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The southern beauty hosts many tints on her canvas – reds, blues, greens: for our visual pleasure and intent gaze.

 

New Zealand is a dreamscape. You drink it in. Ethereal colours and landscapes meet with fiery skies as the sun sinks below the horizon, while glassy glaciers stand in silent command and absorb the dying sun in their stark blinding white. Driving cross country, ice blue lakes whip past and transform into sage evergreen forests. It is a land of many shades and many legends.

 

– Play/Do –

Get your blood flowing with vast hiking trails to be explored along the Southern Alps of the South Island, which span its entire length. To the southwest is Milford Sound and the Milford Track, with rapidly changing scenes between rainforests, valleys and waterfalls. Queenstown plays up the adventure seeker side with bungee jumping and skiing.

Need reasons to not believe your eyes? Northward is the Abel Tasman National Park, offering breathtaking ocean kayaking and hiking trails. Kaikoura, east, hosts year-round whale watching and southerly Dunedin’s architecture harks back to Victorian and Edwardian times with interestingly placed Scottish cultural influence.

 

Stay –

One of the most breathtaking places to stay – Stoneridge Estate – lends itself perfectly to the South Island landscape. Perched on the cliff sides facing Lake Hayes with the peaks of the Remarkables visible in the distance, it is truly a place of pure magic. All kinds of activities and sports can be enjoyed here, although the pool, gardens and vineyards offer a certain charm of indulgent relaxation.

Hanmer Springs, a resort town towards the north of the island is abundant in blue tinged natural springs and thermal pools. It is surrounded by rugged mountainous ski slopes and southerly whitewater rapids.

 

– Eat –

Marlborough, known as wine country, is perfect for sipping a good Sauv Blanc and looking out the window to the gorgeous bays and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds below.

Ferg Burger is THE place to check out for high end burgers with an interesting twist. Or if you’re angling for something a little fancier, Bluff – a seaport in the Southland region – is famous for their oysters and fresh seafood. Twizel, at the halfway mark on the South Island and Lake Tekapo, a little further up, both serve some mean salmon.

It’s easy to spend at least 10 days meandering up and down the gorgeous island that has a complexion to rival any country abundant in natural beauty. For a small place in the middle of southwestern Pacific Ocean, it sure packs the biggest punch.

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