New Zealand: A South Island Photo Diary

Milford Sound - New Zealand's South Island |
Planning a trip to New Zealand?

New Zealand was my first country on my round the world trip and very memorable one. I wanted to share photos from my time on the on the South Island. Besides Nelson in the north, I visited Christchurch and then headed south to Queenstown and Milford Sound in February of 2011.


After visiting my friends in Nelson, I took the Intercity bus to Christchurch. On the way to Christchurch, we drove by a town called Kaikoura and I wish that I had known about it. We stopped for a bathroom break but just a quick glimpse made me want to stay for a few days. It was beautiful! It is along the water, you can go skydiving nearby or whale watching there. It was super cute and something about it stuck in my mind. I guess that’s something for the itinerary the next time I go to New Zealand’s South Island!

I was only in Christchurch for a night so I picked a hostel that was centrally located. The city doesn’t seem so big so I walked around and explored. I went to the Christchurch Cathedral. The crazy thing is, the cathedral was damaged as was much of the city, just weeks after I was there, by the big earthquake. I was Auckland when the quake happened and it was all over the news. I remember my Mom messaging me frantically to see if I was okay. While I was on my trip natural disasters were just a few steps behind me. I think sheer randomness and luck kept me away from any harm.

Christchurch Cathedral - New Zealand's South Island |

Christchurch Cathedral (just a few days before the earthquake)

New Zealand Inside Christchurch Cathedral

I love flowers so I visited the Christchurch Botanical Garden. I took photos for my Mom (RIP) who was a gardener and green thumb.

Christchurch botanical

I stopped and smelled the New Zealand roses!

Christchurch Botanical Garden - New Zealand's South Island |

Mom loved dahlias so I took photos to email her

Christchurch Botanical Garden - New Zealand's South Island |

So pretty!

New Zealand South Island Photo Diary

You don’t see these much anymore. Throwback phone booth and a red one to boot!


When I was on the South Island, my original plan was to take the bus to Queenstown from Christchurch. But luckily I compared prices and found a flight on Jetstar that was nearly the same price. It was a difference of $10 so I chose to fly rather for one hour than take a 12-hour bus ride. Sometimes it’s worth it to compare flight prices!! Always shop around!

I love Queenstown a lot. It is so picturesque and it reminds me of Whistler, Canada. Both are mountain resort towns with loads of adventurous activities to partake in.

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown |

Gorgeous around Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown |

So picturesque!

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown |

I’d love to go back again, maybe even in the winter and get some snowboarding in.

Queenstown Botanical Garden |

At the Queenstown Botanical Garden

Queenstown Botanical Garden |

Botanical Garden Bridge

If you go to Queenstown you have to have a Fergburger. It was tasty!! Just remember they call ketchup tomato sauce in New Zealand and Australia! I’d love to go back and try out more of the different options. I remember the names were pretty cheeky and the veggie burger was even called Bun Laden.


Fergburger |


This Asian was missing Asian food while traveling through New Zealand. When I was in Queenstown, I walked by Hikari Izakaya and saw that they had a lunch special so I couldn’t resist. I didn’t really remember my meal till I found this photo on my hard drive but if you’re needing a rice or noodle fix while you’re in Queenstown, go here.

Hikari Izakaya Queenstown |

Hikari Izakaya lunch bento box

Milford Sound

While I was on the South Island, I took a day trip down to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a fiord in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. I wanted to go there for a few days but I didn’t have a car and wasn’t sure what I would do down there if I didn’t have a car. Things are not cheap in New Zealand, so a bus day trip it was. The day trip and ferry for an hour and a half into the sound was over $100. Pretty pricey but worth it in the end. A lot of decisions I made while I was in New Zealand was about money. Traveling solo costs a bit more and I was also at the beginning of my RTW so I was extra cautious about how I spent my money and trying to conserve when I could.

I took this snap from inside the Naked Bus that I took from Queenstown to Milford Sound. It’s another view of Lake Wakatipu. Pretty gorgeous from all sides!

On The Way To Milford Sound |

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake and third largest

On the way to Milford Sound, we stopped at The Chasm Walk. It’s two-foot bridges over Cleddau River where you can see waterfalls. Over thousands of years, the water has shaped the rock. Two-foot bridges over the Cleddau River give you beautiful views of the powerful waterfalls. It’s like water torture in nature!

On The Way To Milford Sound |

The Chasm Walk

New Zealand's South Island


We stopped at a place called Mirror Lakes on the way to Milford Sound. It’s so serene and beautiful there.

New Zealand's South Island

It’s amazing that there’s nothing else around

Reflection Eternal

We stopped at one lookout point and I forgot the name. Horrible, I know. But the thing I remember the most was seeing an alpine parrot. What? Yes, a mountain parrot.

Alpine Parrot New Zealand |

He would be totally camo!

When we got to Milford Sound we loaded onto a ferry that took us around the sound. I believe it was only an hour and a half exploration through the fiords. If the weather was sunny I’d have wanted to go for longer but this amount of time was perfect. The weather determines what it will be like in Milford Sound. When we went it was rainy so there were loads of waterfalls. Initially, I was bummed by rain but looking back it was quite cool and mystical.

Milford Sound - New Zealand's South Island |

Chasing waterfalls much to TLC’s dismay

Milford Sound Round The World Girl|

And a not so great selfie but one to prove to my family that I was indeed traveling

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New Zealand's South Island |

Have you been to New Zealand’s South Island?


Round The World Girl is a blog by Arnette, a solo female traveler, lover of adventure, coffee, tropical islands, and unforgettable meals. She shares a retrospective of her 19 month, 19 country round the world trip, adventures both near and far, destination guides, helpful tips and tricks for travel, as well as tips and reviews of her favorite things.

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