7 Exciting South Island Experiences To Help You Beat The Winter Blues

Megan Zara Walsh Megan Zara Walsh

South Island Experiences

Hit the road this winter weekend.

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 winter 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 seven exciting South Island experiences to beat the winter blues.

1. Marlborough Sounds

New Zealand Winter
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Get up at the crack of dawn, drive over five hours and head to this mostly blue-skied and calm weather region for some winter fun. Indeed, it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a Thailand coastal adventure. With plenty of secluded bays, island hopping fun, cycle opportunities like Queen Charlotte Track and Ship Cove, native wildlife sightings, historic sites, and much more…you won’t get bored. Splash some extra cash and experience the Sounds by sea on a sailing boat. We recommend staying overnight for the greatest experience.

2. Larnach Castle, Dunedin

Best South Island Plans
Photo Credit: Larnach Castle

Head to Dunedin for a weekend adventure to explore New Zealand’s only castle. It was built in 1871 by William Larnach. Stepped 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, opt to 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

3. Queenstown

Trek the well-worth-it five hours and 50 minutes drive to this epic town that offers a jam-packed itinerary for adventurists. In a incredible winter wonderland, expect to find plenty of outdoor adventures like whitewater rafting, wine tasting excursions, skiing and snowboarding, hikes…the list is endless. You must take the authentic and vintage 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 this winter.

4. Lake Tekapo

Just three hours drive from Christchurch, this spot makes an epic weekend getaway. Here, you can see the colours of the Southern Lights and on a clear night experience the most magical stargazing. It offers an unforgettable experience to say the least. 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, just to name a few activities. 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 experience.

9 Unique And Weird South Island Getaways For You To Escape

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 can get.

📍 Various Locations 

Enjoying Secret Christchurch? Why not check out The Best Things To Do In Christchurch This Month.

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Escapes Things To Do