Truly the scenic wonderland of New Zealand, it's easy to run out of superlatives when describing an island relatively sparsely populated by man but with an abundance of breathtaking natural gems.
The spectacular Southern Alps run down the spine of the South Island; to their east the patchworked agricultural landscape of the Canterbury plains, the 'english' city of Christchurch and the renowned whale-watching base of Kaikoura; at their heart, the alpine glories of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing mountain chain, making for spectacular contrasts in the surrounding scenery and creating fabulous opportunities for once in a lifetime experiences, such as a helicopter flight up onto the Franz Josef Glacier followed by a guided hike through the glacial ice formations.
The less populated of the two islands, it’s easy to run out of superlatives when describing a place with such a wealth of breathtaking natural wonders. The spectacular Southern Alps run down the spine of the South Island; to their east the patchworked agricultural landscape of the Canterbury plains, the ‘English’ city of Christchurch and the renowned whale watching base of Kaikoura; at their heart, the alpine glories of AorakiMount CookNational Park. The rugged West Coast is hemmed between the Tasman Sea and the imposing mountain chain with fabulous opportunities for once in a lifetime experiences, such as a helicopter flight onto the Franz Josef Glacier. Queenstown’s reputation as the adventure capital of New Zealand is wellfounded, but it’s also a fantastic ski resort too. Off the beaten track there’s nearby Wanaka, a picture postcard lakeside setting with a reputation for tranquillity.
Neighbouring Fiordland’s enchanting glacier cut valleys, cascading waterfalls and ancient forests should be on your ‘to do’ list and the scenic flight back from Milford Sound to Queenstown, over lakes, mountains, waterfalls and forests will take your breath away. Finally, the sunshine rich town of Blenheim is the ideal base from which to explore the vineyards of Marlborough and sample a sauvignon blanc or two.
Edenhouse is not a hotel or a lodge but a gracious, boutique country home accomodating up to eight guests, situated in 48 acres of private grounds with extensive gardens. It is located in the stunning OrinocoValley, between Nelson and Motueka, within easy reach of the world renowned AbelTasmanNational Park. The owners, Peter and Bobbie Martin, personally care for a maximum of six guests with an emphasis on understated luxury, comfort and relaxation; a very ‘Kiwi’ experience.
An unspoilt, serene location in the foothills of the mighty Southern Alps, Grasmere Lodge in Arthur’s Pass guarantees a variety of beautiful, rural and alpine views at this converted 150-year-old homestead of great character. Natural splendour outside is complemented by manmade splendour within the 13 rooms and suites that are cleverly designed in flexible configurations, creating opportunities for exclusive use for families or groups of friends. BlanketBay, Glenorchy is at once elegant but rustic, a perennial award winner designed in the grand style of the finest alpine lodges. At the quiet, northern end of LakeWakatipu, guests in search of peace will find this their perfect retreat, spending contemplative hours drinking in endless mountain views. Superb cuisine is a given but what sets this lodge apart is easy access to so many high quality activities. A luxury lodge set within 600 acres of stunning wine country, Lake Timara Lodge is a tranquil, romantic location; a place to truly get away from it all.
Queenstown's reputation as the adventure capital of New Zealand is well-founded but that's less than half the story; for every bungy jump there's a fabulous scenic lookout, for every jet boat a serene lake cruise. Being a ski resort as well, it's a true year-round destination for all but if you prefer your hideaways a little further off the beaten track there's also nearby Wanaka, another picture postcard lakeside setting and one with a burgeoning reputation for beauty and tranquillity.
Neighbouring Fiordland's enchanting glacier-cut valleys, cascading waterfalls and ancient, undisturbed forest are on everyone's 'to do' list, rightly so, and the pinnacle of many stunning scenic flights within New Zealand is surely the route back from Milford Sound to Queenstown, over lakes, mountains, waterfalls and forests.
No introduction to the South Island would be complete without mention of the internationally acclaimed Marlborough sauvignon blancs. The sunshine-rich town of Blenheim is the ideal base from which to explore the vineyards and sample some of their wares - purely in the interests of quality control of course!