My Top 5 Things To Do In New Zealands South Island

top things to do in new zealand south island

Swimming With Dolphins – EPIC times!

New Zealand is a land of contrast – where beautiful snow capped peaks meet arid farm land, mirror like lakes and surf filled oceans. It really is one of the most amazing places to explore as a traveller.

And over the last month I’ve spent a heap of time exploring it – with a slight lean on the South Island time wise.


New Zealand features on many backpacker to do lists – so I though I’d chuck my 2cents worth into the mix and share my  Top 5 Things To Do In New Zealands South Island


  • Franz Josef Glacier, Heli Hike – this is easily my favourite experience on the south island. The Franz Josef Glacier is a gorgeous icy landscape which makes for an epic day trip, exploring ice caves and waterfalls. Combining this with a scenic helicopter ride and actually landing on the glacier makes it even better!


  • Swimming With Dolphins in Kaikoura – as a surfer it’s safe to say I’m pretty in touch with the ocean and I’ve shared surfs and scuba dives with many amazing marine animals. Yet swimming with over 500 wild dusky dolphins in Kaikoura is something that caught me totally off guard.


  • Chilling out in Queenstown (or not!) – Despite it’s reputation for being the adrenaline capital of New Zealand where you can jump out of or off of pretty much anything QTown is also a great place to simply kick back and enjoy the relaxed kiwi pace of life. I spent most of my time here and it’s well worth pencilling it into your schedule. Here’s my top 5 things to do there.


  • Go For A Wander – NZ is all about the great outdoors, so get those hiking boots on and go for a stomp! It doesn’t need to be an epic Lord of the Rings style hike (although the south is home to many famous NZ walking trails) it can be a simple walk along the beach or around a lake. So stretch those legs and breathe in the clean crisp air!


  • Campervan Living – if you want to go one better than a simple hike then why not do your whole adventure in a campervan? I’m stoked that I did – it meant pulling over whenever to eat lunch overlooking a rainforest or parking up and camping to awake to a sunrise over a still and quiet lakefront, truly magical and NZ is a great place to enjoy campervan living.


Have you backpacked New Zealand? Anything you’d recommend to do on the south island?

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Blogger and Photographer at Backpacker Banter
Chris is a surfer, photographer, traveller and writer from Devon in the UK and In 2009 he ditched 9-5 life and headed off to backpack the world. When he’s not in the water catching some waves he’s busy exploring with his camera or blogging over and Top 5 Travel

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