That is going to be such an awesome trip!!! Darling Husband and I went to New Zealand for almost two weeks for our pre-wedding Honeymoon in April and we LOVED it. The South Island is incredible – seriously, words cannot describe how amazing it is.
The PPs all have made wonderful suggestions and I’ll just throw my two cents in as well.
1. Fox Glacier – the full day glacier hike is amazing! Definitely try to schedule that in if you can. They make it sound as though it’s going to be incredibly difficult but anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can do it easy peasy.
2. Lake Matheson – just south of Fox Glacier by a few minutes, it’s a beautiful lake with amazing reflections of Mt Cook and some other gorgeous snow capped mountains (I’ll include a personal pic just to sell it even more!) It’s an hour long walk around the lake – definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
3. Milford Sound – instead of doing a cruise, try kayaking with Rosco’s Milford Kayaks. Being out on the incredible deep, silent water of the fiords on a little kayak is amazing!!! As someone else mentioned though, the sandflies will drive you mental so bring bug repellent regardless of the time of year you’re there.
4. Te Anau (the town you have to stay in for Milford Sound) – there’s an awesome restaurant called the Redcliff Cafe and it is AMAZING. The owner is a young guy who bought a settler’s cottage and has refurbished it to become an intimate, quaint restaurant with some seriously amazing food. Go there!
5. Punakaiki Rocks were also pretty cool (up the west coast, between Greymouth and Charleston). We weren’t expecting much but the sheer force of the water and wind is actually quite impressive.
6. GLOW WORMS! Don’t do the glow worm cave tour in Te Anau, I’ve heard it’s crap, but the glow worm cave rafting trip in Charleston is amazing! It’s a rainforest train ride up the side of a mountain, then a relatively brief hike to the entrance of the cave. You hike through the cave for about an hour (not terribly taxing) and get to the glow worm grotto where you see them up close. Everyone turns out their head lamps and it looks like constellations across the ceiling of the cave. You continue on to the cave river, hop in your inner tube and float on the cave river in pitch blackness, save for the millions of glow worms lighting your path on the ceiling. Upon exiting the cave, you navigate some grade II rapids on your inner tubes back to the train. It was by far the coolest thing I have ever done. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
7. Lake Tekapo (sorry, not going in order geographically here) is also amazingly beautiful. The water is the most bizarre shade of milky blue (all glacier water) and it is surrounded by mountains. There is the most gorgeous little stone chapel on the edge of the lake and I wanted to change our wedding venue immediately upon seeing it! I can also recommend Tailor Made Tekapo Backpackers as an awesome place to stay. It is a hostel but it’s a family owned home and they have private en suite rooms, along with the loveliest lounge with a wood burning fireplace and so many other lovely touches. It was awesome.
8. Hokitika Gorge – just south of the town of Hokitika (I do not recommend staying there – food and accommodation options were very limited and subpar) is the most gorgeous little gorge you can hike through. The river running through it is glacier water and is pretty spectacular. The drive through the countryside is also pretty awesome to get there. It’s not a long hike but you can go further than the prescribed path if you want to do some scrambling up and down rocks, which Darling Husband and I did. Again, be wary of the sandflies though.
Ok, I could go on and on but I realise this is getting to be of epic proportions here so I will end. PM if you want to know any further information! Oh yes, one last recommendation – not sure if you or your Fiance are beer drinkers but Darling Husband and I fell in love with Monteith’s Cider whilst we were there. We weren’t big cider drinkers before we went there but after trying that – we were sold. And of course the wine is pretty spectacular across the board. On the food front – you must, must, MUST have lamb whilst you’re there! The Kiwis do lamb better than anyone else in the world; the beef and venison you can get there are also pretty spectacular. As you’re driving around, you’ll see why – the South Island seriously must have some of the world’s best farm land.
Ok, I said I was done, but one last recommendation – in Queenstown, there is a truly wonderful hot chocolate cafe on the edge of the lake in the centre of town, called Patagonia. If you’re a chocolate lover, you will be in heaven here. The chocolate churros are pretty special I must say.
Now I truly am done! Enjoy your trip!!!! 🙂