven, the chapel overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Romantic pathways lead you through the gardens, which have a...

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  • Arrowtown

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Arrowtown is located approximately 21km from Queenstown, towards Cromwell and offers a place of relaxation and walking trails. Arrowtown started in the gold rush, with Chinese immigrants. The Chinese village remains are a popular free attraction (not many things are free in Queenstown). The local school children do a study on these each year....

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  • Port Chalmers

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Port Chalmers is located on the north shore of Otago harbour and is the deep water port for Otago. A short, 15 minute drive from Dunedin, and we were here! We found a nice lookout here, where my photo was taken from, it had great views of the port area, and of the beautiful Iona church. Port Chalmer's is also famous because the last Antarctic...

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  • Otago

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    When gold was discovered in in 1863.in a valley in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range in Central Otago it wasn't long before the town now known as Naseby quickly began to grow as prospectors followed their dreams. The field here proved to be so rich and extensive that the town ended up being moved as the workings grew and grew. The little town...

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  • Lake Tekapo

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    New Zealand's most famous sheep stealer, James McKenzie owned a dog named Friday. Both the Mackenzie County and the pass are named after him. McKenzie was apprehended at the Mackenzie Pass by an overseer for the Rhodes Brothers at Levels Station. His dog Friday drove approximately one thousand sheep towards Burkes Pass in 1855 from Levels Station....

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  • Milford Sound

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    MIlford Sound is a must do while in NZ. It is very isolated, so I recommend doing the fly - cruise-fly option from downtown Queenstown. There are 3-4 companies who offer this. It is rather expensive, however does mean that there is not 10 hours wasted sitting on a bus. Also provides the opportunity for amazing photography from the plane. MIlford...

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  • The Catlins

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Waipapa Point is one of several places along the Catlins Coast where it is possible to see Hooker’s Sea Lions. These endangered animals are found mostly at the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, but a few live on the Otago Peninsula, the Catlins Coast, and on and around Stewart Island. Much larger and more aggressive than the shy New Zealand Fur Seal,...

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  • Canterbury

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    Peel Forest is about halfway between the towns of Timaru and Christchurch, via the back roads. Its a great spot for walking, picnicking and just enjoying the outdoors. Several waymarked trails through the trees, and open spaces too.

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  • New Brighton Pier..

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    The pier was built originally in 1894 and was demolished in 1964. $4 million was raised by the council and community funds to build a new pier, and in 1987 it was opened. You can get good views of the ocean at the end, though on a nice weekend day a lot of people will fish from it, and if you dont like the smell of fish and blood then you might...

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  • Wanaka

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Wanaka is a small town situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka and was originally settled during the gold rush excitement of the 19th century. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Parkand is a resort town for both summer and winter activities. It is about an hour's drive from Queenstown.

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  • Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens.

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    Glenfalloch means 'peaceful valley' and this place is indeed just that. The gardens are free (donations welcome) and there is plenty of parking. They are only a short drive from Dunedin along the scenic coastal Portobello Road, that hugs the Otago Harbour. There is a cafe on site that serves nice coffee and muffins. The gardens are privately...

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  • Nelson/Tasman

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    Tonga Bay Beach among one of the many beautiful stretches of beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. We kind of just stumbled on it on our hike through the bush. A very tranquil and peaceful place. Admittedly even in the summer (late December) there was no way I would have gone in the water...far too cold. But many people were out canoeing and...

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  • Akaroa

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Akaroa was orginally set up by the French in their attempt to claim the local area for King & country. While the original 63 French settlers were at sea, sailing towards what they believed was a small piece of France in the South Pacific NZ Governor William Hobson despatched Capt Stanley, on "HMS Britomart", with an English flag. Soon after...

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  • Kawarau River

    Queenstown Off The Beaten Path

    Even if you don't dare to do a bungy jump, you can walk around the Bungy Centre with exhibitions on the history and equipment used for bungy jump. The surrounding is very beautiful. You can take pictures from the viewing platform or head to the bridge to take some pictures. Did I have a go at the bungy? There is a cafe where you can have a sip...

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  • Mount Cargill.

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    If you have a car, then a drive to the summit of Mount Cargill, northeast of the city, is a must. The views from here are expansive and you can see the entire Otago Peninsula and harbour. To the north and northwest the views stretch up the coast and into the rugged Otago hinterland. The road is gravel and not well graded for about a quarter of the...

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  • West Coast

    South Island Off The Beaten Path

    The day we drove from Fox Glacier to Haast we passed some awesome scenery down the West Coast. This place was called Knight's Point Lookout and was great to spend a few minutes admiring before heading off on our way. Like most things in NZ it had a little parking area and info boards that explained what you were looking at.

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  • Lyttelton

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    and lots of charm. With its brightly painted houses tumbling down the steep hills and narrow stairs to go up and down, Lyttelton reminded me of the Chilean port of Valparaiso way across the other side of the Pacific. Whilst still the busiest commercial port and deepest harbour on the South Island, like its Chilean counterpart, Lyttelton has seen...

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  • Larnach Castle

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    On the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle is open daily for both guided and independent tours and has a huge collection of New Zealand antiques, situated within 35 acres of gardens and grounds. The Barker Family, present-day owners, have lovingly restored this historic castle. Built in 1871 by a local Member of Parliament, Sir William Larnach, the...

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  • Sumner

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    We wanted to go to the cinema on our last night in Christchurch but the film we wanted to see was only showing at one place - Hollywood Masters in Sumner. "Where's that?" we asked. "Right across town" - the reply. "It'll take you half an hour to get there from here!" So off we set for Sumner - and we were so glad that we had. What a charming...

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  • Taiaroa Head

    Dunedin Off The Beaten Path

    The Albatross has long been a creature of reverence and superstition. Well before Coleridge penned his 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', seafarers believed that when their captains died their souls took the form of an albatross to wander the oceans forever. The Royal Albatross, one of the largest seabirds, is a gliding phenomenon. It regularly...

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  • Arthur's Pass

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    We booked a tour with Motorcyclesnewzealand.co.nz The route: Christchurch, Arthur's Pass, Portsmouth, Havelock, Kaikaroa, Hanmer Springs back to Christchurch Good roads, Great guide. Comfortable lodgings, Superb views! We saw the south new zealand that most tourists do not see.

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  • Hermitage Hotel

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Mount Cook National Park is where you will find New Zealand's tallest mountain, Mt Cook (or Aoraki). The area also has the largest glacier in the country, Tasman Glacier. At the foot of the mountain is Mt Cook village and is the starting point for several hiking trails. The Maori name, Aoraki, means Sky Father and Mt Cook stands at 3,755 making...

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  • Orana Wildlife Park Set on 80...

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Orana Wildlife Park Set on 80 hectares of land within the McLeans Island recreational area, 18 kilometres or about 30 minutes drive from Christchurch's Cathedral Square, Orana Park has been designed with the emphasis on natural settings for the animals. Here you can view them close-up, with few fences, wire or cages. Because of the importance the...

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  • Methven

    Christchurch Off The Beaten Path

    Not exactly off the beaten track but close to Christchurch is the town of Methven (about 1.5 hours drive). Methven is the gateway to the Famous Mt Hutt ski field, the highst in the Southern Hemisphere. Mt Hutt sits high on the eastern rim of New Zealand's awesome Southern Alps. With a stunning backdrop of range after range of snowclad peaks and...

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  • The curling capital of New Zealand

    When gold was discovered in in 1863.in a valley in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range in Central Otago it wasn't long before the town now known as Naseby quickly began to grow as prospectors followed their dreams. The field here proved to be so rich and extensive that the town ended up being moved as the workings grew and grew. The little town...

    more
  • Dunedin - Larnach Castle Gardens

    We only paid to tour the gardens. The handout that is provided is extremely informative and we had a great time. Would highly recommend. The following info is off the websiteGardens & Grounds Only (self-guided) Entry to the Castle's gardens and grounds, ballroom cafe, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative garden and native plant trail...

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  • Scenery during the drive

    The day we drove from Fox Glacier to Haast we passed some awesome scenery down the West Coast. This place was called Knight's Point Lookout and was great to spend a few minutes admiring before heading off on our way. Like most things in NZ it had a little parking area and info boards that explained what you were looking at.

    more
  • Thunder Falls

    We drove from Fox Glacier down to Haast and were constantly stopping at touristy signposted places and having to walk just a minute or two before being confronted with another gorgeous sight. Unfortunately often there was also a tourist bus full of people there too. This one was great.

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  • Akaroa Beach frenchbay

    Akaroa Beach frenchbay ...85km from Christchurch.right behind the Lighthouse, a short walkway takes you to the old Cementary..very interesting read from the past

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  • Gold Fever

    For a short time in the 1860s, Otago was in the grip of a fabulously rich gold rush. People flocked here from all over the world and towns sprang up wherever a rich supply gold was found. Some survived the end of the rush and went on to become permanent townships. Others emptied as the gold failed and there was nothing else to keep people there....

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  • go Bush

    great hiking and walking trekks in the South Island, nature galore, getting away from it allAbel Tasman,Mt Aspiring, Westland and Heaphy track and the smaller Keplar track at Milford Sound to name some

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  • Dansey Hotel

    great Lunch and fine Accommodation, I loved the Breakfast too.a very importand stopover for the Horsecarriages in the 19th century. changeover for the Horses and a bite for the Drivers. nowadays our 4X4 does the drip easy in a couple of hoursthere are wonderful walkways around the Hotel..enjoy!

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  • Fruit and wine ...

    ... are what Cromwell is all about. Set on the banks of the huge Clyde Dam - the town was actualy moved when the dam was built and its central area flooded - the area around the small town is the centre of New Zealand's orchard industry and the fastest growing wine production region in the country.Like nearly all the towns in Central Otago, it was...

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  • The Roaring '60s

    This little building was the Gold Office in St Bathans, a wee (favourite NZ word that) town in Central Otago. Once a thousand people lived here and there were more than 40 business establishments in the town - all due to the gold that was discovered here in 1862. Now the population is no more than 10 , only the post office and the pub (the Vulcan...

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  • St Bathans in Otago

    New Zealand doesn't have a long history, however what little we have is worth visiting. Here in the midst of Central Otago is an old gold mining hotel, from the 1860's.St Bathans is inland from Oamaru in the South Island. You need time to visit this area, and you need a vehicle. If you have both, then be sure to call at the Vulcan Hotel. They say...

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  • Lindis Pass

    through McKenzies Country into Wanaka and Queenstown..one of the real off the beaten path trip to Oamarama,the Mecca for man in their Gliders

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  • Peel Forest

    Peel Forest is about halfway between the towns of Timaru and Christchurch, via the back roads. Its a great spot for walking, picnicking and just enjoying the outdoors. Several waymarked trails through the trees, and open spaces too.

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  • old Museum

    at the shores of Lake Dunstan, just outside of Cromwell, when the Clyde Dam was build, many parts of the area where floaded, some historical buildings where pulled down build up again in safer parts on the Lake, like the old Museum with artefacts of the beginnings and settlement in Central Otago.

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  • Get a thrill, go bungy jumping

    down south the adventure starts, jetboating bungy jumping, not for me but young people can't get enough of it Bungy Jumpers Bridge of the Kawarau River..Cromwell to Queenstown

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  • Rakaia Hutts

    where the Rakaia River flows into the Ocean. for generations,Christchurch people build wee hutts around here...a Crib, in the local lingowalk through native Bushland..25km from Christchurch City..good fishing Spot

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  • Lake Ida

    and Lake Coleridge..high Country lakes, good for fishing, camping and for weekend hunting. information can be obtained at the Colaridge Village. Lake Ida will freeze over in harsh winters, a winter spectacle for Christchurch people, skating all day long..around 1 1/2h easy drive north-west of Christchurch..and the sunsets are....beautiful

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  • Tonga Bay Beach

    Tonga Bay Beach among one of the many beautiful stretches of beach in the Abel Tasman National Park. We kind of just stumbled on it on our hike through the bush. A very tranquil and peaceful place. Admittedly even in the summer (late December) there was no way I would have gone in the water...far too cold. But many people were out canoeing and...

    more
  • Split Apple Rock

    Take a cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park. These take you to starting points / pick-up points along the various trails in the park. There are a number of walks you can do, ranging from 5 day-long to a few hours.One of these cruises, we went past this unique cluster of stones in the water called Split Apple Rock. It looks like a big round stone...

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  • Devil's Punchbowl waterfall

    Nearish Arthurs Pass township, there is a very easy walk you can do to a waterfall called The Devil's Punchbowl. It is a very pleasant walk in bushland, and the waterfall at the end is a rewarding site.

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  • World's smallest post office?

    In Maruia, we saw this little shack, which was a fully operational post-office (albeit open only certain times of the day!)

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South Island Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of South Island off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for South Island sightseeing.
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