South Island Travel Guide

  • Queenstown
    by shavy
  • Alpine track
    Alpine track
    by kiwi
  • Sunrise at Kepler
    Sunrise at Kepler
    by kiwi

South Island Highlights

  • Pro
    DSwede profile photo

    DSwede says…

     A nature lover's dream, every type of terrain exists in easy reach. 

  • Con
    amandajayne81 profile photo

    amandajayne81 says…

     The NZ/Aus rivalry and the lack of cheap shopping! 

  • In a nutshell
    kiwi profile photo

    kiwi says…

     You haven't seen New Zealand unless you visit the South. 

Map of South Island




West Coast




See all 1247 Christchurch Tips


See all 647 Queenstown Tips


See all 340 Dunedin Tips
  • The Palms

    Dunedin Restaurants

    The Palms Restaurant is set in a older style building,looking out at the Queens Garden. We booked in for my daughter's 18th birthday and ate the most delicious food. The presentation, taste,quantity and staff are to be recommended. This is a 5star plus restaurant in Dunedin. I'd recommend you try here and won't be disappointed. I tried the NZ Lamb....

  • 858 George Street

    Dunedin Hotels

    We spent 3 nights staying here. The two rooms we had (1 twin and 1 double) were spacious,...

  • 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...


Milford Sound

See all 206 Milford Sound Tips
  • On the way to Milford

    Milford Sound Things to Do

    Heading to the Fjord there's a lot of nice place to see, going with your own vehicle is much easier and stop anytime you want

  • Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

    Milford Sound Things to Do

    The journey to Milford Sound is just as spectacular as the destination itself, Unforgettable journey the most beautiful place on earth! the cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, the mirror lake. It was very cold during our visit to Milford.We overnight in Te Anau, drove to Milford early in the morning, there's a lot to see on the way...

  • The Chasm

    Milford Sound Things to Do

    The Chasm is a natural rock feature caused by the waters of the Cleddau river rushing over the rocks. The force is such as to cut holes in the rock to create a waterfall into a huge chasm.The Chasm is reached by a 20 minute easy walk from the car park through temperate rainforest. Footbridges over the river let you see the force of the water close...



See all 207 Kaikoura Tips


See all 248 Akaroa Tips


See all 116 Lyttelton Tips
  • Historic Town Walk is a thing of the...

    Lyttelton Things to Do

    Update 2013You can still walk the streets of Lyttelton and pass the sites I had described in the tip below - but instead of the beautiful historic buildings you will find mostly empty sites. Nearly all big old buildings have been demolished in the meantime. One exception: at the site of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Winchester Street you will...

  • No more time-check at the Timeball...

    Lyttelton Things to Do

    Update April 2011 - Update 2013Unfortunately the Timeball Station that had just been renovated was terribly damaged in the 22 February 2011 earthquake and even worse in June 2011. So instead of being dismantled and restored at some point, the beautiful mini-castle-like building was demolished. However, efforts are being made to fund the...

  • The lost beauty of the Harbour Lights

    Lyttelton Things to Do

    Update 2013The Harbour Lights Theatre has been one of the historic buildings that have been demolished soon after the February 2011 earthquake. All you can see there right now is an empty space :-( Although it sits intriguingly on busy London Street you cannot just visit or have a coffee at the Harbour Light Theatre - although it is a licensed...


Arthur's Pass National Park

  • 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...

  • The road from Arthur's Pass to the West

    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. ORTake the turn to the right into Lake Brunner Road which takes you past picturesque Lake...

  • Otira Viaduct Lookout

    Arthur's Pass National Park Things to Do

    After leaving Arhtur's Pass township traveling west there is a lookout on the left. From here you can get a great view of the Otira Gorge and the new viaduct. What an amazing piece of engineering. It takes much time off the journey for big trucks and is much safer.The lookout is also a favourite haunt of the cheeky mountain parrot - the Kea. He...



See all 53 Timaru Tips
  • Visit the Aigantighe Art Gallery

    Timaru Things to Do

    For a start you would surely be interested to know how to pronounce Aigantighe, am I right?Well, it is: “Egg and Tie”.The word is Scottish Gaelic and means: at home.The Scottish name of this Edwardian house refers to the first owners who were born in Scotland and made Timaru their new home. Aigantighe was built in 1908 as the retirement home of...

  • Ashley Motor Lodge

    Timaru Hotels

    95-99 King Street, Timaru, New Zealand

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

  • The Aviary

    Timaru Things to Do

    Down in the park area, adjacent to the botanical gardens is the Timaru Aviary.It is a small domed enclosure with many exotic birds. There may be some local New Zealand birds, but most are imported. There are parrots, wood birds, ducks, egrets, etc.The fenced enclosure has some segregated cages to isolate some birds, yet many are free flying in the...



See all 76 Hokitika Tips
  • Glass Art

    Hokitika Shopping

    The shop features an area where the art of glass blowing/design is displayed. This is a local craft and beautiful pieces range from souvenir nick nacks to large home design items.I bought a little hand crafted Penguin.Check the link below for a list of items available and their prices. My little penguin cost me ~ $45 NZ

  • Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

    Hokitika Hotels

    State Highway 6, 30 km north of Haast, Lake Moeraki, South Island, 7842, New Zealand

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Beautiful works of art

    Hokitika Shopping

    I didn't buy my Pounamu in Hokitika but it was made by a Hokitika carver.There are a few shops in the town but I bought some earrings for my sister from the Mâori Heritage Centre. Nephrite Jade, New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu - all names for a beautiful stone; mainly shades of green but it also is found in other colours from almost black,...



See all 79 Picton Tips
  • Edwin Fox Maritime Center

    Picton Things to Do

    From their website: The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre is open every day from 8.45am to 5pm (in the Summer until 6:30) at Dunbar Wharf, which is only a two minute walk along the foreshore from the Cook Strait Ferry terminal in Picton. Thousands of people visit the museum and the ship each year in its lovely setting in the Queen Charlotte Sound. To view...

  • Tourist Court Motels

    Picton Hotels

    I did not stay here, but it's right in the centre of Picton. Not sure how the cost compares to other...

  • Queen Charlotte Drive - Picton to...

    Picton Off The Beaten Path

    When we left the ferry at Picton we were then heading towards the town of Nelson.This meant we were able to take the scenic route named Queen Charlotte Drive.This is a narrow and twisty road which runs between Picton and Havelock,a distance of about 40 km.The drive is well worth while,taking you through native forests ,several secluded bays and...



See all 48 Invercargill Tips

    Invercargill Off The Beaten Path

    The Purakaunui Falls are a cascading multi-tiered waterfall on the Purakaunui River, located in a small reserve of mixed podocarp and beech forest. A 10 minute walk on an excellent track takes you to the falls.The Purakaunui Falls car park has a picnic area with toilets.Another beautiful one, tumbling 20 metres over three distinct tiers.LocationThe...

  • Surrey Court Motel

    Invercargill Hotels

    Was the best motel I have stayed in for such a long time. Friendly hosts, the unit was so clean and...


    Invercargill Off The Beaten Path

    Horseshoe Waterfalls, and once again you pass through Podocarp forest to see these small, 10metre falls. These falls are on the same track as to Matai Falls, when you reach a junction, take the path to the right and walk (mostly uphill) for another 2 minutes to view Horseshoe Falls.From Owaka, continue driving South on the Papatowai Highway for...


Franz Josef Glacier

  • Service zero

    Franz Josef Glacier Restaurants

    Could not try the food. Waited 15 minutes approached a staff member but was completely ignored. Approached second staff member same thing, walked out feeling disgusted as the restaurant wasn't even busy. Compared to Little India at Nelson was completely the opposite, excellent food and service, highly recommended. Couldn't try any dishes

  • Te Waonui Forest Retreat

    Franz Josef Glacier Hotels

    State Highwy 6, Franz Josef, New Zealand

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Franz Josef Glaciers

    Franz Josef Glacier Things to Do

    The Franz Josef Glaciers and Fox Glacier are easily accessible by car.You could do a half day of full day hiking trip to Franz Josef Glacier by joining a guided tour.There are many our agents that you could sign up with in town.The easiest walk will be a 20 mins return trip to the Sentinel Rock Walk.Grab hold of the map at the town centre and there...



See all 117 Wanaka Tips
  • Puzzeling world

    Wanaka Things to Do

    Extremely recommended, a great fun for adults and kids. also a great dear of toys to remember the wonderful experience.NZ$17 per adult. kids NZ$11.

  • The Moorings

    Wanaka Hotels

    Brilliantly positioned opposite the lakefront right near the heart of the town, the Moorings contain...

  • Puzzling World will leave you dizzy

    Wanaka Things to Do

    Wanaka is the site of Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World, which is a "don't miss" for anyone who enjoys visual, spatial, or other types of puzzles. The two main attractions here are the Great Maze, a labyrinth which most people can “solve” in about 90 minutes, and four “illusion rooms” with holograms, strange follow-you-everywhere faces, a room...



See all 50 Oamaru Tips
  • 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...

  • Highfield Mews, Oamaru

    Oamaru Hotels

    244 Thames Street, Oamaru, 9400, New Zealand

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Gently visit the 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...


Top South Island Hotels

Queenstown Hotels
647 Reviews - 1719 Photos
Dunedin Hotels
340 Reviews - 803 Photos
Christchurch Hotels
1247 Reviews - 2635 Photos
Hanmer Springs Hotels
44 Reviews - 101 Photos
Greymouth Hotels
37 Reviews - 86 Photos
Picton Hotels
79 Reviews - 201 Photos
Nelson Hotels
92 Reviews - 182 Photos
Invercargill Hotels
48 Reviews - 58 Photos
Timaru Hotels
53 Reviews - 140 Photos
Cashmere Hills Hotels
See nearby hotels
Kaikoura Hotels
207 Reviews - 687 Photos
Fox Glacier Hotels
83 Reviews - 368 Photos
Akaroa Hotels
248 Reviews - 595 Photos
Wanaka Hotels
117 Reviews - 373 Photos
Te Anau Hotels
109 Reviews - 317 Photos

Instant Answers: South Island

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

94 travelers online now


South Island

Plan a South Island vacation with reviews, tips and photos posted by real travelers and South Island locals