Punakaiki Pancake Rocks + Paparoa National Park

The  Great Coast Road between Greymouth and Westport on the West Coast of  the South Island was recently named one of the world's greatest drives  by Lonely Planet.This  wild, practically uninhabited stretch of coastline has near-mythical  status in New Zealand, thanks mostly to its varied and unspoiled  geography, down-to-earth locals and rich history. With  the pounding waves of the Tasman Sea on one side and the tropical  rainforest of the Paparoa National Park on the other, the drive between  Greymouth and Westport is punctuated by the famous limestone formations  and blowholes at Punakaiki.

Strong women.
Photo by Keith Jonson / Unsplash

Don't miss: Head up to Denniston above Westport for stunning views of the coast  before descending into the historic underground coal mine, or tackle the  caves at nearby Charleston.

Milford Sound + Fiordland

The South Island has no shortage of incredible scenery, but Milford Sound and Fiordland are something else. Milford  Sound, a fiord carved by Ice Age glaciers, is the jewel of Fiordland  National Park, a 1.2 million hectare wonderland encompassing mountains,  lakes, fiords and rainforests.

Rudyard Kipling called it the 'eighth  wonder of the world.'The  scenery here is on such a super-sized scale towering cliffs,  cascading waterfalls, seemingly bottomless waterways that you'd be  forgiven for thinking it was some kind of computer-generated trickery.

Queenstown

Queenstown sets the standard for all resort party towns.Its  global reputation as a bucket-list destination comes back to three  things: location, location, location. Queenstown sits on the shores of  Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges like The  Remarkables. While  there's plenty to see and do in the immediate area -- especially if  you're into skiing, hiking, jet-boating, bungee jumping and skydiving --  it's is also the gateway to picture-perfect towns like Glenorchy,  Wanaka, Arrowtown and Alexandra. A  'continental' climate with hot, dry summers makes for excellent  wine-growing conditions - the central Otago region around Queenstown is  famed for its pinot noir.

Don't miss: Head up to Denniston above Westport for stunning views of the coast  before descending into the historic underground coal mine, or tackle the  caves at nearby Charleston.

Milford Sound + Fiordland

The South Island has no shortage of incredible scenery, but Milford Sound and Fiordland are something else. Milford  Sound, a fiord carved by Ice Age glaciers, is the jewel of Fiordland  National Park, a 1.2 million hectare wonderland encompassing mountains,  lakes, fiords and rainforests.

Amelia W. Reed

Amelia W. Reed

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