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South Island

South Island Highlights

The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 meters (12,316 ft). There are eighteen peaks over 3000 metres (9800 ft) in the South Island.

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island, with a population of around 300 000. It is an attractive city, with extensive public and private gardens and parks, the shallow Avon river meandering though the city centre, and a pedestrian oriented downtown centred on Cathedral Square.

The South Island can be divided into the following regions:

  • Nelson
  • Marlborough
  • West Coast
  • Christchurch/Canterbury
  • Dunedin – Coastal Otago
  • Lake Wanaka
  • Queenstown
  • Central Otago
  • Fiordland
  • Southland


Click the thumbnails to see larger images

A note about Queenstown

Queenstown is the New Zealand destination for international visitors. Its natural beauty changes with the seasons, the lake gleans in the summer sun, and snow clad mountains tower above the town in winter. Queenstown is a great place to visit all year round. Nestled in beside Lake Wakatipu, in the Southern Lakes district of New Zealand, Queenstown is a cosmopolitan haven, offering a limitless adventure, southern wine and cuisine, and breathtaking alpine scenery.

For its remoteness, Queenstown is one the busiest little towns in the country, sporting the equivalent to around half the population of New Zealand in tourists in 2006, who came to experience the unique “Adventure Capital of the World”, and to relax on the scenic walks, flights, and cruises, taking in the vast lakes, rushing rivers, and awe-inspiring mountains.