With a population of just four million, New Zealand’s density is not in its population but in its natural wonders. Fjords, rainforests, volcanoes, glaciers, alpine lakes and a South Pacific coastline are impossibly packed into a country about the size of Great Britain.
New Zealand is made up of two main islands, North Island where the two largest cities of Auckland and Wellington are located and where most of the population resides, and South Island across the Cook Strait.
South Island holds the drawing card for a premium rural lifestyle. In the Southern Lakes District, Queenstown is exquisitely positioned on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Remarkables Mountain range. It is considered a world adventure capital.
In the greater surrounding region, buyers can find high country properties with frontages to lakes like Hawea and Wanaka. It is a fast-growing area. Wanaka translates from the Maori as “renewal of the soul.” The pristine expanses of open spaces in these small resort mountain towns are well known bases for fishing, hiking and boating.
South Island properties offer plenty of options for cattle and sheep ranching, hobby farming, wine-growing and trophy hunting. The frontier town of Glenorchy offers up the wilderness experience with land for game hunting and salmon fishing. It borders a UNESCO World Heritage site and gained worldwide exposure as a key filming location for The Lord of the Rings. Cromwell is a town steeped in gold mining history and is now the epicenter of New Zealand’s fastest growing wine region. Historic Cardrona was another gold rush town back in the 1860s. These areas offer land as private retreats--with not another home in sight--and yet Queenstown International Airport is a manageable drive away.
The Canterbury region is centered around the city of Christchurch and made up of productive farmlands that extend from the east coast beaches to the Southern Alps range. Townships like MacKenzie and Hawarden are rural, low density areas with top fishing and hunting grounds. Kaikoura is a seaside settlement on a rocky peninsula. Kaikoura and Waipara are among New Zealand’s most popular recreational destinations. The Waipara Valley is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing wine regions. Waipara’s wineries produce more than a quarter-million cases each year and its pinot noir is held in high esteem.
Life on the South Island rolls at a balanced pace. No crowds or traffic jams. It is rural, but not sleepy. New Zealanders welcome overseas buyers with a welcome mat that runs through one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.
Content Producer Iyna Bort Caruso