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New Zealand - South Island - Things to do

The South Island is the ultimate playground for outdoor-minded travellers. The rugged ranges of the Southern Alps, world-class hiking tracks, and rare wildlife are some of the key features of the 12th largest island in the world. The South Island has just over 1.1 million inhabitants, which is less than the city of Auckland alone.


The South Island generally has warm and sunny summers, but in winter this is the coldest island. Don’t let that hold you back though, for the winter activities are equally enjoyable!


However, summer is the best season for hiking. The South Island hosts most of New Zealand’s Great Walks, multi-day tramps that are praised for the natural spectacles they display. The Kepler Track, Milford Track, and Routeburn Track are among the most astounding, but the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park is distinctive for its many different ecosystems.


Queenstown is the epicentre of tourism on the South Island and is quite a lively place for backpackers. Here, you can enjoy extreme activities such as white water rafting on the Shotover River, and finish the day in style with a bunch of cocktails at the Minus 5° ICE BAR in town. True thrillseekers can opt for The Nevis Bungy jump - at 134 metres the highest jump in New Zealand!


The western part of the South Island is covered with vast mountain ranges, and the activities here are quite astonishing. You can fly over the snowy peaks and icecaps with a Fox Glacier Scenic Flight or a glacier landing at Franz Josef, where you can examine the icy world underneath the surface.


But the epic adventures in the South don’t stop at the snow-covered summits of the Alps! In Wanaka, you can master your rock climbing skills or undertake a memorable skydive in Wanaka from heights up to 15.000 feet. You can also take a cruise in Wanaka or do a half-day kayaking tour on Clutha River.


There are several ways to conveniently get around the South Island. You can purchase a Stray hop-on, hop-off bus pass or the Kiwi Experience bus pass to be flexible with your travel schedule and to be able to stop at the most beloved landmarks and towns!