20 Breathtaking Places to Visit on Your Campervan Holiday in South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand's South Island is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With its majestic mountains, serene lakes, and picturesque coastlines, it's no wonder that many choose to explore this paradise on wheels. If you're considering a campervan holiday in South Island, here are 20 breathtaking places you must add to your itinerary. And if you're starting your journey from the island's largest city, there are plenty of options for campervan hire in Christchurch or even if you prefer a larger vehicle, you can hire a motorhome in Christchurch too.
|Image credit: Graeme Murray
1. Milford Sound - Dubbed the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', Milford Sound is a mesmerizing fjord surrounded by sheer cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Cruises offer intimate encounters with the Sound's marine life, including dolphins and seals.
2. Abel Tasman National Park - This coastal gem boasts golden beaches, clear azure waters, and lush forests. Kayaking, hiking, and boat tours are popular activities, allowing visitors to explore its secluded coves and rich biodiversity.
3. Lake Tekapo - A shimmering turquoise lake set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. The Church of the Good Shepherd on its shores offers a serene spot for reflection, while the nearby hot springs provide relaxation.
4. Mount Cook National Park - Home to Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand's tallest peak, this park is a trekker's paradise. The alpine landscapes, glacial valleys, and starry nights make it a must-visit.
5. Kaikoura - Nestled between mountains and the sea, Kaikoura is a marine wonderland. Whale-watching tours are a highlight, offering chances to see giant sperm whales, orcas, and playful dolphins.
6. Wanaka - A tranquil town beside Lake Wanaka, it's a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. From skiing in winter to hiking and water sports in summer, there's always something to do.
7. Franz Josef Glacier - This dynamic glacier is accessible via guided hikes or helicopter tours. Walking on the ancient ice and exploring blue ice caves is an unforgettable experience.
8. Queenstown - The adrenaline capital, Queenstown offers bungee jumping, jet boating, and skiing. The town itself is vibrant, with a lively nightlife and stunning lake views.
9. Dunedin - A city with Scottish roots, Dunedin boasts historic architecture, the steepest street in the world, and the wildlife-rich Otago Peninsula.
10. Nelson Lakes National Park - A pristine wilderness of clear lakes, dense forests, and alpine meadows. Perfect for camping, fishing, and hiking.
11. The Catlins - A rugged coastal region with dense rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and rare wildlife like the yellow-eyed penguin.
12. Arrowtown - A quaint town with a gold-rush history. Its tree-lined streets, historic buildings, and autumn festival make it a charming stop.
13. Westport - A coastal town known for its surf breaks. Nearby, the Oparara Basin offers unique limestone arches and caves to explore.
14. Stewart Island - A remote island paradise, it's home to the kiwi bird and offers pristine beaches, dense forests, and excellent birdwatching opportunities.
15. Akaroa - A picturesque town with French influences, Akaroa offers dolphin-watching tours, artisan shops, and delicious cuisine.
16. Castle Hill - A landscape dotted with massive limestone boulders. These formations, considered sacred by the Maori, offer a unique hiking and climbing experience.
17. Fiordland National Park - A vast wilderness of deep fjords, towering waterfalls, and ancient rainforests. Hiking the famous Milford and Kepler tracks is a highlight.
18. Hanmer Springs - Known for its thermal pools and spa, this resort town is the perfect place to unwind after a day of adventure.
19. Blenheim - Situated in the Marlborough wine region, Blenheim offers wine tours, gourmet dining, and sun-drenched landscapes.
20. Christchurch - A resilient city that has rebuilt after earthquakes, Christchurch offers a mix of modern architecture, historic sites, and beautiful gardens.
Remember, the beauty of a campervan holiday is the freedom it offers. You can set your own pace, choose your destinations, and truly immerse yourself in the natural wonders of South Island. Whether you opt for rv rental in Christchurch or decide to hire a motorhome in Queenstown, your adventure awaits!
Safe travels and happy exploring!