The lower South Island is on the top of Kiwi’s domestic travel to-do list as we accept international boarder restrictions and look forward to a summer at home.
A survey conducted by Budget New Zealand found four of the top five road trips on Kiwi’s to-do lists were in the lower South Island, with nearly three quarters of responses (74 per cent) including the roadie from Wanaka to Westport in their top five, indicating people are eager to experience the rugged West Coast.
Queenstown to Milford Sound via Te Anau (67 per cent), the stint from Christchurch to Queenstown (65 per cent), and the mighty Southern Scenic Route (66 per cent) also proved popular as a must-drive this summer.
The Southern Scenic Route is a tourist highway linking Queenstown, Fiordland, Te Anau and the iconic Milford Road to Dunedin via Riverton, Invercargill and The Caitlins.
Covering 610 kilometres, the route covers plenty of natural and cultural attractions, including deserted beaches, lush rainforest, pristine lakes, and stunning mountain vistas.
The only North Island road trip ranking in the top five is the must-do Cape Reinga (62 per cent) roadie, taking you to the tip top of the country – making sure you visit all the white sandy beaches on the way.
The survey also found both locals and visitors love touristy activities with nearly 30 per cent of New Zealanders citing Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers as an activity that they’ve never gotten around to, followed by whale watching at 17 per cent.
Lee Marshall, general manager of operations at Budget New Zealand, says it is encouraging to see Kiwis are taking up the opportunity to travel domestically.
"It’s been a tough time for the travel industry, so it’s great to see that Kiwis are happily hitting the road to explore our backyard while overseas travel is limited.
"We know a lot of Kiwis have had to cancel travel plans this year but are instead visiting parts of our country they’ve never seen before and supporting local tourism and hospitality operators – which is great," he says.
Some tourism operators in the South Island are receiving strong interest for the summer holiday season as Kiwis are eager to make the most of the warmer months.
Bridget Legnavsky, Cardrona and Treble Cone general manager, says she is overwhelmed by the support of New Zealanders since domestic travel restrictions eased.
"It’s been an incredibly difficult year with unique challenges due to COVID-19, but the enthusiasm we’ve seen from Kiwis to get back out there and hit the slopes has been amazing.
"I’ve loved seeing so many locals coming back to ski and the summer season at Cardrona is already looking really busy too. We really are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, why wouldn’t you get out there and explore?"