Crossing New Zealand’s South Island — wineries, ocean and snow-capped mountains

In five days, we’ve tasted wine at award-winning wineries, watched seals in the Pacific, crossed snow-capped mountains (by car), hiked lush paths and rocky trails, walked to see the Franz Josef glacier, and meandered along the shores of the Tasman Sea. This fabulous country offers unparalleled scenery, warm, welcoming people and experiences that quicken your pulse, warm your heart, and stimulate your every sense. We’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

On the ferry from Wellington to Picton. A three hour journey through the Cook Straight and the stunning Malborough Sounds.

Outside Blenheim, Marlborough’s premier wine-growing region, for the excellent New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Surveying the scene in Marlborough wine country, with snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Wild oceanscapes at the coastal town of Kaikoura, well-known for its seal population. The white rocks pictured here were once submerged, but were brought to the surface during the 2016 earthquake that moved the South Island closer to North Island by six meters.

One among hundreds of fabulous hiking trails, Castle Hill is located on the way to Arthur’s Pass. The limestone formations pictured in the background were once thought to be remains of an ancient civilization, and have spiritual significance to the Maori.

Mountains, lakes and clear skies make for perfect views on the way through Arthur’s Pass (the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps).

Hiking among the mountains at Arthur’s Pass on a frosty morning.

Views toward the Southern Alps as we come down from Arthur’s Pass.

Crystal clear water at Hokitika Gorge

A glimpse of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, from the coastal village of Okarito.

Views through the Southern Alps.

Franz Josef glacier, a 12km long glacier named after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria by the German explorer, Julius von Haast in 1865.