Right on. New Zealand. That’s where they made Lord of the Rings. I say we just move there, yo. ~ Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, Episode 2.12 “Phoenix”
Jesse is entirely correct: The Lord of the Rings films were shot in New Zealand. But why would a film with a budget big enough to shoot anywhere in the world decide on New Zealand?
The answer: New Zealand is hands down one of the most beautiful places on this planet. It’s one of those truth is stranger than fiction scenarios. The scenery looks computer-generated. It’s unbelievable. Almost, unreal.
But it is real. And there is more to do here than just stare mouth agape at the incredible landscape. If you’re looking for adventure, South Island has it, and if you’d rather just relax, South Island can provide that experience too. In short, New Zealand’s South Island might just be the best destination in the world. Tweet this! Here’s 6 reasons why.
1. Skydiving at Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier, a large glacier that dead ends at a lush rainforest, has been voted the second-best destination for skydiving, behind Mt. Everest no less! The scenery here looks even better from a bird’s eye view. You can book a dive from 9,000 to 16,000 feet. There’s beautiful accommodation at the foot of the glacier too.
2. Shotover Canyon Swing Queenstown
Bungy jumping is so 90s! For a new kind of terrifying rush, you should try the Shotover Canyon Swing in Queenstown. The swing has actually been around since 2002, so you can rest assured it’s been well tested! Plenty of thrill seekers have gone before you and survived to tell their exhilarating story. It’s safe, fun and fabulous. From a cliff-mounted platform you’ll freefall 60m and then swing like a giant 200m pendulum before being winched back up to the platform over jaw dropping scenery. Bragging rights permitted!
3. The World’s Steepest Residential Street
There isn’t much to say about the suburb of North East Valley in Dunedin. That is, except for Baldwin Street. This road holds the Guinness World Record for being the steepest residential street in the world with an average slope of 19°, and some sections of the road are even steeper than that!
You can bust your lungs trying to run up the hill, or take a chance and stimulate your norepinephrine receptors by riding a bike or skateboard down this steep grade. Good luck!
4. Marlborough Wine Country
It’s time to cool down after all that adventure with a well-deserved drink. The vineyards of Marlborough are responsible for producing more than half of New Zealand’s wine. The consistent contrast between warm days and cool nights make for ideal grape-growing conditions. Located in the northern part of South Island, if you take trip here you absolutely must try the Sauvignon blanc, said to be the world’s best. Start your wine tour from Blenheim.
5. Welcome Flat Hot Pools
It’s a bit of a hike to get here, approximately 7 hours walk, but the destination is worth it. The mineral rich water of these geothermal pools is incredibly refreshing, and the heat really soothes sore muscles. Best of all, while you’re kickin’ back, you can appreciate the picturesque snow-capped mountains that surround you. The area also has a campsite, so if you want to stay a few days, go ahead and pitch a tent.
6. Blanket Bay Luxury Lodge
On the shores of the beautiful Lake Wakatipu – 45 minutes from Queenstown – lies Blanket Bay. To describe this lodge as luxurious is a massive understatement. Everything about this place is beyond 5 star, from the accommodation to cuisine. And, of course, the breathtaking scenery of South Island New Zealand. It’s majestic and soul-soothing. In the words of the lodge itself… Here we practise the art of pure relaxation. Take our money now!
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