During winter in Queenstown, the city itself only gets two days per month of snow falling downtown. What’s more, Queenstown’s elevation is barely a thousand feet above sea level. It’s curious, then, that this South Island resort town is a global magnet for snowboarding and often considered one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere.
Visit Dunedin in the middle of July and you’ll question if it’s still Polynesia. This town, after all, is located on an island that’s part of the “South Pacific,” but the brisk weather and occasional snow make it anything but sunny and tropical. Here on the South Island’s southeastern coast, winter lows from July-August hover just above freezing, and high temperatures generally struggle to break above 50°F. Heavy snow is rare, however—especially along the coast—and a light, coastal band of clouds tend to linger over the shore.
For the the native Maori who first settled the mountainous stretch of the South Island, towering Mt. Cook was known as “Aoraki,”—the revered, indomitable, “cloud piercer.” It’s an apt name for the glacially-carved mountain that rises over 12,000 feet, seeing as its pointy, icy spire is higher than any other peak in the surrounding Southern Alps. And, […]
In any corner of the world, one of the best ways to get the community pulse is to stroll the local markets. Down here, away from the sightseeing buses and tours and heavily-marketed attractions, local vendors sell local crafts and speak the local truth. Looking for a good lead on where to eat or an underrated attraction? Or simply some cheeky conversation about local politics and news? Head to the local market stalls—where seemingly pedestrian browsing and shopping can strangely spawn your trip’s best photos or memories. Life here on the South Island is no different, so here are some of the best markets near Christchurch for gauging the local pulse.
Sandwiched between Queenstown, Cromwell and Clyde, New Zealand’s Otago wine region is officially classified as the southernmost wine region in the world. While known for its white wines, such as Riesling and Chardonnay, it’s the peppery Pinot noir that put the region on the map. Aside from being the highest — and driest — wine region in New Zealand, it’s also one of the most rapidly growing; in the mid 1990s, there were only a dozen wineries in all of Central Otago, and now that number is quickly closing in on over 100.
Akaroa is one of New Zealand’s most fascinating little corners. Not only does this town have a French influence that led to a spat with England, but the harbor is actually a submerged volcano that’s covered by the chilly Pacific. Surrounding this cold-water, protected volcano are gently rolling hills, where wineries, sheep farms, and bed and breakfasts are linked by winding dirt roads.