Unlock New Zealand's Bounty

19 March 2016
Read Time: 1.6 mins

The Land of the Long White Cloud never fails to lure travellers to its dreamy natural landscapes and cultured city centres.

Its largest city, Auckland, is a buzzing hive of activity, from the sail boats that glide across its picturesque harbour, to the restaurants and bars teeming with hungry diners.

Across the Cook Strait, the South Island is an equally enticing holiday destination. Split down the middle by the majestic Southern Alps, this is where New Zealand's astounding natural beauty truly shines.

Contrasting Cityscapes

Wellington may be the capital, but Auckland is arguably the place to be to immerse yourself in New Zealand's big-city culture.

Packed with cafes and bars, brimming with boutique shopping outlets and boasting plenty of entertainment opportunities, this vibrant metropolis is usually the first port of call on many a New Zealand getaway.

In contrast to the fast pace and footloose vibe of Auckland, the South Island's largest city, Christchurch, offers a far more laid back holiday experience.

Substantially smaller than its North Island neighbour, Christchurch's picturesque English-style gardens, winding Avon River and charming cityscape lend this unassuming southern metropolis the genteel air of an oversized country estate.

Leisurely Drives

Stretching some 840 kilometres in length, the South Island is large enough to spend a substantial amount of time exploring.

One of the best ways to do exactly that is a self-guided driving holiday, with many of the island's most scenic attractions located a leisurely day's drive from each other.

Don't miss the truly unforgettable Milford Sound. Lying a short distance inland from the Tasman Sea, this majestic fiord sits at the bottom of sheer cliff faces and towering rock formations.

Milford Sound New Zealand Milford Sound is one of the sights that's given New Zealand world-wide fame (Image: Getty)

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Popular Resorts

Milford Sound is one of the more remote regions of New Zealand, but it's nevertheless readily accessible from the resort town of Queenstown.

Queenstown is often called the 'Adventure Capital' of New Zealand, boasting more than 200 adventure tourism activities. However, it's the nearby ski fields that lure the majority of thrill-seekers.

Located around one hour's drive from Queenstown, the charming lakeside town of Wanaka is surrounded by pine-laden peaks on all sides, creating a breathtaking backdrop.

World-Class Wineries

If all the self-guided drives and adventure activities leave you thirsty, the South Island boasts some of New Zealand's finest wineries.

Tucked away in the northeast of the island, the Marlborough region is renowned for producing world-class Sauvignon blancs.

Nearby Nelson hasn't quite garnered the cult-like following of its illustrious northern neighbour, but it too is home to a thriving wine industry.

Nelson's relative isolation and long-standing heritage – it is the South Island's oldest city – lend the city a carefree and casual atmosphere.

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