It's easy to get caught up in the routine of everyday life and never venture beyond your own letterbox. Considering an escape, the lower South Island is a treasure trove of pristine landscapes worth making the trip alone. From the crystal clear turquoise pools to uninterrupted views of Aoraki Mount Cook and the perfect summer swimming spot, we've rounded up six breathtaking escapes found in the lower South Island. Of course you're going to need some proof you were actually there...
As well as being entirely water and dust resistant, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the first 'dual pixel' smartphone camera, which means it can take crisp, clear photos – even in low light. This presents the perfect opportunity to create a unique editorial series of photos that not only showcases the S7's capabilities in low light, but also allows us to discover and see some of the country's best landscapes from a completely different perspective.
This track is the best way to experience the untouched alpine beauty of Mount Cook National Park. It's a short track, which may be part of the reason it's the most popular track within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, but the views are some of the best you'll experience in the area. On a good day the walk offers uninterrupted views of Aoraki Mount Cook - New Zealand's tallest mountain — and is a true example of 'nature at its best'.
Lake Hayes, Central Otago
Nestled between Queenstown and Arrowtown, Lake Hayes is the perfect spot to head for a swim on a hot summer's day. We'll let you in on a little tip: park at Bendemeer Bay and walk approximately 150m to your left around the track to discover a picturesque jetty and swing — a great spot to while away the afternoon.
Gondola Hill at Queenstown, Central Otago
With views overlooking beautiful Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and Remarkable mountain range, this is the spot to capture the true scenic essence of Queenstown. Visit during daylight to appreciate why Queenstown is so loved by Kiwis and tourists alike, or discover it during the evening when the twinkle of the town's night lights offers a romantic setting.
Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel
Impressive views aren't the only reason to visit Lake Ruataniwha; the salmon that swim in its waters are some of the best in New Zealand. You can taste them for yourself at High Country Salmon, whilst taking in the impressive view over the lake. This spot is a must visit when travelling in the Mackenzie country.
Blue Pools, Haast
This quintessential New Zealand scenic spot is located at the southern gateway to the West Coast – the scenic route over Haast Past, revered as one of the most stunning roads in this fine country we call home. The picturesque, turquoise Blue Pools are surrounded by native beech forest and are a short walk from the road. The walk sees you cross an idyllic swing bridge that leads to the crystal clear blue water that will not only take your breath away, but make for great 'gram content.
Dublin Bay, Lake Wanaka
Escape the hustle and bustle of Wanaka's township and head to Dublin Bay to relax and unwind from the day. Park up and read a book, or go for a quick swim — the decision is entirely yours and no one will question it.