South Island, New Zealand Vacation Packages

From wildlife and wineries to glacial valleys and star-filled skies, nature flourishes on New Zealand's South Island.

Now, you can get there faster with new daily nonstop Delta® flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland International Airport (AKL) from October 28, 2023 - March 29,2024, plus three-times-weekly service begins April 1, 2024.

Flight routes subject to change without notice.


Explore New Zealand's South Island

Welcome (kia ora) to where the Southern Alps and rugged coastlines merge with sleepy plains. The South Island’s landscapes are famous, and the locals are down-to-earth and friendly. From amazing snow-capped mountains and pristine glacial lakes to idyllic white- and black-sand beaches, New Zealand's South Island is the ultimate adventure destination.

With three national parks on its doorstep, the Nelson-Tasman area is a hub of outdoor activities — from walks along the Golden Bay to the scenic views of the South Island's northernmost point, Cape Farewell. From wildlife encounters to relaxing boat cruises, the whole family will enjoy a wide range of activities, including Cable Bay Adventure Park and Pic’s Peanut Butter World, where kids can have a go at making their own peanut butter.

In Christchurch and beyond, breathtaking views are found everywhere — from Banks Peninsula and Lake Ellesmere to Lyttelton Harbour and the beaches of Pegasus Bay. See these sights by helicopter, gondola, train, kayak or cycling adventure. Plus, day trips outside the city afford more awe-inspiring scenes, including the village of Akaroa’s marine life, Hanmer Springs’ thermal pool and The Devil's Punchbowl Falls.

In Queenstown, bungee jump from the iconic Kawarau Bridge, or feel the rush of a river-boarding adventure on Kawarau River. A vacation to Queenstown isn’t complete without trying gold panning at one of the historic mining villages, sampling the famous Pinot Noir in the Central Otago wine region, or sinking into one of the many natural, hot thermal pools around the city. Take a day trip to Milford Sound for a boat cruise or kayaking adventure.

No visit is complete without a stop at Larnach Castle in Dunedin. It’s New Zealand’s only castle and has been carefully restored to its original Victorian grandeur, still serving high tea at 3:00 pm every day. Climb up the tower for sweeping views of the Otago Peninsula.

If you are planning a multi-destination itinerary, keep in mind that distances may appear short, but travel time may take longer than expected due to the terrain and ferry service between the North and South Islands. If you'd like to combine visiting two or more areas, call our vacation experts at 1-800-800-1504.

You’ll find boutiques, department stores and large shopping malls in New Zealand. There is a wider range in bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington, but shopping in smaller towns is a chance to find unique pieces from local designers and artists.   

In Christchurch, shoppers will find lots of European flair at classy, yet edgy shops, which boast cutting-edge fashion trends and authentic Kiwi fashion pieces. The Tannery is a retail hub dipped in local history. Discover fashion ranging from well-tailored clothing to locally made trinkets. And on Saturdays, head down to the Creative Queenstown Art & Craft Market for authentic New Zealand goods and live music. 

From traditional Māori crafts to handblown glass, paintings, ceramics or sculptures, there is a huge range of arts and crafts to buy in New Zealand. Gift shops attached to museums or art galleries are great for finding special pieces. Look out for signs pointing to artists’ studios on your travels too.  

Get to know Kiwi food and discover the dynamic flavors of the South Island. Try Central Otago’s top food experiences like wine and cellar door dining, picking your own cherries if you visit between December and March, sampling locally made artisan cheeses at farmers markets or trying local favorites like lamb with gooseberry chutney or braised beef cheek. 

Many cafes and bars in Queenstown are ready to serve treats like giant burgers, fresh sushi, traditional hangi (meat and root vegetables cooked in a pit) and the local favorite — crayfish. Beer aficionados will find a wide range of craft beer breweries to choose from, and nightlife in Queenstown has everything from ice bars and pub crawls to local DJs.

For dessert, try some Hokey Pokey ice cream. The caramel-glazed honeycomb will make your favorite flavor that much more savory. Your beverage options are just as delicious. Start your day at a craft coffee barista, and finish it enjoying the legendary nightlife of a cozy wine bar or pub.

Our elevated vacation experiences include round-trip airfare to Auckland aboard Delta or a partner airline:

  • Seasonal service from Los Angeles (LAX) connecting in Sydney (SYD).
  • Nonstop daily service from Los Angeles (LAX), October 28, 2023 - March 31, 2024.
  • For assistance with booking flights between New Zealand's North Island and South Island or to/from Sydney, Australia, please call our vacation experts at 1-800-800-1504.

If you rent a car at the Auckland airport upon arrival, you can take a scenic drive down through the North Island to the town of Wellington, where you can catch a Cook Strait vehicle ferry to the South Island and continue your adventures there at your own pace. Or if you fly into Christchurch or Queenstown, you can rent a car to explore the South Island.

Cook Strait is a bridgeless body of water between the North and the South Islands. Apart from air travel, the most popular way of getting between New Zealand’s North and South Islands is via ferry.

Regular passenger and vehicle Cook Strait ferries depart and arrive in the North Island city of Wellington and the South Island town of Picton, and a passenger ferry links the South Island with Stewart Island.

Elsewhere around the country, you’ll find ferries traveling between outlying islands and smaller water taxis in some locations for quick and easy trips.

†Flight routings subject to change without notice.

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