Te Waipounamu is the tourism and farming centre of Aotearoa

Separated from the North Island by the Cook Strait, this long land mass is a third bigger than its northern sibling, though the glorious Southern Alps, home to the country’s highest peak, Aoraki / Mount Cook, span its length. Less populous than the north, it’s colder in winter and dryer in summer, making it the ideal playground for pleasure seekers of all persuasions.

Awash in prospectors during the gold rush of the 1860s, the South Island boasts a colonial history that’s as rich as the soil, where some of the world’s finest wine grapes are grown. The island’s elongated shape makes it ideal for driving its length and breadth, with must-see sights ranging from Milford Sound and Fiordland on the west coast to Christchurch and Dunedin on the east, with stunning resort towns Queenstown and Wanaka nestled in between.