The South Island of New Zealand boasts some of the best scenic views on the face of the earth. The endless mountains and magnificent stargazing opportunities are truly astounding. Here are 7 of the best places to visit at the South Island of New Zealand!

1. Hooker Valley Track – Mt Cook

Hooker Valley Track, Mt Cook National Park 7999, New Zealand; Hike time: 3 hrs return

An easy 3 hour trek on flat rocky ground with minimal elevation, this trail is a must go. The end reward of the magnificent views of Mount Cook, coupled with the pristine melted iced caps from the very same mountain is astounding. You can even spot chunks of ice blocks in the water.

View of Mount Cook at the end of Hooker Valley track

2. Roys Peak, Wanaka

Peak of Roy’s Peak; Hike time: 6 hours return

A grueling 6 hour return hike with steep elevations, but worth every minute of it once you get to the top. You really can’t get words to describe it. I can name all the adjectives, and it still won’t do it justice. It’s as if you’re in a painting. By far the best views of my New Zealand experience. Be sure to pack some light snacks and sufficient water to endure the long hike, especially on a hot day in summer.

Sit down. Grab a banana. And enjoy the views while you catch your breath

3. Queenstown

Skyline from the top of Queenstown Gondola, Luge Track on the right

No trip to the South Island of NZ is complete without stopping by Queenstown. Take the Gondola up to get spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains. There’s a cafe at the peak which even has halal pizza(upon request), which was convenient for us! And definitely do the luge ride at the peak. We booked ours through klook which included the gondola ride + 5 luge rides($60 NZD per person). Or you can just buy the tickets directly at the ticketing booth located at the foot of the Gondola. Trust me, you definitely want to get the maximum 5 rides. Link is here-

4. Milford Sound

Milford Sound; Drive Time: 5-6 hours from Queenstown

Milford Sound is a magical place where the fiord flows out into the Tasman Sea. Although it is pretty inaccessible, and requires a 5 hour drive from Queenstown, it is thoroughly worth the hassle. I strongly recommend doing a full day kayak or hopping on a cruise to take you around the fiord. If you’re lucky, you can get to see seals and dolphins. We did the former and it was absolutely amazing, and costs $139 NZD/pax

Guided Tour with professional kayaker, with little historic tidbits of the place included

5. Lake Wanaka

163 Ardmore Street, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand

Wanaka is a really nice town to chill and enjoy. A great town to stop by and just catch your breath from the hectic itinerary that you are probably trying to pack into the short vacation leave that you took from your work. Just take a nice walk on the shores of lake Wanaka and try to spot the famous Wanaka Tree that sticks out from the lake.

6. Sign of the Bellbird

Drive time from Christchurch: 30-45 mins

One of the best kept secrets in South Island of New Zealand. The Sign of the Bellbird encompasses an area full of beauty, waiting to be discovered. The trail of the summit road covers many picturesque angles of the scenery. Exploring the route of summit road will bring you many unique 360 degree views of the area.

 Summit Road, Kennedys Bush, Christchurch 7672, New Zealand

7. Nevis Swing

The first of its kind in the world, measuring 300m the world’s biggest swing. This is a must do for thrill seekers. It’s not as scary as bungee jumping or paragliding, but just about has the elements of making your heart pump hard and fast. Plus its just cool to tell people that you’ve done the Nevis Swing. P.S You can do bungee jump and catapult swing shot there as well!Just a heads up, its gonna take up almsot 3/4 of your day. You’ll need to report in to AJ Hackett Meet up point somewhere downtown and they will drive you up to the mountains for the jumps. Find out more here!

Bonus Places

I will end this post with some stunning views that we saw on our way from one place to another, and we just had to get off the car and snap some shots. The exact location will be listed, and if you happen to pass it by through your routes when planning your trip, be sure to check them out!

657 Mount Cook Road, Ben Ohau 7999, New Zealand
Drive route: Twizel-Mt Cook
7532-7529 State Highway 73, Springfield 7580, New Zealand
Drive route: Christchurch – Tekapo
Devils Punchbowl Waterfall, Arthur’s Pass 7875, New Zealand; Hike time: 1 hr return,
Views en-route to the falls

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