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South Island Main Cities

The South Island is the largest of the two main islands of New Zealand, but the least densely populated. The Southern Alps run through the middle of the island, separating it into the East and West Coast, with very little inhabitants located in the middle. The West Coast is wild and mostly untamed with cascading glaciers and vast forests. The East Coast is bordered by cities and towns with a huge range eco-tourism attractions.

Nelson - Nelson is a sunny city located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. With a population of about 60,000, Nelson is home to the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum, and is near to three National Parks - the Abel Tasman National Park, the Kahurangi National Park and the Nelson Lakes National Park. More Information

Blenheim - Blenheim has a population of about 30,000 people and is well known for its many wineries. The town enjoys on of New Zealand's sunniest climates, with hot dry summers. Attractions include the Omaka Aerodrome - the setting for the biennial Classic Fighters Marlborough airshow, the annual "Blues, Brews and BBQ's" festival and the nearby town of Picton.

Kaikoura - Kaikoura is a popular holiday town, nestled between the Kaikoura Coast and the Seaward Kaikoura Range. The town has a permanent population of about 2,000 and is famous for its crayfish, southern fur seals, albatrosses and other marine wildlife. There are a range of walking tracks and you can join a cruise and swim with dolphins and whales.

Greymouth - Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast of New Zealand. With a population of about 10,000 people and is located at the mouth of the Grey River. Local attractions include Lake Brunner and the nearby Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. Local activities include fishing, hiking, boating and gold mining tours.

Christchurch - Christchurch City is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. The city has a population of about 380,000 and is known as the "Garden City" The city suffered greatly with several large earthquakes in 2011 - 2012, and is still in the process of rebuilding its city center. More Information

Mount Cook Village - The Mount Cook Village is nestled beneath Mt Cook, in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. While few people live here, it is a very popular tourist destination offering a range of river and glacial walks, mountaineering, scenic flights and more.

Cromwell - Cromwell is a small tourist town located in the heart of the Central Otago region. With a population of about 3,500 Cromwell attractions include Old Cromwell Town, Cromwell Gorge, the Bendigo Goldfields and a huge range of stone fruit orchards.

Queenstown - Queenstown is a four season lake and alpine resort town, and the "Adventure Capital" of New Zealand. The town has a permanent population of about 10,000, but plays host to a constant stream of tourists year round. Queenstown has world class skiing, bungy jumping, sky diving, luging, Gondolas and many other activities. More Information

Wanaka - Wanaka is a resort town nestled on the shores of Lake Wanaka. The town has a population of about 5,000 and is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. Alongside the national park and beautiful Lake Wanaka, other attractions include Puzzling World and the biennial Warbirds over Wanaka airshow.

Dunedin - Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, with a population of about 117,000 people. Nestled on the shores of the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is a large eco tourism attraction. Explore the penguin colonies and other natural attractions on the Otago Peninsula. More Information

Invercargill - Invercargill is the most southern city of New Zealand, resting on the Southland Plains beside the Oreti River. With a population of about 53,000, Invercargill is home to the Southern Institute of Technology, a polytech that offers a zero-fees scheme to students. More Information

Did you Know?

Covering much of Stewart Island, Rakiura National Park is the newest national park in New Zealand.