South Island

Planning a trip to the South Island of New Zealand? We got you covered! After spending so many months exploring this amazing part of the country, we’ve written extensive guides about all our favorite places. This is where you can find all the best New Zealand South Island travel tips, guides, and more before your own journey.

Brigitte has fond memories of New Zealand as she lived there for a short period with her family when she was younger. For this reason, it was one place we couldn’t wait to travel together! 

We spent 9 magical months in New Zealand, living in both long term rentals and out of a campervan. Of course we hit the big city of Christchurch, and explored Auckland and Wellington on the North Island. Yet, our most memorable experiences were getting out into nature.

One of our favorite destinations from this New Zealand South Island trip was Queenstown. This has become known as the adventure capital of the world, and it truly lives up to the hype!

We actually spent an entire month here and used it as our base for outdoor activities. Some highlights were hiking Ben Lomond, biking the Frankton Track, and wine tasting in Central Otago. Be sure to try the famous Fergburger and bakery on your own visit!

While having monthly rentals was such a dream, the real fun started for us when we got our Jucy Campervan. We used this to see both the North and New Zealand South Island, freedom camping our way around the country. 

A few of our favorite stops included Lake Tekapo, Abel Tasman National Park, and the small town of Akaroa. We even made it Milford Sound to see the stunning waterfalls by boat.

Check out all our New Zealand South Island guides for tips, and to learn all about our own experiences. We’re overdue for a trip back to NZ, so stay tuned!

New Zealand South Island Travel Tips

Money: The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) is used throughout the country.

Location: South Island New Zealand is located in the South Pacific Ocean in southern Polynesia. The North Island can be reached with a quick flight, or a ferry ride across the Cook Strait.

Language: English is the official language of New Zealand. However, the native Maori language is still spoken in some parts.

Seasons: If you’re coming from the United States or Europe, know that New Zealand South Island seasons are in reverse! Summer stretches from December to March, while winter goes from June to August. The shoulder season can be a great time to go before the peak summer months of tourism.

What to Eat & Drink: The food in New Zealand is so delicious! It features a great mix of seafood, hearty meat dishes, and bakery treats. You’ll find the classic British staples like fish n’ chips, but there’s so much more to this unique cuisine. Be sure to try the famous New Zealand lamb on your visit!

10 Important Things Know Before Renting a Car in Queenstown NZ
10 Easy & Helpful Tips For Traveling in New Zealand
South Island New Zealand Itinerary: 4 Amazing One Week Routes
Best Queenstown Restaurants: The Ultimate Food Lovers Day
Day Trip from Queenstown to Arrowtown NZ (The Gold Mining Village)
Best New Zealand Food & Drinks: 27 Delicious Things to Try
18 Fun Things to do in Queenstown On Your First Visit
5 Experiences You Can’t Miss in Lake Tekapo New Zealand
15 Best Tips to Know Before Freedom Camping in New Zealand
Wellington to Picton Ferry: 6 Tips for Crossing the Cook Strait
Queenstown Hill: Fun Hike to the Best View of the Remarkables
Hanmer Springs: Best Spa Town & Hot Pools on the South Island
7 Tips for Visiting Milford Sound & How to Pick the Best Cruise
How to Visit Tunnel Beach in Dunedin (Don’t Miss This Walk!)
Hooker Valley Track: Guide to the Fun & Easy Mt Cook Walkway
10 Helpful Tips For Your First Visit to Mount Cook National Park
6 Can’t Miss Things to do in Picton New Zealand
25 Beautiful New Zealand Beaches on the North & South Island
Akaroa New Zealand: How to Visit the Fun French Seaside Village
Banks Peninsula: The Most Quintessential New Zealand Drive