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James Cameron's Top 5 South Island Experiences

The filmmaker shares his South Island highlights

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1 – Kaikoura

It’s an amazing place. There’s a deep valley under the ocean there so there’s an upswelling of nutrients and the place is just going crazy offshore. You’ve got dolphins, pilot whales and sperm whales feeding on squid down in the Kaikoura Canyon so you can see just about every kind of marine life in there. 

2 – Fiordland

Take a scenic flight across Fiordland, one of the most dramatic and beautiful regions of the South Island. The views of Fiordland from the air are just breathtaking. There are spectacular mountains and waterfalls absolutely everywhere but especially around places like Milford Sound. 

3 – Abel Tasman

It’s not difficult to find great hikes in Abel Tasman National Park. You can kayak in the ocean before you start your hike in the forest. You can do both in one day because everything is fairly close together. 


4 – Queenstown

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, jet-boat around Queenstown – there are so many variations available to choose from. I think adventure is in the genes of this country. The jet-boat was invented here and every personal watercraft, every jet ski in the world, is all derived from the DNA of that. 

5 – Christchurch

Rent a car and just start driving around Christchurch. It’s amazing and if you drive in October, everything is in bloom, all the wild flowers are on the hills and there’s so much colour. The locals are also just so easy to talk to. The people in Christchurch are so helpful and will take the time to give you directions and will start conversations with you about where you’re from. 





Get a bird's-eye view of the whales and dolphins with Kaikoura Helicopters. Visit

Experience a real insight into Māori culture with a private tour. Visit



Cruise the Marlborough Sounds aboard the three-cabin charter, MV Tarquin, accompanied by a private crew and chef. Visit

Enjoy a private tasting with a member of Cloudy Bay's winemaking team at The Shack, the winery's on-site guesthouse – with back vintages available on request. Visit


Banks Peninsula

The Tricolour still flies above the quaint French-founded fishing port of Akaroa, where you can cruise out through the heads to catch a glimpse of the world's rarest dolphins with Sidney the dolphin-spotting dog. Visit

On the far side of the peninsula, Annandale Lodge's four distinctive properties provide private retreats nested between the rolling hills and brilliant blue waters of the Pacific. Visit



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