Franz Josef Glacier Guides are very stoked to be partnered with LifeProof, to ensure our guides phones are fully protected while they put them through the elements. Our friends at LifeProof have compiled this ultimate South Island experience and how to LifeProof your adventure.
From snowy mountains to sparkling glaciers, stunning national parks to the adventure tourism capital of the world – New Zealand’s South Island has it all.
LifeProof is all about adventure. It’s in our DNA. The LifeProof FRE phone case optimises our pursuit for freedom, no matter the circumstances. It’s snowproof, waterproof, dirtproof and dropproof, making it the perfect accessory for all of your South Island experiences.
In the name of adventure, we’ve put together a list of must-do activities in line with our four ‘proofs’ – because no matter what you get up to, we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’ve been enjoying snow sports for as long as you can remember, it’s your first time hitting the slopes or you’re more interested in building a snowman, there’s a South Island ski field for you.
New Zealand’s ski fields offer epic terrain, and most are located close to towns and cities. Queenstown is flanked by two popular fields – Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. In nearby Wanaka, you’re close to Treble Cone and Cardrona. In Canterbury, there’s plenty more, including the popular Mount Hutt, only a two-hour drive from the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch.
Driving around the South Island is beautiful year-round, but it transforms into a winter wonderland from June through to August. For a truly magnificent trip make sure you visit Lindis Pass, and don’t forget to stop to snap a photo of Mt Cook – New Zealand’s highest peak. We recommend the view from alongside the bright turquoise water of Lake Pukaki – just make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to take it all in.
Hiking on a glacier is an unmissable experience, so of course you can’t visit the South Island without making a trip to Franz Josef Glacier. With tour options to suit everyone, the dense ice and surrounding scenery will take your breath away – and we promise that’s not because of the hike!
If you fancy something a little gentler head to Kaikōura for a whale watching tour. Sperm Whales are year-round residents off the coast of this eastern town, and humpback whales are regularly seen throughout the winter months as they migrate from Antarctica to warmer tropical waters to give birth. You may also spot other types of whale, fur seals, pods of dusky dolphins and albatross.
If you’re looking to experience some of New Zealand’s best weather and warmer waters, you’ll want to head north to the Tasman Region. Here you’ll find beautiful beaches and abundant flora and fauna, plus the 35 kilometre sandbar Farewell Spit. A kayak trip in Abel Tasman National Park is the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful protected coastline at the top of the South Island. Bonus fact: the region gets an average of 2,400 sunshine hours a year!
New Zealanders are affectionately named after a very cute, and very unique, flightless bird – the Kiwi. Having initially thrived in a land free from mammals, New Zealand’s national bird is now under threat. There’s a national effort to protect the Kiwi, with organisations such as Kiwis for kiwi supporting conservation projects. To find out more about this feathered friend, and maybe even spot one, head to Ōkārito – only a half hour drive from Franz Josef – for an Ōkārito Kiwi Tour. The Ōkārito brown kiwi, also known as the rowi, has a population of only 400 and is only found in a restricted area of the Ōkārito forest.
While you’re enjoying the sunshine in the Abel Tasman, a hike along the Abel Tasman Coastal Track is a must-do. You can walk a portion of the trail in a day or tackle the whole 51km trail over 3-5 days – rest assured your hard work will be rewarded with white sand beaches and unbelievably clear bays.
But if you’re looking to really get down and dirty, head off road and jump on a quad or dirt bike. There are many tours operating that allow you to traverse the tussock covered hills, river beds and farmland of Canterbury, or get a unique perspective on the mountains surrounding Queenstown.
New Zealand is renowned for its adventure tourism and is home of the world’s first permanent commercial bungy jumping site – Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge in Queenstown. For many, bungy jumping in NZ is top of the bucket list.
Other activities guaranteed to get the adrenalin pumping include skydiving, white water rafting, jet boating, zip-lining, caving and well, the list just keeps going and going.
As well as physically dropping yourself from bridges or jumping out of planes, when you’re surrounded by so much spectacular scenery, it’s going to be hard not to at least drop your jaw in wonder. We’d argue it’s impossible not to be awestruck by your surroundings – no matter where on the island you are. Whether you’re on the wild West Coast, looking over Lake Wanaka from the top of Roys Peak or setting eyes on Milford Sound for the first time, your New Zealand adventure will leave a lasting impression.