10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island
10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island 🤔 [2022]

© DunedinNZ

The Most Unusual Attractions on the South Island

Sure, you’re probably planning a trip on the South Island of New Zealand for its scenery, outdoors experiences and, well, scenery, scenery and more scenery. But, don’t forget the island’s unique and unusual attractions too! While there are some things that you can only do on the South Island, there are also just some darn strange things to do. Add some flavour to your bucket list with these unique and unusual things to do on the South Island.

While you’re here, you might also like the 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.

The South Island’s Most Unique & Unusual Activities: Listen to The Article

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1. Land on a Glacier in a Ski Plane

Starting with one of the more unique things to do on the South Island, Mt Cook is one of the very few places in the world where you can land on a glacier in a ski plane as part of a tourism activity. Check it out with Mt Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters by Inflite on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook. Plus, see more awesome experiences nearby in the 12 Best Things to Do in Aoraki Mt Cook.

Location: Aoraki Mount Cook Airport, Mount Cook Road, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Canterbury.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© Unsplash

2. Walk Up the World’s Steepest Street

And moving onto the unusual, Baldwin Street proudly holds the record of the world’s steepest residential street. See if you have the shins of steel necessary to live here by walking up the street found in Dunedin! What to know what else you can do in Dunedin? Check out the 13 Best Things to Do in Dunedin.

Location: Baldwin Street, Dunedin, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© DunedinNZ

3. Make a Pilgrimage to the Cardrona Bra Fence

As an attraction between two of the South Island’s most popular tourist towns, Queenstown and Wanaka, it’s not like you have to really take a pilgrimage; you’re likely to pass it anyway! The Cardrona Bra Fence, or “Bradrona”, offers a spectacular array of boulder-holders on, well, a fence.

Location: 2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Carve Your Own Maori Greenstone or Bone Pendant

The South Island is known for its richness in greenstone, also known as jade or pounamu. The stone is important to the local Maori, which visitors are invited to carve for themselves in pendant-carving workshops. The experiences, such as at Bonz ‘N’ Stonz in Hokitika, last the full day, but bone carving such as at the Skeleton Crew Carving Studio in Barrytown offer a faster alternative. Get more inspiration for ways to enjoy Hokitika with the 10 Best Things to Do in Hokitika.

Location: Bonz ‘N’ Stonz – 16 Hamilton Street, Hokitika, West Coast. Skeleton Crew Carving Studio – Barrytown, West Coast.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© NZPocketGuide.com

5. See Prehistoric Penguins and Dolphins with Sharp Teeth at the Vanished World Centre

The Waitaki Valley holds all sorts of unusual things to do on the South Island, but the Vanished World Centre in Duntroon is where the weirdness comes together. See the skeletons and fossils from New Zealand’s time under our ocean, such as giant prehistoric penguins, a dolphin with shark-like teeth, rocks that rattle, moa bones and much more! Plus, don’t forget to check out more of the 7 Bizarre Sights in the Waitaki Valley.

Location: 7 Campbell Street, Duntroon, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Cook Some Pancakes on the Natural Flames of Murchison

Sure, fire is nothing new to us humans that have mastered it since we were apes but a fire that never goes out?! Now that’s unusual! Join the Natural Flames experience in Murchison to see some bare rock in the forest where flames burn on and on. The team who owns the farm and land here have a nice setup to make pancakes and boil tea so you can taste the earth’s “authenticity”. Oh, and there is more stuff to do nearby, which you can see in the 10 Best Things to Do in Murchison.

Location: 47 Waller Street, Murchison, Nelson Tasman.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© Pexels

7. Marvel at the Moeraki Boulders

Another one of nature’s marvels, the Moeraki Boulders are perfectly spherical boulders that remain on a South Island beach after the cliffs have eroded away. The best time to see the boulders in all their roundness is during low tide. Find out more in The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Moeraki Boulders.

Location: Moeraki Boulders Road, Hampden, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© Unsplash

8. Look at an Obscene Number of Teapots at Teapotland

Forget about the rare penguin species or fossilised forests you can find in The Catlins; head to Teapotland! This spectacular garden display on the main road of Owaka is a must for everyone. Who knew you could do so much with so many teapots?! Now that you’re convinced to visit The Catlins, check out the 12 Best Things to Do in The Catlins.

Location: 21 Main Road, Owaka, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© Pexels

9. Experience a World of Sci-fi at Steampunk HQ

Oamaru is a quirky town with its Victorian architecture and Victorian Fete held every November, but the wackiest attraction of all is Steampunk HQ. For those of you who don’t know, steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction where technology is steam-powered taking inspiration from the industrial revolution. With that, Steampunk HQ has indoor and outdoor displays of amazing steampunk inventions and art. Check it out; you won’t regret it. This attraction is also one of the 10 Activities Under $10 in New Zealand.

Location: 1 Humber Street, Oamaru, Otago.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Seal Swimming in Kaikoura

Sure, you see seals all over the place on the coast of the South Island, but nowhere else than in Kaikoura can you actually swim with these delightful creatures! While dolphins and whales take all the limelight in this marina mammal mecca, swimming with seals offers some of the most interactive animal encounters available in New Zealand. Experience it with Seal Swim Kaikoura, available on Viator and Tripadvisor. And see what else you can experience in Kaikoura with the 13 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura.

Location: 58 West End, Kaikoura, Canterbury.

10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island© NZPocketGuide.com

More Unique and Unusual Things to Do on the South Island

That’s it for our guide to the most unique and unusual things to do on the South Island. For more weirdness, check out the following articles:

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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