"The Mainland" South Island by TomorrowsAngel
South Island Travel Guide: 5,969 reviews and 15,832 photos
The South Island a.k.a. the Mainland is rustic NZ at its best. The South Island is roughly 75% of NZ's landmass, and accounts for 1/3 of the total population. Christchurch is the biggest city in the South Island.
The Central South Island stretches from the snowcapped Southern Alps in the west to the sparkling blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean; the area's diverse topography is home to a huge array of scenic, sporting and cultural attractions. The region is still very much unspoiled, spectacular and offers a different part of New Zealand often only the domestic market knows about. It includes the towns of Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point and Peel Forest, the area is only two hours drive south of Christchurch and a similar drive to Dunedin and is the gateway to New Zealand’s most majestic mountains, including its highest peak Mt Cook. The region is developing a strong appeal to international visitors seeking an alternative itinerary to the traditional South Island tourism route.
Life is relaxed on the West Coast of the South Island, and it's the perfect place to unwind and explore a special place of beauty and history.
Stretching 600 kilometres along the western edge of the South Island, the West Coast is a rugged, primeval region of contrasting features - high snow-capped mountains, towering rainforests, lowland river valleys, dramatic coastlines, bizarre limestone landscapes, grinding glaciers, surging rivers and brooding lakes.
Some of the most wild and dramatic scenery in New Zealand can be found in Fiordland, in the southwest corner of the South Island. Fiordland is one of the largest National Parks in the world and a World Heritage area. Here the power of nature stuns the enthralled visitor - from its waterfalls tumbling hundreds of metres into virgin forested valleys, lonely fiords, endless stretches of shimmering lakes and granite peaks. This is the largest National park and offers Ecotourism at its best.
Central Otago was initially made famous for the golden riches of it's rivers. Situated on the south-eastern boundary of the Southern Alps, the dramatic untouched scenery is breathtaking. Mountain peaks, tussock covered hillsides, flowing rivers and clear blue lakes are just some of the highlights of this much photographed and extremely popular holiday destination.
The sub-alpine climate of Central Otago, with it's long hot summers and crisp cold winters has also seen Central become one of the worlds top producers of stonefruit such as Nectarines, Apricots, Peaches and Cherries. More recently Central has also become recognised as an exceptional wine-growing region. In fact, one of our local vineyards has recently been awarded the prize of "Best Pinot Noir in the world"!
Explore Southland’s (NZ's southernmost province) key attractions such as Stewart Island, New Zealand’s new National Park, the Catlins, and the Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand’s most diverse touring route. Invercargill is Southland’s capital and has a wide range of facilities and activities.
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