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New Zealand Holidays - South-Island - beautiful  landscapes

South Island Holidays

Reference WW41219
South Island Holidays

The South Island is less populated than the North and appears to have a slower pace of life, with sheep-filled pastures and remote farm settlements backed by rugged snow-covered mountains. The scenery is magnificent, and with its alpine mountains, fjords, glaciers, lakes and forests it is possibly even more spectacular than the North Island. Often arrogantly referred to as 'the mainland' by South Islanders, the South is the main destination of New Zealand tourism.

Canterbury is the hub of the South Island containing the largest city, Christchurch, an English epitome, with punting on the River Avon and a grand Anglican cathedral dominating the central square. The Queenstown region is the capital for adrenaline-inducing activities and the home of the bungee jump, with a history of gold in the hills and rivers and set on a beautiful lake at the foot of the Remarkables Mountains.

The southwest holds some of New Zealand's finest scenery and natural wonders, including its highest mountain, Mount Cook or Aoraki, 'cloud piercer'. The Frans Josef and Fox Glaciers stretching down to within a few kilometres of the coast, the magnificent Fjordland National Park with beautiful fjords, waterfalls and forests, and several world-famous walking tracks.

The South offers an abundance of activities and attractions set in wondrous surroundings, with a huge diversity of things to see and do.

Places

Highlights

Heli-Hiking Franz Josef Glacier

From £279 per adult, £279 per child (8-16)

Your trip starts with an exciting helicopter flight along the Franz Josef Valley with magnificent panoramic views of the lush rainforest, the towering mountains and the sapphire-blue ice of the glacier.

Pass over a number of fascinating ice falls as you climb to the upper reaches of the glacier where you touch down on the ice for the start of your two-hour glacier trek. Traverse the ice through caves and crevasses, looking for spectacular ice formations and enjoy the amazing mountain views.

Your knowledgable guide will be on hand to ensure a fantastic experience and also explain the glacial processes that have shaped the landscape. At the end of your hike, your guide will call the helicopter for your return journey back down the valley.

Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump

From £115 per adult, £87 per child (10 - 14)

The AJ Hackett Bungy jump from the Kawarau Bridge is the worlds first commercial Bungee jump and perhaps the most notorious. This display of Kiwi ingenuity has given New Zealand the reputation of being a centre for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies from all over the globe.

Safety is paramount on your 43-meter jump from the Kawarau Bungy Centre and there are many ways that you can choose to jump as well as have the choice of bobbing just above the water, to actually touch it or be fully immersed. Visitors may be inspired to take the plunge after learning more about the bungee experience during a behind the scenes Bungee Tour or after watching as others leap off the bridge into the deep canyon below.

Wakatipu Basin Safari of the Scenes 4WD Tour

From £101 per adult, £49 per child (4 - 14)

This tour gives you the opportunity to get off-road and see the varied landscapes that have come to represent the Middle Earth of JRR Tolkiens incredible imagination.

This scenic Lord of the Rings tour is based around the Wakatipu Basin and combines an off-road adventure with visits to several filming sites, including The Remarkables (The Misty Mountains), Deer Park Heights (The Battle of the Wargs) and the Kawarau Gorge (Argonath / Pillars of the Kings).

The tour then heads out to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Experience some true off-roading by following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River before crossing to get to the Ford of Bruinen.

Dart River Wilderness Jet Safari

A scenic drive takes you along the edge of Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy where you will board a Dart River jet boat for a 1 and a 1/2 hour journey through the Dart River's ever-changing braided river system.

You will be thrilled by the jet boat's capabilities (including jet spins) and awed by your surroundings of breathtaking snow-capped mountains, ancient native forest, waterfalls, and glacier valleys frozen in time.

The jet boat ride is followed by an easy 30-40 minute guided walk through ancient native Beech forest. The tour finishes with a journey by 4WD safari vehicle along a back-road route while hearing stories about the surrounding countryside and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films, including 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Lord of the Rings - Journey to Edoras

From £155 per adult, £103 per child (2 - 14)

Lord of the Rings fans will be in their element on this 'alpine safari' tour which uses a $WD vehicle to get off the beaten track to explore some of the breathtaking scenery used as locations in the hugely popular films.

After being collected from your hotel, you will soon have left the city behind to explore the natural, unspoilt beauty of the Mt Potts High Country station area which is home to Mount Sunday.

Alight at 'Edoras' itself and follow your friendly guide for a short walk to the summit — as Eowyn did — for glorious, panoramic views over the alpine lakes, mountain peaks, rivers and high-country farmland below.

Next, marvel at the Misty Mountains — among the most significant features of Middle-earth’s geography — and see the valley backdrop of the imposing Helms Deep.