The New Zealand South Island Travel Experience: Beyond Queenstown

Last May, I was fortunate enough to have visited the South Island of New Zealand. After a stressful Spring semester in New York City, I was in need of some R&R. I must say, this vacation is the best one so far. We were just driving through towns for 8 days, basking in the majestic views that the South Island has to offer, and eating delicious food which were mostly prepared by our hospitable hosts. Of course, this vacation wouldn’t have been a fantastic one without Aroha Tours. Veronika created our itinerary, and Steve drove us everywhere throughout our trip. My family and I are so grateful for this meaningful experience they’ve arranged for us. They made sure that we enjoyed every part of our trip despite the unfavorable weather conditions.

Where to go and What to see:


Mount Cook National Park

Initially, we were gonna ride a helicopter to see the Tasman Valley and Tasman Glacier, but as I’ve mentioned, the weather was not as what we have hoped it to be. We opted for the Tasman Valley 2.5 Hr 4WD Tour instead. Although we didn’t get a bird’s eye view of Mt. Cook National Park, this tour still gave our eyes a treat.

Lake Pukaki

Not too far from Mt. Cook National Park is Lake Pukaki. There isn’t much to do, but it’s definitely worth the stop. We just came here to get some fresh air and enjoy the sound of the waves.

Fiordland National Park

This massive park is one that cannot be missed! It offers a lot of beautiful sights to see, and parts of it are accessible when you board the Doubtful Sound cruise or Milford Sound Cruise. We were lucky enough to see its entirety during our helicopter ride from Dock Bay Lodge.

Doubtful Sound

We were scheduled to take the cruise for Milford Sound, but due to the gloomy weather, it had to suspend its operations for the day. Luckily, the Doubtful Sound cruise did not–so we boarded the ferry for this day trip. It was an extensive one, but I really enjoyed the scenery and the conversations that I had with my family during the ride. This experience really tested our ability to fully unplug and just enjoy each other’s company, while marveling at the views.



Queenstown is the most famous city in the South Island, and don’t get me wrong, it really is a fantastic city! But its neighboring town deserves just as much recognition. Glenorchy may not have the restaurants and establishments that are present in Queenstown, though it elicits a magic that can only be found in this quaint town.




Mt. Cook Lakeside Retreat

With perfect views of Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki, Mt. Cook Lakeside Retreat is the place to be when you’re looking for a great recharge. It boasts an expansive space with numerous amenities: a mini fitness room, sauna, and an outdoor hot tub! Apart from that, there is an in-house chef that makes huge, delicious meals. Our stay could not have been more perfect! Thanks to Luke and Kaye. Tip: Use the telescope! The stars can be clearly seen at night.

Silverpine Lodge

Sitting on a high hill, Silverpine Lodge offers fantastic views of Lake Hawea. What’s even better is that each room has incredible access to the views. This house has a cozy atmosphere; I didn’t wanna leave at one point. But the best part of our stay was our gracious hosts. Mike and Sue went above and beyond, making our stay a relaxing and delightful experience. Fact: Sue is an amazing cook!

Dock Bay Lodge

Dock Bay Lodge is a beautiful house overlooking Lake Te Anau and parts of Fiordland National Park. Its location also makes it the perfect accommodation for those who do not want to be too far from civilization. Arrowtown is just a short ride from the house. Note: Alpacas may be seen somewhere close to the house.


Blanket Bay Lodge

Offering one of the most splendid accommodations in the world, Blanket Bay Lodge has an unparalleled service that reminded me of the goodness that life offers. The lodges and views are gorgeous, but what really made the experience phenomenal was the staff. They were so courteous! From food to pillows and blankets, they made sure that they accommodated everything we needed.

Food Guides, Travel

Apr 28, 2018

Hey there!
I’m Diane Lee.

I am an NYC based content creator, filmmaker, gluten-free foodie, and mental health advocate.

more about me

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Hey there!
I’m Diane Lee.

I am an NYC based content creator, 
filmmaker, gluten-free foodie, and 
mental health advocate.

more about me








mental health

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