Top Things To Do In New Zealand (South Island)

If you’re anything like me, you’re a bit when it comes to planning your activities on your travel journeys. Like, you’ll have some sort of idea but no solid plan so when you arrive it’s straight to Google. “Things to do in…”. So hopefully when you find yourself in the South Island, this little blog post will come up and give you a few ideas!

New Zealand. So little time, so much to do! I loved pretty much everything I did in New Zealand, but it wouldn’t be a very helpful article if I wrote down every single little thing I did, so I’ve managed to whittle it down (slightly) to my very favourites!

This list includes my favourite activities, walks and, of course, food places (it is me after all, food obsessed!) and I hope it helps with your own trip to New Zealand’s South Island!

Walks and Nature

NZ 5Lake Matheson (Fox Glacier)
When it came to visiting the glaciers we decided to go to Fox rather than Franz (mainly because of accommodation availability) and I’m not going to lie, compared to some of the other amazing sights we saw on our travels, it was pretty underwhelming. But I’m glad we went as we then took the short walk around Lake Matheson. I think I found it so amazing because I wasn’t expecting much. Be sure to go on a clear day so you can see beautiful views such as these…

The Catlins
This place is so overlooked by people travelling to New Zealand! Barely even heard of! There’s so much to see here and even though it wasn’t great weather it was still fun! We got to see Dolphins at Curio Bay, discover the Cathedral Caves and clamber up McCleans Falls and get up close and personal with Sea Lions at Cannibal Bay! Where else in the world can you do that?


Sealfie!Geddit? SEALfie?

Tunnel Beach (Dunedin)
Not the kind of beach that sunbathing on, but the kind of beach where you feel like you’ve been transported to Narnia, with high rocks dropping out over the crashing waves and secret tunnels to other parts of the beach! Just be aware, the walk to the beach is downhill, so it’s a pretty steep slog back up to the top! 100% worth it though.

Riwaka Resurgence (Riwaka)
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such crystal clear water. Or jumped in anything as cold! But it had to be done!

Rapaki Track (Christchurch)
A gradual uphill climb with picture perfect views over Christchurch and it’s surrounding Oceans. There’s a further option to get even higher but it’s a bit of a rock scramble – which is my favourite! And you are rewarded at the top with a little bench where you can sit and enjoy the views (and congratulate yourself to making it to the top).


Luge (Queenstown)
Racing down a hill on a go kart is NOT just for children let me tell you that (and beating your boyfriend who always beats you at everything is ALSO very fun)

Bungy Jump (Queenstown)
If you are going to jump of a bridge with a piece of rope tied to your ankle, you may as NZ 3well do it where it al started! Home to one of the highest bungy’s in the world, there is also swings, zip lines and also a smaller bungy that you can do tandem on! I opted for this – no way did I have the guts to jump off myself, If I was going to die, he was going with me. Definitely recommend booking a couple of days in advance as it is really busy all year round!

Hot Pools (Lake Tekapo)
The beautiful Lake Tekepo is becoming a tourist hotspot and it’s no surprise. It’s a beautiful lake with a fun walk to the top of Mount John, but my favourite thing about it was stargazing from the hot pools! Pools reach up to 37 degrees and it’s like stepping in to a really large bath and submerging in to utter bliss.

Kayak and Hike (Abel Tasman)
We did a 1 day experience with Wilson at Abel Tasman National Park and it was so fun! It started with a scenic cruise to the park, then a 2 and half hour kayak followed by a 2 hour walk back (where we discovered some really cool rock pools!) before taking the cruise back. Needless to say it was a full on exhausting day but I loved it!

Milford Sound Cruise
New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction, deep within the Fiordland should be explored one way and one way only. By cruise! But be sure to wrap up warm – it get’s pretty chilly and the likelihood of getting wet is very high! We went on the morning 2 hour cruise with Jucy. The ship captain was incredibly friendly and informative and get’s closer to the sights than all the other boats! Tip: Be sure that you have a full tank of petrol before leaving for Milford from Te Anau, to avoid a very touch and go journey on the way back (like we experienced).
Food Places

Fergburger (Queenstown)
Yes, it totally lived up to the hype! The burger was delicious and worth the wait (though we were lucky to get a short queue!) Life hack though – call in advance or download the app and order there because the queues can get ridiculous! Be sure to try the pies from the Ferg bakery as well! Here’s a pic of me doing what I do best: (eating)


Capers (Dunedin)
Hands down, no exaggeration, the BEST pancakes I’ve ever eaten. Like heaven in my IMG_0858mouth. I don’t think anything is ever going to live up to them – I’m ruined.

Velvet Burger (Dunedin)
What more can I say other than a pretty damn good burger? And so many unusual choices.

IMG_0544Shoreline Cafe (Kaiteritiri / Abel Tasman)
We had a delicious, filling breakfast that morning to get us ready for a day of kayaking! Be sure to get there early as it’s extremely popular.

Saloon Bar (Fox Glacier)
A cute little Saloon style restaurant in the quiet little town of Fox Glacier – unexpectedly in the top 5 of my favourite meals – and that was a month long trip!

A trip like this can be an expensive one, so be sure to check out Grab One before/during your trip! Very much like groupon, it’s full of exclusive deals that can save you a bit of dollar on your trip 🙂

I hope this has helped and you have a bit more of an idea of the places you want to see on your journey! Click here to have a look at the road trip map we took!

Follow me on insta to see more adventures!

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