As local kiwis we would like to share our travel tips for traveling around the South Island, This is especially of interest to nature lovers.
1. If you are planning to drive around the South Island allow lots of time. The reason is that due to the spectacular geography of our country the roads can be quite windy, so you will need to take your time. Also there are a lot of stunning scenic stops and short walks along the way. You will not want to miss these photo opportunities.Work out how long you think and double it, you will not regret it.
2. Don`t dismiss traveling in the winter. It might be chilly, it can get into the minuses; but if you don`t mind rugging up you will see the best scenery anywhere in the world in all its winter splendor. Take a train trip on the TranzAlpine. The drawback is that some businesses are closed, the bonuses are that the business that are open give you their undivided attention. You will also meet lots of kiwis on their annual holidays and its great to have a chat with them along the way. You may get more travel ideas! June and July are drier months than August September.
3. Speaking of rugging up. Leave your tired old sweaters at home and jazz up your wardrobe with merino and possum wool hats and wool wear. Ice Breaker comes to mind. If you are traveling through Marlborough call in at Mihi. I can personally recommend that. Blokes check out the brand Swazi. Street wear will never be the same again if you take that home.
4. Read the weather forecast. You will soon learn that kiwis are obsessed with the weather. You will then find out why. Being an island the weather can change from day to day. If you are traveling the South Island you can make the most of the weather by ducking to the side of the island experiencing the best weather. If it is raining on the East Coast, you can guarantee it is warm and sunny on the West Coast. Don`t be afraid to ask the locals about where the weather is likely to be best in the next couple of days. Especially farmers, allow half an hour to answer questions and chat though!
5. Be aware of our public holidays and school holidays. If you know about these you can avoid getting caught on crowded flights or even worse miss out if you are’ booking as you go’. You can check the public holidays here. You can check the school holidays here .
Some Winter Activities:
- Stewart Island is the best place to see the aurora australis between April and September.
- Have a go at the Scottish sport curling http://www.curling.co.nz/ check out the competition dates to see the pros at work. Be ready for a whiskey session afterwards.
- See the stars at Lake Tekapo http://www.earthandskynz.com/window-to-the-universe/en/ .
- See the baby seal at Ohau Point waterfall only in the Winter (ninth wonder of the world). My husband took this video with a go pro. Be prepared to be charmed.
- Enjoy the frosty mornings and sunny days in Marlborough at the top of the South Island before catching the ferry. Take a nature tour with us and follow it with a wine tour with the lovely ladies down the road. You can finish the day drinking a Wither Hill pinot noir brought earlier in the day in our steaming out door bath.