I am currently in the midst of a love affair with Queenstown and will agree that it is difficult to tear yourself away from the atmosphere and good times that Queenstown so loyally gives you but there are a few reasons that it is well worth taking a trip further south. The far south of New Zealand is often bypassed by backpackers who skim across the middle from Queenstown to Christchurch missing out on some spectacular scenery and unique experiences.
In short New Zealand's far south is like visiting a whole new country and is well worth the trip. Even Invercargill, you can get an awesome breakfast there.
If you still need a little persuading then consider the fact that you can stray south for a little while before returning to the comforting open arms and love of Queenstown.
So here are the top 10 reasons to head further south than Queenstown.
- 1. Milford Sound
One of New Zealand's must do's and a clear example of pristine beauty that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world, Milford Sound truly is spectacular.
- 2. Pies in Te Anau
I have never in my life experienced such value or money and such melting in my mouth. If you have never had a pie before then make sure you have one in Te Anau at Miles Better Pies, it will change your life for the better. All your worries will disappear and you will feel like a more rounded, confident and knowledgable individual.
- 3. Stewart Island
The ferry journey may be the best rollercoaster you will ever experience but Stewart Island is one of the few places in the world that still remains true to itself and treasures what it has to offer, and as long as no mines get built on Stewart Island I am pretty sure it will stay that way. For avid birdwatchers Stewart Island is a must and for those keen on travel it is somewhere pretty special and an experience you won't forget. The silence, the sustainability and the individual Stewart Island lifestyle will have you hooked.
- 4. The Catlins
This coastal road is a worthy rival to the West Coast, New Zealand's Great Ocean Road and needs to be given some serious credit. This is what they are all talking about when they talk about 100% Pure New Zealand. Watch Hector's Dolphins in their natural habitat for free amongst cool rock formations and those fascinating New Zealand fur seals.
- 5. Random Fur Seals
Speaking of Fur Seals, they will crop up in the most random of places and by this I mean in grass where you could trip over one so keep your eyes peeled! The south of New Zealand is clearly their habitat and home and we are clearly visitors but it is rather lovely to be welcomed and allowed to make yourself at home in their plush and luxurious home.
- 6. Cool lighthouses
A bit geeky maybe but there are no trains to talk about so it will have to be the lighthouses. They are pretty cool though and I guess you have to see them to agree. Nuggets Point is the location of maybe the best lighthouse in New Zealand as once you walk the 900m towards the lighthouse you get rewarded with rock formations arguably more impressive than Australias Twelve Apostles. I believe there are actually more than Australia's twelve apostles.
- 7. Stadium Idol
Found in the awesome town of Dunedin, Stadium Idol takes place at the Stadium Bar on a Thursday Evening and features musical talent from around New Zealand. You won't find a karaoke experience as good as this anywhere else in New Zealand. With the ultimate prize of $1000 up for grabs this is a serious competition where everyone gets involved. Even if you really don't want to sing, you can get your Simon Cowell on and become a judge or watch and observe the best free entertainment you can get.
- 8. Speights Brewery
Beer, lots of it, confined to a small surface area makes for good times. Elsewhere in New Zealand it is all about the wine (and quite rightly, wine is awesome) but occasionally you just fancy a good beer, so head to the Speights brewery, you are being cultured and using local products whilst having a good time, what is not to love?
- 9. Cadburys
Where has Dunedin been all my life? Home to the Cadbury Factory, that comforting, purple sign will hypnotize you towards those welcoming tours as you enter the cadbury wonderland and gorge yourself. Good, no great, times.
- 10. Yellow Eyed Penguins
The rarest penguins in the world and you can see them for yourself. Regal, elegant and entertaining this is by far one of the greatest experiences to be had in New Zealand.
If the top 10 reasons to head further south than Queenstown here doesn't already explain it, the far south of New Zealand is the most eclectic part of New Zealand and a really pleasant surprise. After travelling the lengths of the North and South Island to Queenstown or Christchurch you think you have seen it all but stepping that little bit further will surpass anything you have seen before.