South Island Things to Do

  • Akaroa Harbor
    Akaroa Harbor
    by kris-t
  • Skyline Gondola and Restaurant
    by ari1974
  • Queenstown Gardens
    by robertgaz

South Island Things to Do

  • City Center

    Christchurch Things to Do

    A good way of seeing Christchurch is to use the classic 1960's open top bus.You have a choice of a 1 hour or a 3 hour tour.The tour comes with an excellent commentary. We found the tour quite emotional as the amount of damage and destruction was far worse than we realised.However, the New Zealand people have big plans for Christchurch and in time...

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  • Skyline Gondola and Restaurant

    Queenstown Things to Do

    For the most spectacular view of Queenstown, visit the Skyline Gondola. This takes you to Bob's Peak, offering a panoramic vista over the entire town and its environs. This is the best thing to see if you have only a very short time in Queenstown, and want to make the most of it. In addition to the view, there is a restaurant (which I didn't...

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  • Castle Hill

    Arthur's Pass National Park Things to Do

    Look familiar? Castle Hill was the site of the battle scens in the movie 'Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe'. It is in a privately owned station on the road from Christchurch across Arthur's Pass. It is a popular spot for 'bouldering' - climging over the huge limestone boulders. Limestone from this region was used in the...

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  • Yellow-Eyed Penguins

    Oamaru Things to Do

    Bushy beach is a quiet are along Oamaru coast, where you are likely to see yellow eyed penguins. Differently from the little blue penguins, yellow eyed are very shy, they don't like to see or hear humans. The beach is visible from high above, bringing a pair of binoculars and/or camera zooms is a very good idea! We were lucky enough to see one...

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  • Canterbury

    South Island Things to Do

    There are many reasons why you may consider adding Arthur's Pass National Park to your itinerary. For some, it makes a great coffee break between Christchurch and the West Coast of the South Island. For others, there is a natural beauty about it. There are even a few adrenaline challenged people who need to hike for days on end throughout the...

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  • International Antarctic Centre

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The Snow Storm room at the International Antarctic Centre is a well sealed safe environment with real snow. The temperature is set at -4C but at pre-determined times during the day a 'storm' occurs with thunder and lightning and 40kph winds, dropping the temperature to -18C. Visitors are provided with a warm jacket and overshoes. A great...

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  • Bungy Jumping

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Even if you don't fancy to make a bungy jump, or if you have little time, try to stop here at the new Bungy Centre and have a look around. This is newly rebuilt and nestled into the surrounding rock, a great amount of care has been taken to blend in with the look of the area. There is a very nice café and facilities including an interactive Bungy...

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  • The Arthur's Pass Road

    Arthur's Pass National Park Things to Do

    On leaving Arthur's Pass State Highway 73 runs through Otira Gorge over the Otira Viaduct. After climbing down from the mountains you have a choice. Follow SH 73 along the Taramakau River to Kamara Junction and the intersection with SH 6 along the West coast. OR Take the turn to the right into Lake Brunner Road which takes you past picturesque...

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  • Historic town

    Oamaru Things to Do

    If you have the time, go for a walk around the "Original Commercial area of Oamaru." This area is known as.... New Zealand's most complete Victorian Streetscape. with buildings dating from the 1870's to 1890's as they were in the past. Most of them are built out of the local limestone. This area is being restored, and although when we walked...

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  • West Coast

    South Island Things to Do

    Once again we didn't take this tour but at both these villages and also on 'the other side' of Mt. Cook there are helicopter lines that run flights that range from 20 minutes to about an hour (about 200 NZD to well the sky is the limit really). The companys are up and down the main streets of both the villages. I have attached the website of one...

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  • The Christchurch botanical gardens

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Hagley Park, created in 1855, is the largest open space in Christchurch. It was named after the country estate of Lord Lyttleton and is famous for its open spaces. It is the home of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to be found on the banks of the Avon River which flows through the park. The open spaces serve a number of purposes including netball...

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  • Jet Boating

    Queenstown Things to Do

    The jetboats in Queenstown are quite an adventure. There are now 3 options available. The fastest, thrill seeking option is the Shotover Jet. It departs/docks at their pier at Jack's Point. An easy journey via car or the local bus. This is the shortest yet fastest option with donuts and wall-hanging curves. The other two options leave from the...

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  • Arthur's Pass Village

    Arthur's Pass National Park Things to Do

    I found this sign (I collect photos of funny or interesting signs from around the world) in the Parking lot of Arthurs' Pass, where our cruise bus was parked for our excursion into the mountains. It reads---"Frosty Boy, Often Licked-Never Beaten"

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  • Blue Penguin Colony

    Oamaru Things to Do

    A big blue penguin colony settled down in Oamaru, giving you a unique opportunity to observe these little lovely animals from very close. Penguins are used to come back from the seaside in the evening, and they come all at the same time, like little rockets flying out of the water! We attended an Evening Viewing at the Blue Penguin Colony camp, and...

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  • Southland

    South Island Things to Do

    To tell you that you should visit Milford Sound if you travel in New Zealand would be like carrying coal to Newcastle. Of course you have to go there if you have enough time and are in the area. Well, probably not if you are from Norway! You have fiords as fanstastic as Milford Sound and even better. To me, Milford Sound was even the trigger for...

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  • Christchurch Gondola

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The Gondola had been closed after the earthquake on 22 February 2011 - not because of structural damage but because of flooding at the summit station. Now everything is ok again, some pillars have been made safe in order to avoid potential rockfall damage. Grand re-opening on 25 March 2013!!! Get up there as you will not get anywhere near the place...

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  • Kiwi & Birdlife Park.

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Due to its eons upon eons of isolation from the rest of the world, New Zealand has become home to exotic bird species which exist nowhere else. Many are flightless, since before humans they had no real predators to face. People have driven some to extinction--such as the Moa, a huge flightless bird that was extinct before the arrival of the...

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  • Tramping in Arthur's Pass NP

    Arthur's Pass National Park Things to Do

    It rained on our Arthur's Pass hike maybe half the time, but we still got some rays coming through, and hey, when you are there from USA only for the day, you take what you can get and be happy! My son and I had pretty much won a 2 week trip to Australia/NZ and this was part of our cruise excursions....Wonderful clean air, waterfall views, we even...

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  • Moeraki Boulders

    Oamaru Things to Do

    The coast and specially the boulders make a very nice day trip (or if you are on the way from/to Dundin a great stopping place) out of Oamaru (SH1, 30 km south of Oamaru). The little fishing village of Moeraki got famous due to the spherical boulders along the coast. 3 km out of the village (just follow the signs) is a campsite and parking spot...

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  • Otago

    South Island Things to Do

    Dunedin wears its Scottish heritage proudly. Founded by Scots settlers who found sufficient similarity between their new home and the old to name the new settlement with the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh, they brought with them not only their sheep, but their Scottish high regard for the importance of education - the country's first university was...

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  • Punting the Avon River

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The tours from the Antigua Boatsheds – called Punting in the Park – are not the only option for such guided boat trips on the Avon. Other tours start at the Worcester Boulevard bridge (beside the badly damaged and heavily secured red-brick building of Our City-O-Tautahi, about half-way between Cathedral Square and the Art Gallery). You have to...

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  • Lake Wakatipu

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Lake Wakatipu is a 'Z' shaped inland lake. It is New Zealand's longest lake at 80km and also one of its deepest. It is fed by the Dart River at Glenorchy in the north and drained by the Kawarau River from the Frankton Arm near Queenstown. Kingston lies at the southern end. The lake is famous for its scenery and is surrounded by many mountains the...

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  • SEAFARER'S MEMORIAL LOOKOUT

    Oamaru Things to Do

    A memorial to all seafarers who sailed from the Port of Oamaru and lost their lives at sea is the lookout. From here, you get fantastic views of Oamaru and the bay, it is well worth coming to, a must see here!

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  • Marlborough

    South Island Things to Do

    You cannot do a lot there but it is a spectacular view that you should not miss. In nice weather the colour of Lake Grassmere, about 20km south of Blenheim, is absolutely shocking pink, well, not just a bit surreal. This lake is the major source of New Zealand's salt production. As it does not rain a lot in this sunny region this low-level lake...

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  • Canterbury Museum

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Update 02 July 2012 - Museum reopened Parts of Canterbury Museum have reopened. See below why it was closed in April. The Museum has reopened areas of the building that are well above the new building code. These are the Mountfort Gallery (decorative arts and costume) and Maori galleries, as well as the Early European Settlement display, the...

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  • TSS Earnslaw

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Whilst walking around Queenstown, we came across the TSS Earnslaw in dock. What a lovely looking Steamship she was, so on inquiring about the price and where she went, we decided it would be a nice relaxing way to spend some time! The 1 ½ hour cruise on the TSS Earnslaw gave us some different views of Queenstown and the alpine scenery from the...

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  • Sumner

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Earthquake update June 2010 Sumner has been hard hit by the February earthquake, and again on 13 June. The areas on top and at the bottom of the cliffs have either crumbled, with a house finally crashing down the cliff, or have been hit by huge rocks. Two or three people died in their houses in February. However, an incredible lot of cafés,...

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  • Milford Sound

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Milford Sound or Piopiotahi is actually a fjord (as is Doubtful Sound and all the others in Fiordland National Park). It is one of the world's top travel destinations and has been called by Rudyard Kipling the eigth Wonder of the World. Here mountains spring directly from the sea. They are covered by temperate rainforest and are the source of many...

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  • ARTS CENTER

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Update May 2011 Some of the crafts and food stalls of the Arts Centre Market have shifted to the Ferrymead Heritage Park after the 22 February 2011 earthquake, as the Arts Centre remains cordoned off. For that reason admission to the Ferrymead Heritage Park is free on weekends. You can still walk along the fences that have been erected around the...

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  • The Remarkables

    Queenstown Things to Do

    The Remarkable range runs alongside the southern most arm of Lake Wakatipu. The mountains seem to rise directly from the lake when viewed from Queenstown. The range is dominated by Double Cone with the highest point being Single Cone. The range gained its name (it is told) because it runs almost exactly North to South. Another, more poetic, reason...

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  • Port Hills

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Treat yourself to a rewarding day of sightseeing! The Port Hills is one of Christchurch's most revered landscapes, with tussock slopes and rocky outcrops rising in stark contrast to the flat Canterbury plains. There are no less than 39 reserves in the Port Hills! Start at the stunning and historic restaurant, the Sign of the Takahe, at 200...

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  • Walter Peak

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Walter peak station we reached on the TSS Earnslaw. The Homestead is large and beautiful, with just as nice gardens to match! Upon arrival at the Colonel's Homestead, Morning or Afternoon tea awaits....scones and pikelets topped with jam and cream as well as tea and coffee. Here, for all those city dwellers, is a chance to see the clever Sheep...

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  • Banks Peninsula

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Akaroa is 84km by road from Christchurch and is at the end of State Highway 75. It has a population of about 600 but in peak tourist time this can rise to about 7,000. The town sits on a large sheltered harbour and is surrounded by the remains of an ancient volcano. While settled by the British, Akaroa’s claim to fame is its French history. In...

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  • Helicopter Flights

    Queenstown Things to Do

    It's one thing to look at glaciers from the ground, it's another thing to stand on them. Climbing on them is for another tip. The good people at Glacier Southern Lakes will take you on scenic flights around Queenstown. They have reasonable pricing and good pilots. They have private and commercial packages for various location+ Hours: 8:00 am –...

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  • Orana Wildlife Park

    Christchurch Things to Do

    Orana Park gives more a zoo feeling than the cosy and more intimate wildlife park The Willowbank. This is not only due to the many exotic animals like lions, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs and Sumatran tigers they have there in huge enclosures, and wide open spaces. Although Orana Park is also renowned for its breeding programmes of rare New...

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  • Skyline Luge

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Once your helicopter has landed you will alight at the Skyline Complex and get ready for your 5 Luge rides. The Skyline Luge is an 800m, winding track set high above Queenstown, situated behind the Skyline Complex. Two-seater chairlifts take riders and luge carts to the starting point. A walking track also accesses the top of the luge with...

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  • New Art Gallery

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The new Art Gallery was opened in 2003 and is a great addition to Christchurch. It has wonderful curving glass facades and spectacular outdoor sculpture. The Gallery has one of the largest permanent collections in New Zealand. The collection totals over 5,500 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and crafts emphasizes local work. There are...

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  • Queenstown Gardens

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Queenstown Botanical Gardens are located next to the CBD on a headland jutting out into Lake Wakatipu. As with gardens world wide they are a popular place to enjoy a picnic lunch, a leisurely stroll or some more energetic forms of exercise. They are open each day and are pedestrian only. There is plenty of car parking available.

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  • Sign of the Takahe

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The Sign of the Takahe is a roadhouse that was built to provide a rest stop to travellers crossing the Cashmere Hills in the early twentieth century. The building is a fabulous looking structure both inside and out. It was completed in 1949, after work began on it way back in 1908. Today, the building is used as a restaurant and is open in the...

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  • Gold Panning

    Queenstown Things to Do

    well...everyone thought this was waste of our time and money; u do see some beatiful scenery and get to have tea and cookies on a hot sunny hill...only for less than 200NZ (i think); the fun comes from the crazy driving that some of the drivers perform..and u get to scream and fear for your life at some of the dangerous roads. Also u get to stop by...

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  • New Brighton Library

    Christchurch Things to Do

    The library itself is really small, but it's right on the beach and has a great view of the sea with comfy chairs where you can read and listen to music. The Children's section has interactive games and playstations. There's 2 cafes in it, you can have a walk on the pier, or do a 10km beach walk around the South Shore split and come back to where...

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  • Queenstown Mall

    Queenstown Things to Do

    For a small town the mall is a bustling place at night. Restaurants and pubs are open and the tourist crowd is ready to party. It actually was quite busy - I always wait for 'no people' to take my photos

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  • Ferrymead Heritage Park

    Christchurch Things to Do

    This museum was located a little out of town. We took a bus I think to get there. It was like an old transport and technology museum. We got a glimpse of what colonial Christchurch may have been like.

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  • Hiking

    Queenstown Things to Do

    Try to make time to go for a walk around the lakeside in Queenstown. You don't have to walk miles and miles! Go as far as you feel comfortable, enjoy the scenery, sit by the lake at one of the many seats and enjoy! We came across the Statue of the founder of Queenstown near the wharf area. He was William Gilbert Rees [827-1898]who with his wife...

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  • Coronet Peak Ski Resort

    Queenstown Things to Do

    While Coronet Peak is most well known for its ski fields it makes a lovely drive in other times as well. The aspect over Wharehaunui from the main lodge area is amazing and the drive along the range affords some wonderful views.

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South Island Things to Do

Reviews and photos of South Island things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for South Island sightseeing.
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