South Island National Parks

We've outlined the national parks on New Zealand's South Island. The list order is based on driving distance (+ Hours) from Christchurch, starting with the nearest first.

Arthur's Pass National Park: +2 Hours

Arthur's Pass National Park is over 1,000 square kilometres of rainforest, gorges, tracks, raging rivers and serene valleys, at the heart of the Southern Alps. Come to ski, tramp, paddle or just marvel at the wonder of nature.

Mount Cook National Park: +4 Hours

Mount Cook National Park is 700 square kilometres of awesome glaciers and snow-capped mountains which include 19 of the country's highest 20 peaks. Aoraki/Mount Cook is the crowning jewel, a must-see for any true nature lover.

Kahurangi National Park: +4 Hours

Kahurangi National Park is New Zealand's second largest national park, on the northwestern coast of the South Island. An exciting mix of untamed vegetation, bluffs and some of the best tramping tracks in the country.

Paparoa National Park: +4 Hours

Paparoa National Park is a coastal and forested national park between Greymouth and Westport, famous for the Pancake Rocks, spectacular clifftop crags and the Dolomite Point blowholes. Ocean and woodland in perfect harmony.

Westland Te Poutini National Park: +4 Hours 15 minutes

Westland Te Poutini National Park is one of New Zealand's wildest national parks, offering glaciers, dense rainforest, hot springs and remote beaches. Home to the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

Nelson Lakes National Park: +4 Hours, 15 Minutes

Nelson Lakes National Park is a peaceful and serene national park at the northern tip of the Southern Alps, not far from Nelson. Plenty of lakes, streams, sunlit forests and lots of places to fish, hike and paddle.

Abel Tasman National Park: +5 Hours, 30 Minutes

Abel Tasman National Park is a very pretty national park with amazing beaches, breathtaking cliff walks, inland forests and plenty of peace and quiet. The mild climate makes it popular all year round. Water Taxis allow you to hop on and off to explore different beaches while kayaking trips offer a more hands on approach.

Mount Aspiring National Park: +7 Hours

Mount Aspiring National Park is a wild, yet surprisingly accessible, national park on the West Coast, connected to the north end of Fiordland, in the Southern Alps. Popular with mountaineers, trampers, and scenic walkers.

Rakiura National Park: +8 hours (+1 Hour Ferry)

Rakiura National Park is New Zealand's newest national park, on the rough and ruggedly beautiful Stewart Island. Majestic forests, scenic nature reserves and the world's best place to find wild kiwi.

Fiordland National Park: +9.5 Hours

Fiordland National Park is New Zealand's largest national park, covering the South Island's southwestern corner. Waterfalls, fiords, ice-carved islands and mountain valleys characterise this magical monument to nature. Home to Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound.