South Island, one of New Zealand’s two main islands, attracts visitors from across the globe for its stunning landscape. Here you’ll find snow-capped mountains with excellent winter skiing, vast stretches of sublime forests, and breathtaking fjords. Whether you’re swimming with dolphins or taking part in a traditional hangi, a luxury holiday to South Island is the adventure of a lifetime.
Located on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch is the island’s largest city. Named after an Oxford University building, it’s not surprising that this town is renowned for its English heritage, so you’ll find flat-bottom punts floating along the Avon River, and plenty of fish and chip shops. Most of the downtown buildings are currently under reconstruction following the 2011 earthquake but don’t let this deter you, as Christchurch is a fantastic jumping off point for exploring the rest of the island.
Travel southwest to Queenstown, a city surrounded by nature. Queenstown sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and at the base of the Southern Alps, making it the adventure capital of the world. You can partake in New Zealand’s Great Walks, ski in The Remarkables, or participate in any number of thrilling activities. If adventure sport isn’t your cup of tea, you can visit outstanding vineyards or historic mining villages. Three hours further south is the Fiordland National Park, home to the glacier-carved fjords of Doubtful and Milford Sounds. You can boat through these stunning fjords, hike through lakeside beech forests, or discover epic waterfalls. You can base yourself in the quaint town of Te Anau on the shores of Lake Te Anau, which also offers views of some of South Island’s most beautiful scenery.
Due to its location in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand’s summer ranges from November to March while winter ranges from May to September. In summer, temperatures remain in the low 20s and there’s plenty of sunshine. In winter, temperatures fall to 0 degrees Celsius.
Don't let the cold weather of winter put you off though, as The Remarkable mountain range, outside of Queenstown, boasts world-renowned ski resorts. Regardless of when you visit, South Island is a fantastic year-round luxury holiday destination.
At your luxury South Island hotel, you can try contemporary New Zealand and traditional Maori dishes, such as trying a hangi meal, or indulging in a slice of pavlova. You can also enjoy the local produce, such as green-lipped mussels and kina (sea urchins), as well as New Zealand lamb and artisanal cheeses.
The Marlborough region, on the northeast shores of South Island, is home to some of the world’s best wine. Favourite wine varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
British nationals do not require a visa to travel to New Zealand for visits of up to six months. For more information about visas and general travel advice go to GOV.UK.