Nearly everyone seems to have a bucket list of things to do, see, and experience before they move on to the next universe. As an outdoor educator, Yellowstone park ranger, naturalist guide, and nature mentor, I’ve been lucky to list and check-off my share of amazing national parks. While it’s hard to suggest places or […]
Mix it up! Travel north, south, east, and west on the South Island, and get yourself there by train, plane, helicopter, foot, kayak, and bike! While it would take numerous trips to take in all things special about the South Island, this trip puts a serious dent in that endeavor. Four national parks, three vibrant cities, two towns perfectly situated for whale watching and wine tasting, two extraordinary backcountry lodges, and miles upon miles of glorious countryside. (But who’s counting?!)
Start this outdoor-oriented extravaganza in Queenstown, with time to wander around town, stroll along the lakeshore, take the gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak, taste wine, and dine. Stretch your legs on a three-day hike along the beautiful Hollyford Track, spending two nights in lodges along the trail, and ending in the beautiful Milford Sound. For more “off the beaten path,” spend two nights at a luxury lodge sandwiched between Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring National Park – not a bad place to be! Next, overnight in Christchurch for good measure, then head for Kaikoura to indulge in its rich sea life and renowned whale watching. Blenheim is next, and while you may not have heard of it, it’s the gateway to the Marlborough wine region. Sauvignon blanc anyone? Last and certainly not least, base out of the youthful, cheerful town of Nelson, boasting loads of sunny days and easy access to the crystal clear waters of Abel Tasman National Park and the gorgeous trails of Kahurangi National Park.
New Zealand’s South Island – Let’s do this thing!