Journey to the Heart of the South Island: Natural Beauty and Wildlife

If the very name of the country – New Zealand – has become synonymous with the diversity of natural wealth, the main reason for this is the South Island. Abundant with wild beauty, deserted and, at the same time, convenient, thoughtful and comfortable. Here is an incredible amount of opportunities for extreme tourism. People come to New Zealand for adrenaline and realization of their dreams. Everyone climbs somewhere, jumps from somewhere, gives in to the will of the elements… There is a lot of space, few people, the air is invigorating, and the sun through the thinning ozone layer, smiling mischievously, pushes you to accomplishments and helps you fight your fears.

It is New Zealand – the birthplace of bungee jumping and a unique place for fans of all kinds of jumping from bridges, bungee jumping, riding on mountain rivers at high speeds, climbing high into the mountains and diving into the depths of the sea …

The northern tip of South Island is the famous Marlborough wine region. Thanks to the maximum number of sunny days and the local climate, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is preferred by many New World wine connoisseurs. In the region, one winery is constantly replaced by another, and each offers a variety of ways to diversify your vacation, from biking to the vineyards and tastings to participating in the harvest and wine production.

As a gastronomic addition, there is also the crumbling town of Havelock, which since the end of the XIX century has won the title of the world capital of mussels and retains it to this day. Small-populated, quiet, drowning in greenery, the village on the shore of the bay daily exports tons of green mussels to the whole world.

A former Scottish colony, the town of Dunedin has preserved the architectural heritage of Victorian England. The gem of the town is the old railway station, whose corridors and halls are roamed by costumed characters who transport passengers back several centuries. From here you can take a steam train trip through the picturesque gorges. Another attraction of Dunedin is the steepest street in the world: with a length of 359 meters, the difference in height between the beginning and end of the street is 80 meters! Those who dare to climb up, enterprising townspeople offer to buy a certificate confirming the “ascent”.

Our next stop is the city of Christchurch, which took the brunt of a powerful earthquake in 2011. Many parts of the city have still not been rebuilt, and the Cathedral was the main victim. Symbolically, the name of the city means Christ Church.

The main wealth of Christchurch is a unique botanical garden with collections of rare, existing only in the conditions of the New Zealand climate, flowers, trees and plants.

At the entrance you are greeted by an immense tree, velvety to the touch, with powerful branches spreading out in all directions; a river runs through the whole territory, which you can continue your sightseeing by boat or kayaks; important birds, the real owners of the territory, fly and walk around… Idyll.

But, enough about the cities. Still, the main thing for which one heads to the South is beyond them. We are approaching the self-proclaimed eighth wonder of the world, the Fjordland National Park, which occupies the entire southwestern part of the island. The head of Fjordland is the picturesque Milford Sound. A grand fjord surrounded by rocky mountains with plunging waterfalls. The fjord was created approximately 20,000 years ago by a glacier heading towards the Tasman Sea. You can explore it in different ways: from the ground, from a bird’s eye view, by water – by kayak or boat. We opted for the latter option and didn’t regret it at all. The feeling that you experience when you connect with the natural perfection can’t be conveyed by any words. Dolphins swim in the water, seals bask on the rocks, mountain parrots kea soar overhead, and the idyllic silence is broken only by the rumble of waterfalls. Surrounded by the mountain ranges of the Southern Alps, blue-white glaciers and untouched forests, this fjord is truly a miracle!

It is not surprising that New Zealanders are friendly and carefree, devoid of aplomb and arrogance, not mercantile. Living in such conditions, it is simply impossible to be different! New Zealanders call their lifestyle kiwi lifestyle, by analogy with one of the symbols of the country – the flightless kiwi bird, which can be found only in this territory. Many other representatives of the local flora and fauna are also endemic, so the official policy of the state is to carefully protect the closed ecosystem.