Best Winter Adventures: South Island

New Zealand

Tasman Mountains     Photo: courtesy of Exclusively New Zealand

With all due respect to the North Island, it's the other one that makes us want to move here and never come back. No spot in the world rivals it for sheer variety of mountain/fjord/river/beach topography, from the lush Abel Tasman park to 12,349-foot Mount Cook, in the Southern Alps. All that plus an adventure-minded infrastructure—and populace—translates into multisport heaven. Up for a trek? Try Mount Aspiring National Park. Fly-fishing? The valleys around Mount Cook. Paddling? Fiordland National Park. As much as you can do in a week? Start by stationing yourself in the Marlborough Region for two nights at the homey Peppertree B&B (doubles from US$350; thepeppertree.co.nz) and set out on sea-kayaking jaunts in the labyrinthine Marlborough Sounds, followed by quaffs of the area's renowned sauvignon blancs. Then join Exclusively New Zealand on its Journey at the Edge trip, four days of heli- and plane-accessed biking, beach hiking, rafting, sea kayaking, and sailing in the Kahurangi/Abel Tasman region, with two nights in swell resorts and one night aboard the outfitter's 50-foot Beneteau yacht (from $6,400 per person with a group of two; exclusivelynz.com).

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