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Tailor-make your trip to the Southern Lakes

Clear air, crystal waters, imposing peaks and ancient forests: these are the elements that make up the majority of the scenery in the majestic region of the Southern Lakes. Towns such as Queenstown and Wanaka rest on azure lakeshores, surrounded on all sides by towering peaks that dominate the skyline.

Outdoor living and activities

The thirst for outdoor living is even stronger here than in other parts of the country, and the local thrill-seekers are constantly developing new and exciting ways to experience the superb scenery.

Adrenalin aside, the landscape beckons, and invites a wealth of opportunities for walking, horse riding, boat trips, scenic flights and 4x4 exploration.

The Fiordland National Park

This is also the gateway to Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest. Its remote isolation has encouraged endemism, with over 700 species of plant that are found only in this area.

It is also a haven for wildlife, and a cruise here is often rewarded with sightings of rare penguins, dolphins and seals. Three of the country’s ‘great walks’ are contained within the park’s boundaries, as well as a host of day walks that can be conquered solo or arranged as a guided trip.

Whether you take to the air, set sail or head off on foot, you will find that whatever the season this region will truly inspire you.

Start planning your trip to the Southern Lakes

Start thinking about your experience. These itineraries are simply suggestions for how you could enjoy some of the same experiences as our specialists. They’re just for inspiration, because your trip will be created around your particular tastes.

Highlights of the Southern Lakes

Hall Arm, Doubtful Sound

Take an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound

In one of the most remote corners of Fiordland lies Doubtful Sound. By far the best way to explore it is on an overnight cruise. Look out for the resident wildlife including a pod of bottlenose dolphins.

Glenorchy, New Zealand

Relax in Glenorchy

Around an hour's drive from Queenstown, Glenorchy couldn't be more different from the buzzing ski town. A sleepy village set amongst the mountains the scenery here is spectacular and, perhaps some of the best in the South Island.

Lake Manapouri

Visit Ata Whenua in Te Anau

Sit back in this specially built cinema in Te Anau with a glass of wine in hand. Ata Whenua – Shadowland (a 32 minute film) brings you the Fiordland World Heritage Status Wilderness you would otherwise never see.

Some of our favourite places in the Southern Lakes

Autumn colours of Arrowtown

Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a beautifully-preserved gold-mining town just 20 miles from Queenstown and shares its dramatic backdrop, but the pace of life slows down considerably in the quiet streets, lined with deciduous trees, sheltering wooden churches and colonial buildings.

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Rivalling Queenstown with its picture-perfect setting, Wanaka sits on the southern willow-clad shore of Lake Wanaka and is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

View from the Skyline Gondola, Queenstown

Queenstown

Few towns in the world - if any - have so dramatic a setting as Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and backed by the constantly dramatic ‘Remarkables’ Mountains.

Accommodation options in the West Coast