Boating Guides / South Island New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand

South Island, New Zealand is sure to delight any boater: try whale watching in addition to visiting Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Abel Tasman National Park, and Fiordland National Park.&nbsp;From wineries to wildlife, from lush plains to glacial valleys, from rugged coastlines to untouched islands, South Island flourishes with nature’s purest manifestations. For centuries, the Maori crossed the Cook Strait on boats only to hunt or stock up on pounamu (nephrite), a type of jade with which they made jewelry.&nbsp;<span> Trek on one of the <a target="_blank" href="">Great Walks</a> of New Zealand, spend a relaxing evening fishing, or dive and snorkel to discover the vibrant underwater world. Along the sailing routes, you’ll encounter numerous </span>cafes and restaurants offering delectable local food and drink along with magnificent views.



Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound

Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound are located in one of the most rugged areas to the southwest of the island. It’s not easy to get there and the weather remains unpleasant for most parts of the year. But the beauty encompassed by these fjords makes these a must-visit place in the South Island. Take a South Island boat rental and get amazed by the high-rising cliffs rising out of the sea.

Salt on the Pier

This café-cum-restaurant-cum-bar has the distinction of being the only one in Christchurch that’s located right on the pier. The Pacific Ocean literally laps against the doorstep while you relish a tasty meal in the atmospheric setting. If there’s one thing (other than the location, of course!) that Salt on the Pier is most known for, it has to be its amazing service. The staff is very friendly and professional and will do anything it takes to make your dining experience memorable.

Portside Restaurant & Bar

The Portside restaurant and bar is situated right on the Waterfront at the harbor in the Oamaru region. You can dine in style whether inside the spacious restaurant or enjoy the company of the spectacular vistas at the deck - you decide! The restaurant is known for its local cuisine: everything from fresh mussels to North Otago lamb is included in the menu. What’s more, you can dine all day with the restaurant remaining open from 11 am. Have light snacks, a sumptuous lunch or a dazzling dinner- Portside restaurant has everything to suit your palate.

Abel Tasman National Park

Despite being the smallest national park in the country, Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most popular. The Great Walk that runs through the park it is the busiest of all nine Great Walks of New Zealand as it is easy and runs through a wild but benign landscape. Walk among the rocky outcrops, listen to the songs of different bird species, and meet, from time to time, with a paradise beach of golden sands whose turquoise waters inevitably attract the sweating walker.

The Styx, Nelson

If you are on the lookout for a comfortable setting right on the Wakefield Quay, The Styx Kitchen & Bar offers breathtaking views of the Tasman Bay. Both locals and tourists alike enjoy visiting the place, which is conveniently situated between the Tahuna Beach and downtown Nelson. The Styx is famous for its fresh cakes, muffins, scones and other bakery delights baked fresh by their chefs every morning. The seafood preparations vary with the daily catch and are always prepared to satiate your palate. The service is very friendly making this one of the strongest contenders amongst the finest South Island dining hotspots.

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is the largest natural reserve in the country. Its forests, glaciers and fjords have hidden animals believed to be extinct, such as the takahe. The foothills of Te Anau, the "great" town of Fiordland, smell like wet wool mixed with rain and shearing. The mountains rise majestically there and the ravines boast of sheer beauty. The unevenness and sinuosities of the park keep a disordered balance that reveals the harmony of chaos. Navigate the fjords on a South Island boat rental, visit the firefly caves, and discover the virgin landscape on a range of trails through the park.


Boating is one of the most sought after South Island activities to enjoy the tranquil natural surroundings of the rivers, streams and lakes.  Lake Brunner is the largest lake on the West Coast and is popularly called the region’s water playground. You can enjoy kayaking in its waters, rowing yourself in the crystal-clear waters.  If you admire the charm of the golden sands and turquoise waters in the amazing setting of lush green rainforests, Abel Tasman National Park is the best place to go in a water taxi!


Amongst the popular South Island activities, fishing is a major attraction. Lake Brunner is a popular trout fishing destination in the country. Numerous streams and nearby rivers are also frequented by fishing enthusiasts. The other popular areas for fishing include Nelson, West Coast and Canterbury.


If you are experienced with diving or want to learn the sport, you can explore the beautiful Marlborough Sounds by diving. What’s more, numerous wrecks including the world famous Mikhail Lermontov wreck call out passionate explorers to witness the magic and mystery of the underwater world. You can also take a yacht or hire a boat to explore the region or visit the diving hotspots. Kaikoura is considered the pilgrimage for surfers and divers as well!

Dolphin Watching

If you fancy swimming with the Dolphins, this is your chance! Kaikoura is considered the marine tourism capital of the country. It is here that you can watch Dolphins, Sperm Whales, Fur Seals and other exotic marine wildlife. Akaroa Harbour is a beautiful spot where you can witness the majestic dolphins and even enjoy swimming with them! You can also hire a kayak to explore the region at your own pace.

The Watershed Bar and Restaurant

One of the most visited South Island dining places, the Watershed Bar and Restaurant has a unique decor that lends it a homely feeling. The restaurant offers spectacular waterfront views that form a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere where you can unwind and relax after a tiring day. The food is delicious and the service, friendly. Sunday mornings feature kids’ entertainment where children can get their faces painted while you enjoy a sumptuous meal with refreshing desserts.


The PLATO Cafe is situated on the harbor-front of Dunedin and boasts of its fine selection of local produce and drinks even including their own special boutique beer! The cafe is famous for its seafood. Showcasing a beautiful collection of household articles from the 60s and 70s, the cafe is very atmospheric and has a charm of its own! Visit the place for an unforgettable South Island dining experience!

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