7 Gram-Worthy South Island Destinations for the Summer Holiday You Deserve

The mercury is rising, barbeques lighting up, backyard cricket battles, sun, sand, and sunscreen. And of course, god-awful Christmas carols are playing in every store you set foot in! Summer is well and truly here. With that in mind and if you are like many and haven’t planned your holiday adventures yet, now is the time to get onto it. And how can you go on vacation these days without snapping the entire experience? Here are 7 holiday destinations that you better capture on Instagram this summer. #nofilter necessary

                                                                                                                                      ‘That Tree’ – Wanaka   Source: lakewanaka.co.nz


Starting with the adventure tourism mecca of New Zealand, the resort town is buzzing throughout the year with heightened activity come Christmas & New Year.

The tourist-laden town attracts much appeal from holiday goers and adventure seekers alike with a hype and reputation that is difficult to match in this country and even globally.  Skydiving, Bungy-jumping and Shotover Jet. Summer attractions that are guaranteed to thrill the adrenaline-junkie in us all. Or you can take a leisurely stroll, latte in hand on the shores of the Steamer Basin, or queue up for a famous Fergburger.




Think of Queenstown, but low-key, laid-back, with a friendly small town feel and charm. The little brother to snap-heavy Queenstown, Wanaka boasts adventure appeal, boutique shopping and endless trails for hikes and bikes. Check out Mount Iron, Cardrona Hotel and ‘That Wanaka Tree’ in the shallows of Lake Wanaka – definitely one for the gram! For more of a challenge climb Roy’s Peak. The 5-hour hike is a tough ask, but you’ll be duly rewarded at the summit with the best view in the South Island, guaranteed. An Instagrammers dream!

And I haven’t even mentioned that Richie McCaw got married here – do you need any more convincing than that!?



Milford Sound

You’ve seen the breath-taking scenery and landscape, now is the time to experience what many call the 8th wonder of the world. As the Real Journeys website describes, the world-renowned natural wonder wows with towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and amazing wildlife.

An overnight cruise won’t come cheap, but the experience will be worth it and just think of the amazing photos to result.  You know it’s something special when the reviews claim ‘pictures do not do the beauty of the place justice’ and ‘beautiful, even in the rain’. Even Bruce from Ranfurly provides an endorsement claiming ‘no one goes there anymore, always packed with too many tourists.’




Wine! Explore the abundance of vineyards in the Marlborough region. A peaceful, relaxing, food haven. Kick back and have a spot of lunch to complement your Sav Blanc. The perfect retreat to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Blenheim also happens to bask in the sunlight, boasting dry, hot summers. What better way to enjoy your wine!



Lake Tekapo

A glorious lake and snow-capped mountains, a picture-perfect scene, located in the Mackenzie Basin. An appealing spot both day and night, you’ve got the lake and surrounds, Mt John and the well-snapped Church of the Good Sheppard to fill in your day before stargazing at night. Even if the weather is not ideal head to the hot pools, open throughout the day and night to relax and unwind. A welcome retreat throughout the holiday season.



Abel Tasman National Park & Golden Bay

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches. Golden Sand and clear blue water. Need I say more. Secluded away from the town of Motueka, Golden Bay can be reached via the scenic drive over Takaka Hill or Marble Mountain as its commonly known.

Abel Tasman National Park is a nature lovers dream. Hiking, kayaking, and wildlife galore this is a must-do and one to tick off the bucket list sooner rather than later.



Central Otago Rail Trail

Go off the beaten track and explore Central Otago via cycleway. The trail can be started from Clyde or Middlemarch, winding 150kms through the heart of Central Otago. Not too taxing, the ride can be managed by all ages and levels of ability, with the discovery of historical gold-rush villages along the way.

Make sure you take the occasional pit-stop throughout your journey, indulging in a Speights or two or a Central Otago Pinot – to experience true Southern hospitality at its finest.


With the festive season, fast approaching make sure you embrace summer and take the holiday you deserve. While many of the attractions highlighted will come at a cost, you will gain a money-well-spent appreciation once you have endeavoured to treat yourself. Experiences matter. You don’t want to spend your summer lying on the couch watching everyone else enjoy themselves from your Instagram account now do you?


Now to think of a caption for each of these snaps…


Apply here for an NZCU South Travel Loan to experience the summer you deserve.