New Zealand’s Spectacular South

Posted: 18 July 2019 | Updated: 18 July 2019

A plethora of natural wonders and iconic landscapes await when you embark on a journey through New Zealand’s South Island. We are truly amazed at how distinctly different the two islands of New Zealand are, and how much they offer to any kind of traveller, so if you get the chance to discover both, we couldn’t recommend it enough!

Milford Sound

It is essential that when you visit New Zealand’s South Island, you visit what many describe as the ‘eighth wonder of the world,’ Milford Sound. Situated on the West Coast in Fiordland National Park, this unbelievable natural wonder offers views you will remember forever, and what’s even better, there is no WiFi or cellular coverage, so you have no choice but to take in the majesty and enormity of surroundings (and lots of photos)!

The Sound was carved by glaciers in the ice age and is stunning in any kind of weather. Featuring spectacular fiord cliffs rising dramatically from the ink black waters, enormous waterfalls crashing down, and a backdrop of picturesque mountains, Milford Sound is best explored on board a cruise with a knowledgeable guide who can explain the history and significance of this natural paradise.

Franz Josef Glacier

Beyond the iconic Milford Sound lies a plethora of unbelievable natural wonders that will have you wondering why you’ve never visited the land of the long white cloud before! Another is World Heritage listed Franz Josef Glacier, a 12-kilometre-long temperate maritime glacier situated in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, that penetrates as far as the lower rainforests – very impressive!

It is an important one to tick off the bucket list this year as it is rapidly disappearing, with scientists claiming the glacier will almost completely disappear in the next 100 years… Marvel at this iconic natural wonder with AAT Kings on the nine day Southern Spotlight Guided Holiday, as you get up close to the glacier face with a scenic helicopter flight, and stay at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier so you can wake up to the dreamy views of the icy landscape.

TranzAlpine Train

The spectacular rolling alpine hills of the South Island are calling your name… Jump on board the TranzAlpine Train to experience one of the world’s most famous rail journeys! Sit back and relax as you and your travel companions traverse through the magnificent Southern Alps and the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. Be sure to pack your best camera so you can capture the unbelievable scenery you will encounter on this five-hour journey!


While there is so much beauty to see in the South, there is also so much to experience, and Queenstown is the epicentre of activity in New Zealand. Described as the adventure capital, you will be overwhelmed with choice – there are jet-boat rides and 4WD safaris for the thrill-seekers, and wine tours or intimate cafés for those who enjoy a more leisurely rhythm.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo in Lupin season is what we would describe as an artistic masterpiece. The still, turquoise waters of the lake against the vibrant purples and pinks of the blooming lupins and mountain backdrop is one of the world’s most picturesque landscapes! Visit Mackenzie country any time from mid-November until just after Christmas and you will be treated to this picture-perfect view from the unique vantage point of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Experience these extraordinary destinations and so much more on our nine-day Southern Spotlight Guided Holiday and prepare to embark on the journey of a lifetime, and don’t forget to pack your best camera!

By Laura Vitucci for AAT Kings


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New Zealand’s Spectacular South



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