Yesterday the New Zealand government announced a $200 million boost for regional tourism to keep operators open and travel bubble ready.
Along with a giant Kiwi and a surreal advertising pitch for Australian visitors, the support package was a more tangible aid unveiled at the TRENZ hui in Christchurch.
In a twelve-point plan, pots were put aside for various tourism rebuild goals. These included restarting hibernating businesses and revamping offerings to attract the kind of "sustainable" and "high-quality visitor" that Tourism minister Stuart Nash is hoping to woo.
The South Island was a clear focus of the hui.
Areas south of Kaikoura, in Fiordland, the West Coast and Otago were picked out in particular for the Tourism Communities Plan.
Last year, these regions were shown to be among the most dependent on international travel.
"If a business falls down in Te Anau or Milford or the glaciers, then that runs the risk of bringing down the whole community," Nash told NewsTalk ZB this morning.
The recovery stimulus has set its sights on transforming the South Island.
In Kaikoura - one of the five highlighted regions – the stimulus is an opportunity to rethink the old tourism model.
Like Paikea the area has ridden on whale tourism for years.
Kaikōura's Whale Watch safaris have been a key part of the area's regeneration since the 80s. It put the town on the world tourism map. However, while the lure of a giant cetacean may still bring visitors to the area, Destination Kaikōura says now is a chance to show that region is about "more than whales" and attract visitors who are willing to spend longer in the region.
"This money is not just about marketing dollars but more so a reset to provide small business support, infrastructure and regional development," said RTO manager Louise Frend.
While last year was spent New Zealanders to "do something new", it's now the turn for local regions to rethink their offering for the return of international travel.
The fund is a chance to turn many South Island tourism draws on their head and in some cases taking regions in a brave new direction.
Yes, visiting the Kaikōura without at least looking out to sea, or tasting its seafood would be to miss the point.
But did you know it's the Llama capital of New Zealand?
Llama Trekking Kaikōura wears the accolade with pride, as one of the "10 best places in the world" to see the creatures in their not-so-natural habitat. A half-day trek is certainly an unique way to take in the scenery. Heading inland, you can see evidence of the stunningly seismic coastline.
For a faster placed and less fluffy experience you can head inland with the Glenstrae Farm quadbike adventures. From the Haumuri Bluffs to Mt Fyff, the ranges are among the lesser-known mountains of the South Island. According to DOC they are a hidden gem with outdoor opportunities for all abilities, "from a family stroll to a serious backcountry journey."
Milford Sound sub-aqua
The neck ache felt from looking up at the sounds and their many waterfalls is a small price to pay for the massive Milford fjord.
Scenic cruises are one of the most popular experiences for international visitors to New Zealand. However, they're completely missing what's going on below the water.
Descend Scuba Diving NZ leads one of the only dive operators to visit the black coral forests and spectacular underwater landscape. Where freshwater meets ocean water, the life forms found here are unique even among New Zealand's eclectic fish.
You don't have to be Scuba diver to appreciate the life aquatic. Visit the Milford Sound Discovery Centre in Harrison Cove has an underwater observatory from which you can see many of the creatures without getting your feet wet.
Battery powered on the West Coast
The Hokitika and the West Coast has long been known for its greenstone and fools looking for gold. However there's a new rush in the prospecting boomtown. And they're on E-Bikes.
The West Coast Cycle Trail has been going for a few years, but the addition of a battery to pedal power has opened up the area to cyclists who want to see the coast at a more relaxed pace.
At the southern end of the track close to lake Mahinapua, you can unpack your saddle bags and take sunset cruise on the waterways. Departing from Kotuku Cottage, the BnB offers accommodation and eco-tours into the wetlands – which, way before bike tracks, were the only way to get about the coast.