Ski, hike and jump on South Island
Don´t forget to pack your hiking boots before visiting Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. Often referred to as the Mainland, this island is a must for adventure travelers and will leave you with awesome memories and some pretty enviable Instagram photos.
Tourism is one of the big earners for the South Island, and a big part of what draw tourists to this popular place is nature´s own playground. And when you´re here you´ll be able to pick and choose amongst just about every activity you can think of.
Popular activities include kayaking, bungee jumping, rafting, glacier climbing, mountain biking, skydiving, skiing, hiking and surfing. The climate here is cooler than the North Island, so the surf may be cold, but the waves are bigger. And the wild, rugged nature on land is home to the mighty Southern Alps. This impressive mountain range is for the most part inaccessible, but there are enough skiing options and resorts here to make the South Island a major skiing destination. Keep in mind that this is the Southern Hemisphere, so the season starts in June and is over by October.
Most commercial ski fields are situated around Queenstown. This resort alpine town on Lake Wakatipu has a population of only 14300, but has a reputation as The Adventure Capital of the World. This place is all about adrenaline and if you end up visiting, chances are you will end up doing some crazy things.
Bungee jumping, or bungy jumping which is the spelling in New Zealand, can be one of those things. Organized bungy jumping began with New Zealander AJ Hackett sparking interest in the sport and making it a global phenomenon in the late 80s and early 90s. He opened the world´s first commercial bungy site on Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown and for 143 USD you can find out how it feels. The jump is 43 metres (141 feet) and you can touch the water with your fingertips.
For those who prefer a more tranquil way of experiencing the surroundings, there are numerous walking and hiking trails. The best one would be the Milford Track, famously cited as the finest walk in the world and easily New Zealand´s most popular hiking trail.
The area around Queenstown is a daredevil´s paradise. You can be at any fitness level to enjoy the stunning backdrops, but remember that if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.