Destination South Island

With spectacular mountains, pristine forests, crystal clear rivers and picturesque lakes, the South Island's stunning landscape and scenery is nature at its best. It's also a place rich in incredible experiences for you to enjoy; from the golden beaches in the north to the rugged coastline of the south - on the ground, in the air, or on the water.

View brochure

Fly into Christchurch Airport

With regular connecting flights via Asia and Australia, Christchurch International Airport is the main gateway to the stunning South Island and the perfect place to start your holiday.

Visit Website

Regions
of the South Island

Nelson / Abel Tasman

5 hours 15 minutes' drive time to Nelson from Christchurch Airport

Visit Website

With three National Parks within 90 minutes of the city, the Nelson Tasman region boasts an ever-changing landscape: from alpine lakes and raging rivers, to wide, sandy coastlines. It’s a place that provides a backdrop of stunning scenery and plenty of leisurely adventure, both on and off the water.

Read More

Blenheim / Marlborough

4 hours' drive time to Blenheim from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Marlborough is a region of spectacular scenic beauty from the stunning Marlborough Sounds to the magnificent high country and the wild Kaikoura coast. In the heart of all this are the Wairau and Awatere valleys - home to world famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, superb aromatics, elegant chardonnays, fine method traditionelle and rich pinot noirs that make Marlborough New Zealand's premier wine region.

Read More

Kaikoura

2 hours 30 minutes' drive time to Kaikoura from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

With a rich ocean environment it’s home to a variety of marine life including seals, dolphins, whales and albatross. This makes Kaikoura an ideal spot for some of New Zealand’s best eco-tourism experiences complemented by fascinating Maori and European histories and a range of exhilarating sea and land-based activities.

Read More

Hanmer Springs

1 hour 40 minutes' drive time to Hanmer Springs from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Just a 90 minute drive from Christchurch, Hanmer Springs offers the best of New Zealand all in one setting. With its famous hot pools set beside a dramatic mountain and river landscape, Hanmer Springs is perfect for adventure or indulgence-or a bit of both!

Read More

Christchurch / Canterbury

15 minutes' drive time to Christchurch CBD from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Witness Christchurch re-emerge, after earthquakes, as a world-leading, smart city. While part of Christchurch's centre is off-limits, there is still much to do. From the alps to the ocean it is the perfect setting for the beginning of your unforgettable South island experience.

Read More

West Coast

3 hours 35 minutes' drive time to Greymouth from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Whether you're seeking relaxation in the peace and quiet of New Zealand's pure green landscapes, or nail biting, thrill seeking action, the West Coast has it all.

Read More

Mt Cook / Mackenzie

3 hours 7 minutes' drive time to Tekapo from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Rich golden landscapes, powder blue canals and bright turquoise glacial lakes form the tapestry of the Mackenzie Country. Located halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown in the heart of the Mackenzie, Lake Tekapo is renowned for its incredibly clear starry nights.

Read More

South Canterbury

2 hours 30 minutes’ drive time approximately from both Christchurch and Dunedin

Visit website

Friendly South Canterbury welcomes visitors to have a memorable family holiday, romantic escape or relaxing break. Around two hours drive from both Christchurch and Dunedin, the “food bowl of New Zealand” is known for its high quality, natural fresh food and gourmet healthy food products.

Read More

Waitaki / Oamaru

3 hours' drive time from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Oamaru is a picturesque harbour town centrally located on the South Island's East Coast three hours south of Christchurch or 90 minutes north of Dunedin. Explore museums, shops and galleries within some of New Zealand's best 19th century architecture. With one of the country's oldest public gardens, two penguin colonies, four golf courses and many walking and cycling trails there are plenty of opportunities to experience nature as its best.

Read More

Wanaka

5 hours 30 minutes' drive time to Wanaka from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Whatever the season, Wanaka offers you two things: the freedom to do as you please away from the crowds and the chance to enjoy the very best the South has to offer.

In summer, the lake and resort town become a playground for those that love the water and a real Kiwi holiday lifestyle, while autumn is a spectacular time of year to visit as trees turn to a mix of colours from glowing golds to vibrant reds.

Read More

Queenstown

6 hours 25 minutes' drive time to Queenstown from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Set in the magnificent landscapes of the Southern Alps, Queenstown boasts majestic beauty combined with an unrivalled range of activities and superior accommodation options. Its reputation as an adventure destination stems from the innovations of jetboating and bungy jumping. From the wild, to the mild, the region offers activities that will challenge your senses, while others will soothe and rejuvenate your soul.

Read More

Dunedin / Otago

5 hours' drive time to Dunedin from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Dunedin has several claims to fame and it's easy to experience them as you explore this Celtic-influenced city that prospered during the gold rush of the 1860s. Home to the world's steepest street, it also has New Zealand's only castle, while the Dunedin railway station is the most photographed building in the country.

Read More

Te Anau / Fiordland

7 hours 49 minutes' drive time to Te Anau from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Renowned as the home of the Mitre peak and the awe-inspiring fiords of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, Fiordland has achieved World Heritage status. Numerous short walks and multi-day hiking trails, including three of the New Zealand Great walks (the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler Tracks), have earned Fiordland the reputation of one of the world's finest walking destinations. Combine your walk with a jet boat ride, a horse trek or a quad-bike trip and you have an adventure of a lifetime.

Read More

Central Otago

5 hours 45 minutes' drive time from Christchurch Airport to Cromwell

Visit website

Central Otago is a place where memories are made. 

The area has a continental climate – four distinct seasons each with its own beauty. Landscapes that inspire artists and photographers are prolific.  The area's wines and fruit are world class – flavours nurtured by hand, crafted by nature.  Some of New Zealand’s best cycling experiences are here – the Otago Central Rail Trail is just one.

Read More

Invercargill / Southland

7 hours 51 minutes' drive time to Invercargill from Christchurch Airport

Visit website

Every one of Southland's districts offer the traveller a unique discovery just waiting to be explored. From the unspoilt beauty of Stewart Island, the bright lights of Invercargill and the rugged coastline of The Catlins, visitors will be captivated with every destination in Southland.

Read More

Itineraries
of the South Island

  • Zoom in
  • Zoom out

Journeys departing from

Christchurch

    Events
    of the South Island

    an image

    World Buskers Festival

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    Be entertained from all areas of the city with the annual World Buskers Festival in Christchurch. Featuring a range of international street acts and comedy events, there’s a performance to suit any age and sense of humour. Enjoy fun, nonsense, acrobatics and daring feats of bravery.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

    Blenheim / Marlborough

    Experience New Zealand’s premier wine and food festival in Marlborough, tasting the best that the region has on offer. From award winning wines to specialty cuisine and local produce, this event is not to be missed. Treat your taste buds to a day of gourmet delight and satisfaction.

    Held on the 2nd Saturday of February.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Speights Coast to Coast

    West Coast

    One of the world's premier multi-sport events. Competitors race from Kumara Beach on the West Coast of New Zealand to Sumner Beach on the East Coast of New Zealand cycling, running and kayaking to traverse the South Island of New Zealand.

    Visit Website

    an image

    New Zealand Cross Triathlon National Championships

    Queenstown

    Enjoy a day at Paradise, Glenorchy and compete in the New Zealand Cross Triathlon National Championships. This event is a direct qualifier for the 2013 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, to be held in the Netherlands on 13 July 2013.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Stump the Hump

    Te Anau / Fiordland

    Stump the Hump is a 24hr walking event aimed at endurance sportspeople and adventurous trampers. Stump the Hump challenges you to walk the entire 55km of the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track in a single day.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Ellerslie International Flower Show

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    View spectacular gardens and floral exhibits from award-winning international and local garden designers at one of the best flower shows in the world. Modern and traditional gardens both have their place at this event, showcasing native and foreign flora and fauna.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Wildfoods Festival

    West Coast

    Sample the weirdest and tastiest delicacies that the West Coast of the South Island has to offer. Local produce is the specialty, with the more unusual cuisine taking centre stage. Try a huhu grub, emu patty or local brew and see what the wild West Coast is all about!

    Visit Website

    an image

    Havelock Mussel Festival

    Blenheim / Marlborough

    Enjoy fresh local seafood at the iconic festival dedicated to mussels. A variety of wine, food and beer stalls offer a delicious array of treats, and a great entertainment line-up complements the always popular Marlborough event.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Classic Fighters

    Blenheim / Marlborough

    An air show not to be missed for aviation enthusiasts. Held in the scenic location of Marlborough, the event wows big crowds every year. There’ s also lots of other entertainment, wine, food, classic cars, live music and fun for the kids.

    Held every second year (2013, 2015, etc.)

    Visit Website

    an image

    Feast of Canterbury

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    Feast of Canterbury® is a celebration of the food and hospitality industry in Canterbury.

    The festival is designed to promote the quality produce, talent and lifestyle of our great foodie region and to reinforce Canterbury as the preeminent food and wine capital of New Zealand.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Warbirds Over Wanaka

    Wanaka

    An air show featuring classic Warbird aircraft from WWI, WWII, Post WWII and non-military aircraft. This event is great day out for all the family with entertaining air stunts, acrobatics and synchronised performances over the picturesque skies of Lake Wanaka.

    Held every second year at Easter (2014, 2016, etc.)

    Visit Website

    an image

    Festival of Colour

    Wanaka

    Lake Wanaka is stunning in autumn, so it’s no wonder they’ve made a festival to celebrate it. A week-long event full of live bands, performances, exhibitions and general entertainment. Suitable for the whole family, this festival is a tribute to the stunning region that is Wanaka.

    Held every second year (2013, 2015, etc.)

    Visit Website

    an image

    Arrowtown Autumn Festival

    Queenstown

    Each autumn, as the trees and hillsides of this historic gold mining town turn vibrant red and gold, the local streets come to life in celebration.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Bluff Oyster Festival

    Invercargill / Southland

    At the bottom of New Zealand is a small town home to delicious, fresh seafood and a fantastic festival to celebrate it. Bluff oysters are world famous in New Zealand, and when paired with fantastic local cuisine, it makes for a must-do winter festival.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

    Blenheim / Malborough

    The Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon is a unique off road journey through the vineyards of Marlborough.  On the second Saturday of May each year, entrants are offered the opportunity to run or walk through 21 vineyards privately owned by producers such as Cloudy Bay, Wairau River and of course Saint Clair Family Estate.  The views from the course are stunning; with the Richmond Ranges in the background, the vines in their autumn colours and the panoramic views beside the Wairau River.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Hanmer Four Square Half Marathon & 10km Run/Walk

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    The Hanmer Springs Four Square Half Marathon and 10 km Run is held annually, in the picturesque
    village of Hanmer Springs, 130km NW of Christchurch.

    The race, which is organised by Hanmer Springs Multi Sport Club as a community fundraiser, takes competitors on a unique journey through Hanmer Forest amongst some amazing mountain scenery.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Oamaru "On Fire"

    Waitaki / Oamaru

    Oamaru "on fire" is a fire, steam, sound and lighting spectacular held in Harbour Streeet Oamaru from 5.30pm - 10pm.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Queenstown Winterfestival

    Queenstown

    Celebrating the distinctive Queenstown winter, this festival is one of the biggest winter parties in the Southern Hemisphere. A 10 day extravaganza of fun and entertainment, this is an iconic event that truly demonstrates the spectacular Queenstown region.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Christchurch Airport Marathon

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    The South Island's premier running and walking event with options for all age and ability. Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, Kids' Mara'Fun.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Nelson Winter Music Festival

    Nelson / Tasman

    The Winter Music Festival has a veritable feast of exciting shows to entice you. The Festival has something for absolutely everyone – family, comedy, contemporary to classical – Nelson’s a great place to be – Nelson by Day, Music by Night.

    Visit Website

    an image

    World Heli Challenge

    Wanaka

    The World Heli Challenge brings together a handful of top athletes from around the globe to compete in helicopter accessed competition. The goal is to find out which athlete is the best "all rounder" by combining their freeride and freestyle skills to showcase their overall talent.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Winter games NZ

    Wanaka

    First held in 2009, the Winter Games NZ is an elite, international winter sports competition, owned and run by the Winter Games New Zealand Trust with the support of the New Zealand Government, the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Sport NZ.

    Visit Website

    an image

    The Body Festival

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    The Body Festival, Christchurch’s annual festival of dance and physical theatre, is a showcase and celebration of New Zealand’s dancing talent. Ranging from professional shows to amateur productions, the festival covers a variety of enjoyment for all audiences and participators. Focusing on the community aspect of dance, the Body Festival also incorporates a number of workshops and participation events.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Seafest

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    Kaikoura is a small town with big scenery. With mighty mountainous alps in the background, and the Pacific ocean below, it’s a great venue for a seafood event. With live bands, great food and local beverages, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular events of the year.

    Visit Website

    an image

    French Fest

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    Head over to Akaroa, Bank’s Peninsula’s iconic French seaside township. Celebrating French culture and the heritage of the town, the event has a touch of Kiwi fun with entertainment for all ages. For a great weekend away with French cuisine, wine and culture, look no further.

    Held every second year (2013, 2015, etc.)

    Visit Website

    an image

    Otago Festival of the Arts

    Dunedin / Otago

    Celebrating the arts is Dunedin’s specialty. The festival promotes exhibitions, performances and entertainment with a long term view of sustaining the festivity for years to come. Featuring fantastic local theatre, dance, circus, music, and gallery exhibits, this is the event for every arts lover.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Nelson Arts Festival

    Nelson / Abel Tasman

    Nelson is known for its passion for the arts. The area is bursting with theatre, music, dance, writing and visual art, so it’s no wonder their annual festival is a huge success. Celebrating and supporting the arts is a special part of Nelson’s rich, creative heart.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Classic Hits Greymouth Street Race

    West Coast

    The race held every Labour Weekend runs through the streets of the central business district of Greymouth, on a tight 1.3km circuit and is 8 hours of non stop action.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Queenstown JazzFest

    Queenstown

    The Queenstown JazzFest is a live music celebration which brings music to the masses and showcases the breadth of jazz styles from around New Zealand and the world.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Hunter's Garden Marlborough

    Blenheim / Marlborough

    Hunter's Garden Marlborough is the premier 'Top of the South Island' Spring Garden Festival. A celebration of Marlborough's stunning landscape, it showcases the very best the region has to offer.

    Visit Website

    an image

    Hanmer HammerHead

    Christchurch / Canterbury

    A technical cross country MTB race, following a range of single tracks in the beautiful Hanmer Springs forest.

    Visit Website