Entertainment & Culture

If you have children to entertain and need to unwind, the South Island has attractions for all.

South Island Entertainment

Whether you've got children to entertain or you're looking for a relaxing way to unwind after a day of outdoor adventure, the South Island has a myriad of fascinating activities to suit every visitor.

Lovers of the fine arts will be spoilt for choice because the South Island is home to a number of highly regarded art galleries.  Some of the best include the Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatu in Nelson, the Christchurch Art Gallery and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Browsing through a museum is an excellent way of learning about the region you're visiting.  Some of the most highly regarded are the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, Dunedin's Otago Museum, and the Southland Museum and Art Gallery in Invercargill.

The South Island's excellent aviation museums are fascinating places to visit.  The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Marlborough was created with the help of cinematic special effects artists.  The Air Force Museum in Christchurch and the NZ Fighter Pilots Museum in Wanaka are also highly regarded.

Other South Island attractions that offer an insight into the world around us, both past and present, include The Antarctic Attraction in Christchurch, the Hukawai Glacier Centre on the West Coast, Mount John Observatory at Lake Tekapo and the Vanished World Centre at Duntroon in Coastal Otago.

Find a new way to enjoy the landscape with a gondola ride to soak up the views in Queenstown or Christchurch - or catch a train for an unforgettable rail journey.  Taieri Gorge Railway in Dunedin and the Kingston Flyer in Queenstown are both popular short trips, while the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth is regarded as one of the best in the world.

For pure fun, try something quirky such as Stuart Landborough's Puzzling World in Wanaka - an eccentric world of puzzles and illusions - or catch a film at a one-of-a-kind cinema. 


South Island Culture 

Go beyond the surface and learn about New Zealand's fascinating culture both historic and present.  The South Island offers many different ways to gain an insight into what makes this nation unique.

Christchurch, Dunedin and Oamaru are all well-known for their architectural heritage and offer walking tours for a deeper insight.  The Cultural Precinct in Christchurch, home to the renowned Arts Centre and other beautiful stone buildings, is a great place to explore.  

Dunedin is home to two historic homes that are open to the public: Lanarch Castle and Olveston Historic House.  Both are beautifully restored to capture a slice of life in the days gone by.

The South Island has a long history of Maori settlement and a rich Maori cultural heritage.  The West Coast was particularly significant as the only source of Pounamu (greenstone) and today you can watch master craftsmen at work, carving the precious stone.

With Katoro Heritage Journeys in Christchurch you can experience the thrill of learning to paddle on a traditional Maori waka.

Fascinating Maori cultural experiences ranging from stirring live song and dance performances to recreated Maori villages including Ko Tane; The Maori Experience and Tamaki Heritage Village in Christchurch, and the Kiwi Haka Show in Queenstown. 

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