You have to believe it. The South Island of New Zealand has national parks galore just waiting for you to discover. The South Island features snow capped mountains, turquoise waters, countless sheep and beaches. The landscapes are majestic, breathtaking and unique. In this small country, the South Island is home to top wonders of the world. 6 MUST SEE NATIONAL PARKS IN SOUTH NEW ZEALAND
As an American, I’m in love with the idea of national parks. They capture, protect and display our most precious and beautiful landscapes. New Zealand did just this by protecting these charming places by transforming them into national parks. When you make your tour around the South Island, you must visit at least six of the national parks that reside there. These are: Abel Tasman National Park, Paparoa National Park, Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. If you wish to experience the South Island of New Zealand, these 6 national parks will need to be on your list.
1 // Abel Tasman National Park
First stop on your national park tour, Abel Tasman National Park is superb. It has striking golden beaches, warm waters and lush landscape. It is one of the few places in New Zealand that receives the most sunshine a year making this an almost beachy getaway.
2 // Paparoa National Park
Paparoa takes you along the west coast of the South Island. If you look hard enough, you might see Australia across the Tasman Sea. [Maybe.] Seeing Pancake Rocks was a real treat, because it was a unique rock formation. Stop for a minute at the snow white beaches. They are beautiful to photograph.
3 // Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Westland Tai Putini is home to the Southern Alps, and they are breathtaking. Towering high above you, you can feel the power and importance that the Maori people describe. Fox and Franz Josef glaciers should be your first stop, because the tour takes you on an epic glacier walk.
4 // Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki Mount Cook was by far my favorite national park. The turquoise waters and escape from civilization, left me in a peaceful state that I still dream of today. I had never seen a glacier before my trip to the South Island, so this park was a real treat experiencing a unique piece of nature. When the sun sets, make sure to try night photography, because the stars are brilliant.
5 // Mount Aspiring National Park
Mount Aspiring is a dramatic breath of fantastic landscapes from mountains, to streams and lush forests. The Blue Pools Walk is accessible from the road, and a short walk that I enjoyed.
6 // Fiordland National Park
Fiordland is home to Milford Sound. It’s one of the top wanders of the world, and you’ll understand as you cruise through the waters. The park itself hosts towering mountains and landscapes straight out of Lord of the Rings movie. You’ll encounter unique species, roaring rivers and mirror lakes.
I say Aoraki Mount Cook is my favorite national park, but it’s truly difficult to choose. The South Island offers a unique, raw beauty that I’ve only seen in a few places around the world. My dreams and newest ebook take me back to this magical country and time when I had a heart for discovery. What is your favorite national park in New Zealand?