The South Island is the largest
island, but only 25% of the entire country's population live
there. This make the roughly 1 million residents here in
the minority, as they are out-populated by the sheep, deer and
This wasn't always the case,
though, during the 19th century, due to the discovery of
gold. Dunedin became the wealthiest city in the country, and
more than half of the population lived in the South Island.
As well as many european residents, many thousand chinese workers
migrated to work the mines, which added to the population.
The North Island population overtook the South in the early
20th century, and the exodus continued slowly for the rest of
the 20th century, leading to the current situation.
The South Island is
divided into 7 local government areas, starting at the
north with the smallest region, Nelson, then north to
south, Tasman, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and
finally Southland in the south, which includes Stewart Island.
There are only 5 cities in the South Island, Nelson, Timaru,
Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. All the
cities, other than Queenstown, and most of the large
towns, are located on the eastern costal
plains, this is due to the central mountain range that
runs the entire length of the island.
The Islands weather is mainly
temperate, with wetter, cooler and cloudier climate in the south of
the island, and is warmer, sunnier and drier in the north.
The Southern Alps mountain range, that runs north-east to
south-west down the island, is snow covered all year round, and the
glaciers, the major ones being Fox and Franz Josef in the west, and
the Tasman, Hooker, Mueller and Murchison in the east,
fluctuate with the seasons. Glacial erosion over thousands of
years, has left a rugged landscape that is now lush, green steep
valleys, and over 4,000 lake-filled basins, creating stunning
scenery and breathtaking views.
around New Zealand.
There are several companies
offering cruises around the beautiful coast of New Zealand, some
with small, more intimate ships as well as the huge ocean liners.
The smaller ships can get much closer to the coast line and
dock at smaller towns with personal guided shore excursions,
whereas the large, luxury liners tend to concentrate on the larger
towns and cities, with planned shore excursions.
Depending on your preference, you
decide what type of ship and cruise you would like to
Island Escape Cruises are a
privately-owned small ship cruise company, based in New Zealand who
offer 7 and 10-night cruises around New Zealand and French
For further details of these
cruises, and the full itineraries, please click Here.
the following pages
The prices are all based on
the UK Pound to the NZ$ exchange rate as of the 1st
January 2016, but the exchange rates are changing on
an almost daily basis, which means the prices could be
lower or higher than we have quoted in our pricing tables.
Prices quoted are as guide only, and may change at any time
without notice due to increases by the supplier or differences in
the exchange rates. Please contact us get a confirmed price
at todays rates for your preferred property or service.
Select your destination from the map, or from the list below, to view properties and hotel information.
Click on a city/town for details of the accommodation available there...
Akaroa is small town of around 700 residents located on the shores of a large natural inlet harbour, on the Banks Peninsular, that is home to a variety of sealife, including Hecters Dolphins, seals, penguins, as well as an abundance of different birdlife and wildfowl.
Arrowtown is a historic, gold mining town on the banks of the River Arrow, and being very close to Queenstown, only 10 miles away, it is an option as your main base to stay if you want to be close to the big town, but not actually in it!
Mainly used as a stopping point for travellers going from coast to coast, Arthurs Pass is a small alpine town, with only few visitor services, but amazing views and scenery.
Ashburton is a few miles in land from the central-eastern coast, south-west of Christchurch, and is renown for fantastic fishing, especially salmon fishing.
Located in the heart of the Marlborough region, in the north-east corner of the South island, and close to the inter-island ferry terminal, Blenheim is famous for the world renown vineyard in the area.
Darfield is a small town set in wonderfully scenic countryside on State Highway 73, in the north-east of the South Island, is only 20 miles west of Christchurch and the coast, and is close to the Canterbury ski resorts.
Dunedin is found on the south-east coast, and is located on the slopes above Otago Harbour, and extends out into the surrounding valleys, hills and coastline of the Otago Peninsula.
Fairlie is small relaxed and friendly town with a village feel in the centre of the South Island,and being close to 3 of the area's main ski fields, is an ideal stopping place for a bit of adventure.
Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are located amongst stunning scenery and offer breathtaking views on your journey up to, and on the glaciers themselves.
Greymouth is situated on the west coast of the South Island, on the Tasman Sea, at the mouth of the Grey River. It is north-west of Christchurch, south of Nelson, and north of Hokitika.
Haast is a small town located on the central west coast. The Haast Region is actually a large area of spectacular landscapes, that includes Haast Township, Haast Beach, Haast Pass, Haast Junction, the Haast River and Hell's Gate, and stunning scenery everywhere you look.
Set in the Hanmer Forest Park, Hanmer Springs is a small town located in the Caterbury region on the South Island, and is very popular as a domestic holiday destination for New Zealanders.
Built to support the timber industry at the turn of the last century, Hari Hari (or Harihari) is a small, town on the South Island's west coast on SH6, making travelling to or through the town popular with visitors exploring north/south on the South Island's west coast.
Located on the South Islands west coast, between the banks of the Hokitika River and the Tasman Sea coastline, with the great Southern Alps mountain range as a backdrop, Hikitika a nice, friendly town with a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
New Zealand's southernmost city, Invercargill is on the south coast, on the vast Southland plains, and is a good location for visiting the stunning Fiordland National Park and Stewart Island, just off the coast.
Kiakoura is a large town on the South Island's north-east coast, on State Highway 1, south of the inter-island ferry terminal. Located on the Kaikoura Peninsula, there is a huge variety of sealife, dolphins, seals and number of different species of whales to watch.
An area of outstanding natural beauty, Lake Brunner is located in the north west of the South Island, and is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand, covering an area of 40 square kilometers.
Lake Moeraki is a scenic area on the west coast of the South Island, close to the Haast region, with a picturesque lake, dense forest and a beautiful coastline. There isn't a main town here, but there are shops, restaurants and accommodation along SH6 offering services to guest staying in the area.
Milford Sound is a 10mile long Fiord in the south-west corner of the South Island and is the main gateway to explore the spectacular mountain scenery and deep water fiords of the Fiordland National Park.
Mount Cook and surrounding area
Mount Cook, also know by its traditional Maori name, Mount Aoraki, is located right in the centre of the South Island and is the premier location in New Zealand to view the Glaciers.
Known as the "White Water Capital" of New Zealand, Murchison is a small town in the north-west corner of the South Island, pproximately halfway between Nelson and Richmond, on the north coast, and Westport on the west coast.
A centre for arts and crafts, the town of Nelson is on the northern coast on the east shore of Tasman Bay, 88 miles west of the inter-island ferry terminal at Picton.
Being the largest town in the North Otago Region, Oamaru, is on the central-south-east coast of the South Island, between Christchurch, in the north, and Dunedin, in the south.
Te Anau is a small town on the shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest in the South Island, and is at the start of the Milford Road, on the borders of the Fiordland National Park.
Picton is at the head of the large Queen Charlotte Sound, and is the location for the port and terminal of the inter-island ferry service which operates across the Cook Strait, to and from Wellington, in the North Island.
The small village of Punakaiki, with less than 100 permanent residents, is located on the edge of Paparoa National Park, half way between Westport and Greymouth, and is most famous for being close to the Pancake Rock Formations.
Queenstown is located in the central south west of the South Island, around Queenstown Bay.
Built on the slopes of the nearby extinct volcano, Timaru is a busy seaport town located on State Highway 1, making it a popular stopping point with tourists driving north/south of the South Island's east coast.
At the southern end of Lake Wanaka and close to Lake Hawea, Wanaka is located in the south west of the South Island, north of Queenstown and south of Franz Josef Glacier area.
Westport is located on the north-west coast of the South Island, at the mouth of the Buller River, and as the area is relatively quiet with tourists, it might be a good stop on a west coast trip for some peaceful relaxation.