Oceania Wanderings

Road Tripping New Zealand – South Island

September 23, 2017

My last post about the North Island ended up being a bit of a monster, so here’s part 2 – the South Island!

Starting from Wellington, the ferry from Wellington to Picton will give you some amazing views!  Apparently it can be a pretty brutal journey when there’s been bad weather, but I’ve been lucky every time I’ve done it, and had great weather!

Ferry Crossing


  • Worth a night, especially since the ferry journey is quite long and prone to delays


  • Drink ALL THE WINE!

South Island


  • Stop and see the seals hanging out all along the coast
  • Drive up the hill overlooking Kaikoura for some great views
  • Go on a whale/dolphin watching trip


Hamner Springs:

  • This tiny little town is home to some great hotels and hot springs
  • This was our cute little private hot pool –

Hamner Springs


  • Just about destroyed by the earthquakes, the city is rebuilding with a fun new city centre made of shipping containers



  • Beautiful french-style town, a great drive from Christchurch



  • It’s is SO cold up here!  But you’ll be so amazed by the views of the lake, that you won’t even care!

Lake Tekapo

Mt Cook:

  • There’s not much accommodation here, so we stayed at Twizel, but make sure that you leave enough time to have a good few hours walking around the national park and checking out the glaciers

Mt Cook

Floating Ice


  • See the penguins!
  • Stop off at the Moeraki Boulders on the way to Dunedin

Moeraki Boulders


  • Stuff yourself at the Cadbury’s chocolate factory
  • Have fish and chips at the beach
  • Take a walk around the Chinese Gardens
  • Do a brewery tour at Speight’s
  • Work off all the chocolate and beers by walking up the world’s steepest street

Cadbury Factory

Chocolate Swag


  • Go to the bottom point of the South Island and check out the views

Bluff Point

Te Anau:

  • The gateway to Fiordland, we only stayed here as a jumping off point Milford Sound, but we wished we had stayed longer because it’s such a great little spot!

Lake View

Milford Sound:

  • One of the highlights of the South Island
  • The road is closed a lot because of avalanches, but it’s absolutely worth trying to get there!
  • Do a boat trip through the Fiords

Milford Sound

Milford Sound 2

Milford Sound 3


  • You can easily spend a week here, there is just SO much do to, in summer and in winter
  • One of the best free things to do is walk up the track behind the town, getting amazing views of the whole valley
  • Another great walk is going along the river to Frankton
  • I’m not even going to list all of the adventure stuff you can do here, there’s waaaay too much!


Queenstown Morning


  • Not quite as popular as Queenstown, Wanaka is another skiers spot that is also great in summer as well as winter

Lake Wanaka

Frans Josef:

  • Unfortunately you can’t walk right up to the Fox and Frans Josef glaciers anymore, but if you can afford it, you can do helicopter tours that will take you further up where you can land and trek around on the ice

Frans Josef


  • Also know as the pancake rocks, these are a great little walk to break up the journey north along the coast.
  • Make sure to have some pancakes at the cafe there!

Pancake Rocks


  • Best in summer, this is a gorgeous area to spend a few days.

Abel Tasman


  • More wine tastings!
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