New Zealand's Top 5 South Island Picnic Spots

31 May 2017

In my last post, I shared my favourite picnic spots on the North Island with you. This month, the focus is on South Island picnic spots. If you catch a fine day this winter, head out to any of these great spots. Or keep this list handy for the warmer spring days that will be with us before you know it!


Cape Farewell

Region: Nelson & Marlborough

Stay nearby: Tahuna Beach and Kiwi Holiday Park

With landscape straight out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this breath-taking point is the most northern one on the South Island.  After a trek through pristine farmland, with sweeping views of rugged cliff tops, estuaries and lakes, you will enjoy relaxing with a picnic lunch while watching the seal pups play.


Photo of Cape Farewell


Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Region: Christchurch

Stay nearby: Christchurch Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels

These outstanding botanical gardens date back to their founding in 1863 and boast an impressive 21 hectares and several conservatories.  The gardens feature both exotic and native plants, as well as an impressive rose garden with over 200 varieties. There’s also a Fernery, which boasts a variety of New Zealand ferns. Relax on the sprawling lawn in front of the Curator’s house with your picnic basket. And if you don’t feel like packing your own lunch, you can pick up snacks from one of the park’s four cafes!


The gardens around Larnach Castle

Region: Otago

Stay nearby: Dunedin Holiday Park

While the gardens are not an original feature of the mock castle, built by Victorians in 1870, they provide the perfect vantage point to enjoy the façade of one of New Zealand’s few homes on this scale.  While still privately owned, the castle and grounds are open to visitors 365 days of the year.


Photo of Larnach Castle


Pourakino Picnic Area

Region: Southland

Stay nearby: Lorneville Lodge

In a former sawmill industrial area, there is now a regenerating beech tree forest with many easy walking trails with historical features.  It’s a quiet place to relax on the weekends with a picnic hamper and some friends. There are several picnic tables and toilets onsite, making it a comfortable place to spend an afternoon.


Jetty Bay “The Landing” at the southern end of Lake Mapourika

Region: West Coast

Stay nearby: Rainforest Holiday Park

The lake was formed from a melting block of ice left behind Franz Josef Glacier and can be enjoyed from a picnic spot nestled in a quiet bay on the southern shore.  It features picnic tables, toilets, a boat ramp and some of the best bird watching and fishing in the area.


Where will you picnic?

I hope you are inspired to get out and explore some of these fantastic picnic spots on the South Island. If you stumble across another perfect picnic spot, we hope you’ll share it with us! I’m always keen to throw together a picnic and try out a new spot. Feel free to share your photos and experiences on our Facebook page!



Cape Farewell by Mr & Mrs Apteryx australis, CC BY 2.0

Larnach Castle by Paul Carmona, CC BY 2.0


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