With the Southern Alps jutting into the sky, glaciers crashing down into coastal rainforests, lakes in myriad shades of blue, and the otherworldly Fiordland National Park offering endless exploration, New Zealand's South Island is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Whether you're an avid hiker or one who simply enjoys stunning scenery, the South Island has it all. The following were my top destinations on a recent visit to the South Island (do note that I didn't make it to the northern part of the island and thus missed Abel Tasman National Park, the Marlborough Sounds, the Hokitika Gorge and other popular destinations).
AORAKI MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK
A visit to the South Island is not complete without a visit to the stunning Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The park is sizable and offers a variety of hikes at varying difficulty levels. There are several hotels and places to stay within the park, but they tend to book up quickly in peak months so plan accordingly! Don't miss the Tasman...