South Island New Zealand

New Zealand – South Island

Often referred to as the ‘Mainland’ the South Island of New Zealand is slightly larger than the North even though it has a lower populus. Also known as Te Wai Pounamu in Maori, the Island is home to Christchurch, Dunedin Queenstown and Milford Sound.

The South Island is also famous for its amazing ski mountains and ski season. The Otago region is home to the greatest mountains of the country including Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables. At the foot of the mountains are the homely and cosy towns Queenstown and Wanaka. Queenstown is an international resort town built around the beautiful Lake Wakatipu with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Known for its commerce oriented tourism, it’s popular for adventure and ski tourism. Wanaka is also a very popular resort town and offers adventure and attractions in both winter and summer.

The South Island also houses one of the worlds top travel destinations; Milford Sound. Milford is a long inlet with surrounding mountains creating a valley and breathtaking landscapes. Tourists and locals have the opportunity to go on cruises, boat rides, go canoeing, go snorkelling in parts and participate in other water sports.  With over half a million visitors a year, the supernatural and extraordinary scenery is definitely New Zealand’s most popular tourist location.

Dunedin is the historical town just under Christchurch which offers wild and charming encounters for anyone who visits but is just a small piece of the Island compared to the huge culture and impact of Christchurch. Filled with rivers, mountains and lakes, Christchurch and the surrounding are of Canterbury will captivate and mesmerize you. With hundreds of attractions for just about anyone from families, to tourists, to locals there’s something new for everyone, everyday.

Just like the North Island, rugby is the more popular sport for locals with the Crusaders competing in the Super 14 and the Canterbury Rugby team representing New Zealand. The Island has also been host to the Commonwealth Games, Netball World Championship, and Women’s Cricket World Cup over the decades.

With so much to offer at the bottom of the world, the South Island of New Zealand can amaze and astound you with how much it can offer anyone as a tourist or a local. With a huge agricultural economy supporting its growth in tourism it houses great attractions and activities from the young to the old, the locals to the backpackers.

New Zealand South Island

New Zealands South Island, offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in not only the whole of New Zealand but all of the world.

With a total residential population of 967,000 people and an Area of 151,215 square kilometers or 58,093 square miles, the South Island offers Mountains, Rainforests, Glaciers, Beautiful beaches and lively cities with lots of history. It is definitely a place you want to visit.

The South Island was first settled by the Maori's (Indigenous New Zealanders) but is now home to different cultures as people from all over the world are now calling the South Island home. It has since been found that the South Island of New Zealand is the 12th largest Island in the world.

With such a big island there is alot to be seen. The main regions are:

Nelson - Offers great beaches and National Parks


West Coast - Offers Glaciers, Rivers and Rainforests

Christchurch - "The Garden City", This is also the largest city on the South Island


Aoraki/Mount Cook - Part of the Southern Alps Mountain Ranges and the highest point at 3754 meters above sea level.

Queenstown - 'Adventure Capital of the World'

Wanaka - Second only to Queenstown

Otago - Offers dramatic landscape

Dunedin - Oldest city in New Zealand

Fiordland - Listed as World Heritage and the Sightseeing and Walking capital of the world

Southland - Most southern part of the island

Stewart Island - This island is 75 kilometers long and 45 kilometers wide.

Some of the best spots to visit whilst staying on the South Island are Mount Cook, Queenstown, Dunedin, Franz and Josef Glaciers and the Penguin colonies. Also worth a visit is Fiordland and Kaikoura which is half way between Christchurch and Picton on the east coast of the island here you can go whale watching, swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling with the seals or walk the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.

Of course while your there don't forget to find out more about the Maori culture.

South Island

There are seven local government regions covering the South Island and all its adjacent islands and territorial waters. Four are governed by an elected regional council while three are governed by territorial authorities. South Island is the larger Island where North is much more populous South Island is often called The Mainland, the first Europeans that discovered the South Island was the Dutch explorer Able Tasman who arrived in Heemskerck and Zeehaen. Today the South Island economy is strongly focused on tourism and primary industries like agriculture, with other industry group like mining, construction, manufacturing, energy supply, community services, health and education with three large hydroelectric schemes which are Waitaki, Clutha and Manpour. Tourism being a huge export earner for the South Island with most popular activities such as skiing, sightseeing, adventure tourism with its highest peak in the Southern Alps and six Forest Parks in the South Island.

Major city’s of South Island;


West Coast

Tasman – with diverse landscape from large mountainous areas to valleys and plains, sliced by such major rivers as the Buller River, Motueka, Aorere, Takaka and Wairoa River with towns like Richmond, Motueka, Collingwood, Takaka, brightwater, Murchison, Mapua with lush bush, bird life and goldent beaches that is
Richmond is the service centre for the fertile Waimea Plains, with attractions such as beaches, arts and crafts, wineries, and the Nelson Lakes and Able Tasman. Richmond lies outside the boundaries of Nelson City with two unitary authorities co-operate for tourism and marketing purposes.

Marlborough - being both a region and a district, with Marlborough Sounds which are extensive network of sea drowned valleys with marine farming especially salmon and mussel also being known for Sauvignon blanc wine.

Nelson – being the centre for arts, crafts, museums, and parks being surrounded by mountains on three sides with Tasman Bay on the other and the region is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi Natioanl Park and lakes being the centre for both eco tourism and adventure tourism with high reputation among caving enthusiasts where you can find largest and deepest explored caverns in the southern hemisphere it also has retained many Victorian buildings in its historic centre where a whole street being designated as having heritage value known as the South Street.

West coast – its principal towns are Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika, it reaches form Kahurangi Point in the north to Awarua Point in the South with a distance of 600 km, with much of the region being rugged although there are coastal plains around which mush of the population resides with wild coastlines, mountains, native bush which makes it very scenic and pictures and it is a popular spot for tourists. Its also famous for being the only New Zealand nesting place of the rare
White Heron/Kotuku.

Canterbury – mainly composed of Canterbury Plains and surrounding mountains with main city Christchurch which is the largest city in South Island and the second largest urban area with agricultural industry being the economic core.
Christchurch has leading agribusinesses industry’s base witch include malting seed development and dressing, small biotechnology and wool and meat processing with thriving wine industry, olive production and processing. With number of tertiary education institutions that have campuses in Christchurch or in the surrounding areas and a history of involvement in the Antarctic exploration where Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the Italian and United States Antarctic programs with museum, visitor centre focused upon current Antarctic activities. Visitor attractions include such as the Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park, Mona Vale, International Antarctic Centre and many more. Many University’s play important role in supplying staff and research for the technology industries.

Otago - Situated South of the South Island and being the countrys second largest region with major centres of what is now the Otago Region of the old province include Dunedin being the principal city, Oamaru, Balclutha, Alexandra, and major tourist centres such as Queenstown and Wanaka.

Dunedin being second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand which stands on the hills and valleys surrounding the head of Otago Harbour which are the remains of an extinct volcano, it has many notable buildings and landmarks such as Dunedin Railway Station, Larnach Castel with many museums art galleries and libraries which are very popular with tourists.

Queenstown is known for its snow sports, skiing, with four mountain ski fields such as Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone with a reputation as one of New Zealand’s wine and cuisine centres with many more tourist attractions.

Southland – Its New Zealand’s southernmost region with two principal urban settlements which are the city of Invercargill and the town of Gore. Its home to Fiordland National Park and includes Stewart Island with tourism being the major factor of the Southland economy.

Invercargill being the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand and one of the southernmost cities in the World witch makes it very beautiful and unique.