Added: Graydon Armer - Date: 08.10.2021 22:57 - Views: 43579 - Clicks: 6322
By: Author Nadine Maffre. New Zealand is one of those places that excites the imagination. A country where you can ski and surf in the same day, hike on a glacier before sinking into a natural hot pool the evening, or take a boat through a cave of glow worms before entering the mystical land of Hobbiton for the afternoon. As a New Zealander, I often forget how incredible my home country really is.
This article may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure here. New Zealand is a bigger country than most people realise. This allows you to set your own agenda and go at your own pace. Campervanning is a popular way to tour New Zealand as it saves you money on accommodation costs, saves you the hassle of changing accommodation every few days, and allows a lot more flexibility in your schedule.
To compare campervan prices in New Zealand check out Compare and Choose. The large majority of the things to do in the North Island are concentrated around the top half of the diamond-shaped island. With this in mind, you could forgo seeing kiwis on Kapiti Island, and drive in a circular route instead.
For the young and young at heart, Ninety Mile Beach is just waiting for an adventure. Popular activities include surfing the left-hand breaks or bodyboarding down the giant sand dunes. Either one will get your heart pumping and your soul singing!
One of the greatest things about New Zealand is its accessibility. This rings true no more so than in the lush surrounds of the Bay of Islands. What feels like a wealthy sanctuary of perfect beaches, deserted islands and secluded inlets, is accessible to everyone. Hire a boat or a kayak to fully immerse yourself in this slice of paradise.
Dolphins, whales, fur seals and penguins all love this area of New Zealand as much as we do! A scenic reserve, the island is uninhabited save for the native birdlife that thrives here. A daily ferry service will deliver you to the island where you can spend the day exploring the various walks on offer — including the most popular summit track.
This short, steep track will reward you with breathtaking views over Auckland and its islands. One of the most unique ways of experiencing Rangitoto Island is to take the evening guided kayak. This tour allows you to watch the sun setting from the summit, before paddling back across the Waitemata harbour under the stars. A popular pastime is to take a wine tour to some of the more popular vineyards, or stay for a few days in an exquisite holiday villa and sample the wines on island time.
Did you know New Zealand is home to the only colossal squid display in the world? Giapo has long been famous for creating the most incredible ice cream in the world, and their latest creation — the Colossal Squid — is no exception. Visit Giapo Here.
Located on the North Island, its isolated position on the Coromandel Peninsula adds to its irresistible appeal. Grabbing a spade and digging your very own hot water pool in the sand is somewhat of a Kiwi institution. For locals as well as visitors!
The Hamilton Gardens are an award-winning attraction, world-renowned by garden enthusiasts, but little known to everyone else. Walking through the gardens is like taking a tour around the world — while being much more achievable! There is so much to see and do within the garden complex, you could easily spend the majority of the day there.
And the best part is that the gardens are completely free to enter! One of the most popular attractions in the north island, Hobbiton is also one of the most unique things to do in New Zealand! Where else can you step inside a movie set and instantly be transformed into the real middle earth? Wander around the shire, the real-life movie set that was featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Take your time to appreciate the effort that has gone into making every detail in this fairytale land a magical place. The Waitomo caves have a reputation for being one of the best places to see glow worms in the world.
You can find Arachnocampa Luminosa the species of glow worm native to New Zealand in many parts of the country, but the Waitomo caves host the most accessible and impressive collection. Dive into the ancient caves below the rolling green hills of King Country to see the spectacle created by these luminescent creatures. If you dare, you can even go zip-lining into the caves, with just the glowworms lighting your way, before climbing underground waterfalls in the dark.
Or, for a more subdued experience, simply sit back and admire the show on a guided boat ride. Rotorua is a hotbed — quite literally — of geothermal attractions. Powerful geysers, colourful volcanic lakes, and bubbling mud pools can be found sprouting from otherwise innocuous-looking parks around the central North Island town. However, the latter also offers the chance to soak in a therapeutic mud bath after your exploration. There are plenty of simmering basins and bubbling sediments to be found right in the heart of the city.
Head to Kuirau Park to enjoy the spectacle among tranquil surroundings. Here you can witness the power of a Haka, learn about ancient traditions and eat a hangi meal cooked beneath the ground. The Rere Rock Slide was a much-loved attraction for years with Gisbornites.
Local families would head to the remote rock slide brandishing bodyboards, lilos, or anything at all that makes a smooth ride, in order to careen down the m slippery surface. The little-known outside of Gisborne attraction was recently thrust into the spotlight when a drone video shot in the area went viral, causing an internet sensation. Find out how to get to Rere Rock Slide Here. The carvings were a labour of love led by Matahi Brightwell and his team of four to create the 10m high depiction of his ancestor Ngatoroirangi.
Located on the side of a low promontory, the carvings are only accessible by navigating the calm waters of Lake Taupo. To get there you can paddle out in a kayak, take a boat tour, or even fly in by helicopter or floatplane! Whichever way you experience the beauty of these rock carvings, it will leave a lasting impression on you. But this just makes it all the more special! Their population has rapidly reduced in modern times due to introduced species such as stoats, possums and dogs. But thanks to careful conservation efforts, there are still some reserves where kiwi are thriving.
Grab your chance to see one of these special birds! Book Your Kiwi Experience Here. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track will take you around days to complete — longer if you stop to savour each golden cove. Boat tours and kayaks are also popular options and a good way to find secluded spots in this tranquil hideaway. Keep your eyes on the water at night and you may notice another natural phenomenon — phosphorescent plankton that glows in the dark as you move through the water.
Kaikoura is known as the place for whale watching in New Zealand. Not only do you have sperm whales feeding off the abundant, nutrient-rich waters of the Kaikoura Canyon, but you can also spot humpback whales on their migratory route from Antarctica, and pods of orcas often swim by too. Humpback whales pass by in winter, while orcas are commonly seen in summer, and sperm whales can be seen year-round. Making whale watching in Kaikoura a great activity in any season! The Waiau Uwha River flows near the spa resort town of Hanmer Springs and is a popular spot for outdoor adventures! Either way, the stunning scenery is sure to impress!
The degree spins and sheer speed of the jet boat ride were exhilarating, and surprisingly also educational in the quieter moments. The expert drivers and guides will make this a memorable item on your New Zealand itinerary. It took me 35 years to discover the ethereal landscapes of Castle Hill near Christchurch. Hike to the top, squeeze between the giant limestone formations and marvel at the sheer beauty of your surroundings. Castle Hill makes the perfect day trip from Christchurch.
A of tour operators run excursions to see the dolphins, and also offer the chance to have a closer look. Book Your Nature Cruise Here. One of my childhood favourites, Moeraki Boulders is an iconic place to visit in the South Island. At low tide, you can climb up and over the boulders, and at high tide, their round he poke through the swirling sea. Book Your Moeraki Accommodation Here. While sightings of these wild birds are commonplace for many a Dunedinite, the experience will leave visitors to New Zealand spellbound.
Located on the Otago Peninsula, the 19th-century estate is one of the oldest buildings in this young country. The castle is open year-round to the public and if you want to extend your stay you can book a night in one of the beautifully appointed guesthouses on the castle grounds. Book Your Admission Ticket Here.
The Catlins is a nature lovers paradise and should not be ignored if you want to experience the true wild beauty of New Zealand.
The aurora australis lights up the sky in hues of pink and green as it dances across the atmosphere, leaving spectators in awe of the incredible show being played out before them. The best place to witness the southern lights is in the deep south, away from major cities and interfering light. Your best chance is in winter, in remote locations such as Stewart Island, the Catlins and around Lake Tekapo.
Find out Where to see the Southern Lights Here. Marvel at the grand waterfalls, listen to the birdsong and cruise through this majestic part of New Zealand. As you do, you may even be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins, penguins or seals. The Arrowtown was once flooded with gold miners searching for their fortune in the Arrow River. These days visitors flock to the petite town for another kind of gold.
The trees in and around Arrowtown create a spectacle every Autumn with their leaves turning every shade of yellow and orange — a glowing golden landscape. Visiting a tree in a lake may not be your idea of an unforgettable experience, but it sure le to some of the most magical photos of New Zealand! That Wanaka Tree can be found in the western corner of the Wanaka waterfront — just follow anyone with a camera! The Roys Peak Walk has become a bit of an internet sensation. Photographs of Roys Peak like the header image for this article capture your imagination and seem to epitomise the beauty of New Zealand in a single frame.
The day walk starts near Wanaka and le you 1,m up to the most breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka. Stay awhile and appreciate the islands, bays, and mountains that create the most enchanting scene, before making your descent. The sky above the southern town of Tekapo is an International Dark Sky Reservemaking it one of the best places in the world for some serious star gazing.
This reputation has meant that several stargazing tours have popped up in the area — allowing you an even more memorable experience with the stars. Be guided through the solar-system as you soak in a hot tub, learn how to take astrophotography, or peer through a powerful telescope. The sky is the limit! Its snow-dusted peak makes an impressive sight as it rises up from the Canterbury Plains, leaving you with no doubt of its presence.
There are several short hikes you can do to take in the raw beauty of your surroundings, or those wanting a more strenuous hike might like to challenge themselves to the Mueller Hut Route. New Zealand is home to several glaciers. While you used to be able to hike up the glaciers from the bottom, their rapid deterioration and subsequent instability led to the closure of the track. These days the only way to access the top of the glaciers is to take a helicopter ride to the top. The trip is part of the experience though and adds to the thrill of walking on a giant iceberg!
Without a doubt, New Zealand is an exciting destination that will leave you spellbound. Backpacking NZ on a budget? Check out this guide by TravelFreak. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Hi Nadine, I love the information you put out there, I travel with my spouse and two kids a lot and like to visit the Net to gather information before we visit places.
I was hoping if you could give us options on how to visit these places from say a major city, for example how and from where is the best option to get to Waitomo. Hi Shane, you'd need to define a little which attractions most appeal to you as a family and start from there as they're all rather spread out deed to fit into a road trip.
In saying that, you could most definitely fit a lot of the North Island attractions into day trips from Auckland, Hamilton or Rotorua. In the South Island, I'd recommend Christchurch as a great central base, Queenstown or Wanaka for exploring more inland areas, and Dunedin for the Southern attractions. For Waitomo specifically, you'd be best staying in Hamilton and driving down. Thank you - This is a fabulous inspiring post.Looking for something to do New Zealand
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