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Where to go south

In a year of travel plan disruptions, shake tradition and choose a new place to explore, a place closer to home. In the South Island, options abound. Here are Metropol’s picks of where to go, when going south.



Tucked down the southeast corner of the South Island, The Catlins region is abundant with wildlife, forests, sandy beaches, waterfalls and farmland. Venture along hundreds of kilometres of rugged coastline to enjoy quiet bays and beaches, or get out in nature and explore hidden gems like Nugget Point, Purakaunui Falls, Cathedral Caves and McLean Falls.

On the otherside of the lower South Island, Fiordland could be another world. The region’s tagline, “Beyond Belief” is a fitting description for the jaw dropping natural environment which is sure to dazzle even the most seasoned traveller. Take a multi-day tramp on one of the great walks, or opt for a relaxing cruise through the Milford or Doubtful Sounds

Everyone’s heard of Queenstown and Wanaka, which are wonderful locations offering the best of adventure, luxury and hospitality. Soak up the summer alpine atmosphere from an award-winning winery, explore the exquisite views with a hilltop hike or gondola ride, or even a scenic flight. Or, venture even further south with a trip to Te Anau or Manapouri.

Not just a thoroughfare on the way south, Lake Tekapo is a destination all on its own. With accommodation, hospitality and entertainment all covered – it’s as easy as packing the car and just turning up. From bike hire and boat rides, to star gazing, hot pools and simply enjoying the view – Tekapo can be a one-stop-shop. Or, the perfect base from which to a take day trip to Mt Cook, Ohau and Twizel, where yet more spectacular sights await.

With walks for every fitness and ability level snaking through the incredible Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, this is a tramping enthusiasts paradise. From hour-long walks, to day trip and overnighters – visit the local visitors centre and speak with the friendly and informative Department of Conservation staff to plan your escapade. Or, relax in luxury at the Hermitage or explore the mountaineering museum.


Mt Cook masterpiece: Lone Pine Building

The remarkable 600sqm Mt Cook Homestead is a magnificent addition the breath-taking Aoraki Mount Cook environs.


Tasked with bringing RW Design’s plans to life, award-winning Tekapo to Timaru-based Lone Pine Building reused the original homestead’s Rimu as well as recycled timber beams, ceilings, door frames and skirting boards.

Teams worked in four day, 50-hour blocks for 12 months to bring the masterpiece to life – including erecting framing and roofing during a wet and windy July 2019.

Locally owned and operated by qualified Master Builders, Jason Gordon and Andrew Bell, Lone Pine Building delivers quality results – including being the only South Canterbury-based company to win Supreme out of 90 Canterbury homes in the 2019 Master Builder House of the Year Awards.


Alpine luxury reimagined: RW Design

Heritage meets modernity in a stunning, self-sustainable rebuilt Mt Cook station entered into Master Builders House of the Year 2020. The collaboration of RW Design and Lone Pine Building has resulted in a luxury homestead with uninterrupted views of Aoraki Mt Cook.

The idea for the single-level homestead came from its stunning alpine surroundings, and from a desire to use, and reuse, natural and recycled materials.

“The location and dramatic landscape along with the exposure to extreme weather conditions combined with the client preference for a practical/functional farmhouse led to the homestead style solution,” says Robin White of RW Design.

The 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom home is a stunning tribute to natural Aotearoa, with many local timbers, included Rimu salvaged from the original homestead, being used.

Inside, a great ambience of rugged simplicity creates the perfect place to escape the stress of day-to-day activities.

Outside, the vast outdoor areas are more than up to the job of playing host to your guests, not to mention the stunning 360-degree view of South Island high country.

For more information on how RW Design can help with your building project visit the website or give them a call.