Our pick of the best views in the South Island of New Zealand

New Zealand’s South Island is a land of dramatic contrast. Rugged snowy peaks cut through pristine greenery and lead towards a sandy coastline. The South Island of New Zealand has some of the best driving routes in the world – making travelling through this wilderness a real pleasure. New Zealand’s native animals flock to the area, as the alpine forests provide sanctuary and a place for them to flourish. The South Island also plays host to some of New Zealand’s most vibrant towns and cities. These make perfect pit stops, and allow you to really immerse yourself in our Kiwi culture as you holiday around New Zealand.

Selecting just the ‘best views’ in the South Island is no easy task. Our team at NZ Campervans believe that every view form your campervan will be one you will want to remember – but here is our pick of the ones you will be keen to boast about when you return home:

1) The majestic fiord of Milford Sound in Fiordland

Renowned around the world as the best example of a natural fiord – Milford Sound is a place of untouched and unchanged beauty. The rocky cliffs that surround the fiord are sharp and dramatic and flow downwards to clear, deep water. The underwater environment of the fiord is diverse and unique – filled with rare aquatic life that is able to thrive in the pure waters. You will be left in awe at the raw natural wonder of the area – where dense native forest meets the water, and sharp cliffs seems to rise magically from the depths. Capture your view of this place from cruise boat and truly immerse yourself in the beauty of the area.

2) The glacial peaks of the Franz Jospef glacier, West Coast

For many countries around the world glaciers are retreating and diminishing but in New Zealand, the glacial wonder which is Franz Josef flows to almost sea level. Its daunting size is matched with its dramatic icy twists and turns – making the glacier the steepest and sharpest in the world. The Franz Josef Glacier was discovered in 1859 and is a frozen landscape filled with deep ravines and ancient river valleys. The Franz Josef glacier is unique because of its location, plummeting from high above in the Southern Alps and carving its way through cracked rocky ravines to feed the Tasman Sea. Take a guided tour of the Glacier and experience the striking views from the top.

3) The tranquil sandy bays of the Marlborough Sounds, Marlborough

The very top of the South Island plays host to warmer weather, long sunshine hours and an environment filled with pearly white, sandy bays. Ancient river valleys that have sunk into the deep waters formed the remote Marlborough sounds, and provide the diverse and picturesque environment we are able to enjoy today. Hills and mountains covered in dense native bush rise dramatically from the sea’s edge and provide shelter and privacy for each inlet and swimming beach. The Marlborough Sounds can be explored by boat, by sea kayak or by foot on one of the many hiking tracks that traverse the area. You will enjoy the remote, untouched beauty of the Sounds and remember the up close encounters with the native wild life that inhabit this pristine place.

4) The lights of Queenstown from the surrounding mountains

The South Island town of Queenstown is a picturesque little place, with a lot of charisma. Nestled beside the pure waters of Lake Wakatipu, the town is an exciting mixture of tranquil natural experiences and adrenaline pumping thrills. The landscape is filled with dramatic mountain peaks, pristine lakes and river ways that are carved through rugged cliffs. The town is framed by natural beauty and offers an abundance of heart stopping experiences for the thrill seeking inclined to enjoy. Bungy jumping, river rafting and skiing are all on the menu – so be prepared to be busy when you visit this intriguing town. The views from on top of the neighbouring ski fields will leave you mesmerised. Queenstown is certainly a place to write home about.

5) A glimpse of ‘Middle Earth’ in Lord of the Rings country, Glenorchy

Come and really experience the magic of Middle Earth in this rustic and rural part of the South Island. The remote area of Glenorchy famously played host to the Lord of the Tings trilogy and is a remarkable mixture of deep forest and dry, rugged mountains. The raw rustic beauty of the area – which was captured by the films – is ready to be experienced first hand. There are tours operating in the area which take you into the depths of Middle Earth and allow you to become part of the film strip. Explore by foot, air or jet boat and grab your own slice of movie magic. The township of Glenorchy is also not to be missed. A vibrant and lively pit stop, Glenorchy offers exquisite local food ready to be sampled and wines from the surrounding vineyards available to indulge on. Your friends and family will really be envious of your time in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world.

Our ‘best views’ are just small snippets of what you can expect from your travels around the South Island of New Zealand. We know that your time here will be unforgettable – so get involved, get exploring and get ready to create some lasting memories here in the deep south. 

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