South Island Road Trip Stops You Can’t Miss!

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New Zealand’s South Island is a road-tripper's dream, with jaw-dropping scenery around every bend.

But whether it’s the towering peaks of the Southern Alps or the rugged coastlines and pristine lakes, there’s so much to do that it’s best explored at a leisurely pace and from the comfort of your very own hired campervan, which is something the expert team at Travellers Autobarn can help you with.

Where exactly should you head as you make your way through the South Island in your campervan, though? That’s what we’ll be looking at today. Below, you’ll find our selection of unmissable road trips. So, buckle up and get ready to discover some of the best-kept secrets and iconic sights that prove why this corner of the globe is truly one of a kind.

Milford Sound

Tucked away in the heart of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a natural wonder that you need to see to believe. This is a geological masterpiece that has been carved by glaciers over thousands of years, resulting in towering cliffs that rise from the inky waters of the fiord and waterfalls cascading from a great height. There are multiple walking trails here, but the very best way of exploring Milford Sound is from the water, where you’ll get unparalleled views of the dramatic landscape and the opportunity to spot seals and dolphins playing in the water.

Fiordland National Park

While you’re exploring Milford Sound, you have the perfect opportunity to discover everything else Fiordland National Park has to offer. Whether you’re drawn to the tranquillity of Lake Te Anau (New Zealand’s second-largest lake) or you want to embark on a long hike along the Routeburn Track, the expanse of rugged landscape and ancient rainforests provides a beautiful backdrop for your adventures. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife while you’re here, too, including the kea - the world’s only alpine parrot.

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

Located on the South Island’s West Coast, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are rivers of ice that are slowly carving their way through the rainforest-clad mountains. While walking on a glacier may seem difficult, these are actually some of the most accessible glaciers in the world, and they really do offer a unique hiking experience. You can also enjoy a guided hike to learn more about the glaciers, or for the really adventurous, try a helicopter tour where you’ll get to appreciate the sheer scale and beauty of these ice giants.

Mount Cook National Park

Home to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook National Park is an alpine wonderland that will leave outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike in awe. There are several hiking trails that take you through the wilderness straight to the iconic Aoraki, as well as the Hooker Valley Track, which is known for being one of the most relaxing and scenic walking trails in New Zealand.

Abel Tasman National Park

On the Northern tip of the South Island, you’ll find Abel Tasman National Park, which offers stunning coastal views, as well as walking tracks that take you along golden beaches, through lush native forests, and past picture-perfect coves and rock formations. Parts of this park can be explored by water taxi, but on foot is the best way, and you’ll also find several opportunities to snorkel or swim in the crystal clear bays that are teeming with marine life.

Kaikoura

Set between the Kaikoura Ranges and the Pacific Ocean, the charming coastal town of Kaikoura is a must-visit for nature lovers and seafood enthusiasts! This region is renowned for its exceptional whale-watching opportunities, with sperm whales, orcas, and other marine giants to be spotted all year round. After your encounter with the whales, head into the town centre and indulge in some of the freshest seafood imaginable, including mouth-watering crayfish and succulent greenshell mussels.

Dunedin

Steeped in history and brimming with Scottish heritage, Dunedin is a delightful city that offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty. For those looking for a history lesson, spend the day exploring the city’s grand Edwardian and Victorian architecture, including the iconic Dunedin Railway Station and the incredible Larnach Castle. Or, if you’re more of a nature lover, head to the Otago Peninsula, where you’ll get the opportunity to spot royal albatross, yellow-eyed penguins, and fur seals.

Photo source: depositphotos.com

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