Christchurch is a fantastic city, but for those of us who see it endlessly, we crave something new and exciting. Wonderfully, the South Island offers some iconic experiences, especially on a boring weekend. Taking advantage of one of these adventures could be the pick-me-up you need this month. From bathing in natural hot pools to indulging in the finest New Zealand cuisine, we’ve found something for everyone to enjoy. Here are nine South Island experiences to enjoy this season.
1. Marlborough Sounds
Get up at the crack of dawn, drive over five hours and head to this mostly blue-skied and calm weather region for some fun. Indeed, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a Thailand adventure. With plenty of secluded bays, island hopping fun, cycle opportunities like Queen Charlotte Track and Ship Cove, native wildlife sightings and much more…you won’t get bored. Splash some extra cash and experience the Sounds by sea on a sailing boat. Certainly, you should stay the full weekend for the greatest experience.
2. Larnach Castle, Dunedin
Head to Dunedin for a weekend adventure to explore attractions like New Zealand’s only castle. It was built in 1871 by William Larnach. Steeped in history and culture, with spectacular views of Otago Peninsula and carefully-preserved award-winning gardens, it is a must-see for travellers. For the most unique experience, indulge in a high tea or stay in luxury accommodation on the castle grounds. For more information, visit the Lanarch Castle website.
📍 145 Camp Road, Larnachs Castle, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand
Trek the well-worth-it five hours and 50 minutes drive to this epic town that offers a jam-packed itinerary for adventurists. Expect to find plenty of outdoor adventures like whitewater rafting, wine tasting excursions, skiing and snowboarding, hikes…the list is endless. Be sure to hop on the authentic steamship TSS Earnslaw cruise, which launched the same year as the Titanic. Many famous faces have come abroad the ship including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Certainly, one of the most memorable South Island experiences.
4. Lake Tekapo
One of our favourite day trips just three hours drive from Christchurch. Additionally, it makes an epic weekend getaway. Here, experience magical stargazing and watch the Southern Lights, to name a few. Visit the Tekapo Tourism website for more information.
5. Hokitika Gorge
Just three hours and 4o minutes away, experience this hidden paradise land that exhibits the bluest turquoise water you will probably ever see. Surrounded by a native bush, explore the rare hidden spaces along the river, hike the trail and watch out for exotic birds. Make it an overnight adventure by staying in the town of Hokitika, which is rich in history and culture, from ship wrecks to gold mines to a stunning coastline…there is much to appreciate.
📍 Kokatahi, New Zealand
6. Unusual Staycations
Check out our list of unique and bizarre South Island accommodations which offers the perfect new summer experience.
7. Hot Pools
Kiwi’s just adore their volcanic thermal hot pools. So why not take advantage of Kiwi culture and unwind after a long week in one of the greatest North Island hot pools. For example, you could head to Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spas, just one hour and 30 minutes from Christchurch. Indeed, the greatest winter pick-me-up you could get
📍 Various Locations
8. Arethusa Pool
As one of the most magical secret places in New Zealand, this surreal lake can be found on the Lake Wanaka island of Mou Waho. Opt to camp there or take a day tour and hike to experience the wonders of this famous glacially formed lake. When you reach the viewpoint, it overlooks the enchanting pool, which makes an epic instagrammable shot for your feed.
📍 Mou Waho Island, Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Perhaps, use your next bank holiday weekend to trek five hours to this lovely town boasting a famous willow tree that just so happens to be one of the most unforgettable places in New Zealand. With stunning backdrops of the Southern Alps, it’s the perfect shot. Additionally, Wanaka offers a quiet weekend away from Christchurch.