Luxury holidays to the glaciers and lakes of New Zealand's South Island deliver astonishment and adventure in equal measure. On your adventure, you can hike through stunning forests, cruise magnificent fjords, ski at world-class resorts or admire the natural beauty on show. Whether you’re travelling for romance or with the kids, the possibilities are endless.
From snow-capped pinnacles and shiny glaciers to lush peninsulas and tranquil lakes, New Zealand has some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. The South Island contains much of this ecological wonder as it boasts ten National Parks and numerous UNESCO World Heritage listed sites. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to explore nature at its finest. The eight-mile-long Fox Glacier is a crucial highlight due to its sheer size and unparalleled accessibility - you can walk right up.
Another must-see glacier is Franz Josef Glacier, which once flowed from the mountains to the sea but is now 11 miles inland and only accessible by helicopter. In the Southland region, you’ll find the town of Te Anau which provides a gateway to Fiordland National Park with its stunning glacier fjords and the breathtaking Milford Sound. Travel north to the much-photographed Lake Tekapo which looks powdery blue on bright sunny days and nearby Lake Pukaki in the shadows of New Zealand's tallest mountain Mt Cook.
There isn't a wrong time to visit the glaciers and lakes of New Zealand. High season is December to February when warm temperatures and sunny days allow for endless outdoor exploration. The shoulder seasons between March and April and September and November also provide pleasant weather but with fewer crowds.
Even during the colder months of May to August, the South Island provides plenty of wintertime wonderment. Near Queensland are some excellent ski mountains and New Zealand has plenty of other outdoor snow-dependent activities.
Luxury hotels in New Zealand offer some of the nation’s most exceptional dishes and exquisite local wine. Home-grown ingredients such as lamb, seafood like green-lipped mussels and venison often take centre stage. There’s plenty of locally-sourced produce with vegetarian and vegan options also in abundance.
Make sure to pair your meal with exceptional local wines. On the South Island, cool climate varieties such as sauvignon blanc and pinot noir thrive thanks to the near-perfect conditions. It's also worth visiting one of New Zealand's world-class vineyards.