Things to do in New Zealand? Most people outside the country will know New Zealand for one of a very few reasons. Lord of the Rings. The national rugby team, the All Blacks. Oh, and sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.
It’s true that the movie, those fifteen all-conquering sportsmen and several million woolly mammals are an essential part of what makes the country special, but it’s far from the full story. It is an incredibly diverse place with a vast array of attractions that belie its small size – in fact, there are so many things to do in New Zealand that most visitors find themselves quickly running out of time and wishing they’d given themselves another few weeks ‘down under’.
Located on the edge of two tectonic plates, New Zealand has no shortage of subterranean activity. While this occasionally manifests in less enjoyable forms such as earthquakes, it also provides some of the most incredible natural phenomena that the country has to offer. The sulphuric mud pools of Rotorua attract tens of thousands of visitors every year, for example, while the Tongariro Crossing – the best one day walk in the country – takes hikers right across the slopes of a dormant volcano. Even Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country, was caused by a massive prehistoric eruption. Thankfully these days the liveliest activities in the area will be a jetboat zipping past or an angler pulling a huge trout from the water – altogether a far more enjoyable activity.
Adventure tourism plays a massive part in the appeal of Aoteora (the Maori name for New Zealand, literally translating as The Land of the Long White Cloud). Whitewater rafting and swimming with dolphins, bungy jumping and skydiving – activities that get the adrenaline pumping to seem to be something that New Zealand specializes in. Queenstown, in the country’s south, is the most well-known destination for madcap adventure but is by no means the only place. Finding crazy things to do in New Zealand isn’t difficult – from surfing down sand dunes on Ninety Mile Beach in the far north to hiking for ten days spotting kiwis around Stewart Island in the far south you’ll never find yourself far from somewhere that dramatically lifts the heart rate.
When it comes to natural beauty New Zealand is truly unique. Being able to stand on the top of a snow-capped mountain and gaze out over dense native forests towards unspoiled beaches and rolling seas in the distance is an experience that visitors won’t forget. Glaciers crawl slowly towards the ocean, whales bask just offshore in the nutrient-rich waters near Kaikoura and birds weave amongst the leaves of kauri trees that have been standing for over a thousand years. From the iconic Mitre Peak towering over the still waters of Milford Sound to world-class diving in the kelp forests near Poor Knight’s Island, New Zealand provides an incredible variety of things to do and see for the nature lover.
There’s no doubt about it, New Zealand provides a lot more than sheep, rugby and a few wandering hobbits.
There is something for everyone here, from the adrenaline seeker to the person looking to spend time in an untouched, unspoiled forest. Take a walk-through Mount Aspiring National Park, while accompanied by the sound of birdsong and waterfalls. Grassy river flats are bordered by daunting mountains and above the tree line – patches of tussock grass and delicate flowers and herbs survive against the elements. Or if it is the thrill of adventure you’re looking for, head to Queenstown for some skiing and while you’re there, why not bite the bullet and do the Nevis Bungy – New Zealand’s highest at 134metres – just don’t look down as you’re transported across a wire meters above a rocky ravine.
If neither of these sorts of adventures is the ones you’re looking for, visit one of our little big cities – Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch being the main ones.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, housing over a quarter of our population alone. A mix of new and old, it is surrounded by the majestic waters of the Waitemata and Manukau harbors. Leave the bustle of urban life and take a short ferry ride across to Waiheke island (where it always seems to be 2 degrees warmer!) and watch the sunset over the ocean as you enjoy a Kiwi wine from one of the many vineyards.
Wellington is our capital, which Lonely Planet named ‘the coolest little capital in the world,’ it is our movie making hub, and a collection of cultural abundance and natural scenery it will leave you satisfied. Take a trip up to the top of Mount Victoria to get some great panoramic shots of this great wee capital, and afterward stop for coffee at one of the many small cafes located in Cuba Street, the city’s main street.
Christchurch is located in the South Island; it is the largest city there and known as the ‘Garden City’ for its charming landscape. Visit Christchurch for its history, and its beauty. In 2010 and 2011 this picturesque city experienced devastating earthquakes, and the very heart of it was shattered. Since then, the country and the city have rallied together to give the people back their city. Parts of the CBD are deemed unsafe but it is slowly being opened up again, and people are continuing their lives as normal. Take a trip to the Antarctic center, as Christchurch is the main port of call for those wishing to travel there; dress warmly though, you have the opportunity to experience a snowstorm inside!
Between each of these cities lay towns that make up the heart of New Zealand, enveloped by scenic reserves and forests, hot springs and pools, glaciers, lakes, majestic mountains, blowholes, native wildlife and much, much more.
New Zealand is a small country with a lot packed into it, from extreme sports and fabulous food and wine to stunning bays and spectacular glaciers. It would take years of travel to truly experience all that New Zealand has to offer, but for those who don’t have an infinite amount of time, here are five of the best things to do in New Zealand.
Bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and hot thermal springs are just some of the incredible naturally occurring phenomenon in the geothermal fields near Rotorua. Visitors enter the thermal parks at their own risk but the parks are checked daily for signs of cracks and change to minimize danger. Steaming clouds of sulfur-scented gas emerge from vents in the ground with crater lakes, colorful silica terraces, and hot waterfalls all visible from the walking tracks. The thermal fields in New Zealand are some of the most active in the world and a must-see for every visitor to New Zealand. Rotorua is a popular tourist destination and has an abundance Hotels and Rotorua accommodation options.
New Zealand is the home of adventure sports, and if you think you’ve done it all, you’re wrong! Even those who have traveled the world will find something new to try in New Zealand. Zorbing, rolling down a hill encased in a giant inflatable hill, was invented in New Zealand and can be done in either a wet or dry ball, down a choice of rolling hills or winding tracks.
The Shweeb is another New Zealand invention designed to get the blood pumping. Pedal-powered capsules hanging from a monorail, the Shweeb takes you along a 200m track racing the clock and friends, whizzing through the spectacular Rotorua landscape. Other adventure sports are too numerous to list but include heli-skiing, skydiving, river surfing, bungy jumping, giant swing and many more. Although there are adventure sports throughout New Zealand, both Rotorua and Queenstown are heavens for thrill seekers. There is a good range of hotels in Rotorua and Queenstown accommodation is also plentiful.
Another of New Zealand’s natural wonders are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The Glow Worm is unique to New Zealand and seeing thousands of these tiny creatures illuminating the stunning underground limestone caves is a sight to behold. Visitors can either choose to view the caves by boat or try a spot of black water rafting – donning a wetsuit and an inflatable inner tube and floating through along the underground river through the caverns. Only two hours from Rotorua, the Waitomo Caves can be a day trip organized by your Rotorua accommodation or a stopover on its own.
The twin glaciers Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, on the South Island’s west coast, are wonders of nature only found in a few places on the planet. The glaciers can be explored by foot on either a guided tour or at your leisure on a self-guided tour. The walks take you past spectacular ice formations and into pure blue ice caves for an experience you’re unlikely to forget. Other activities in the area include mountain biking through the surrounding rainforests, white water rafting, horse treks, hot pools, kayaking, and even helicopter scenic flights. Accommodation in the area caters to all budgets and all types of travelers.
The pristine Bay of Islands is everything a nature lover yearns for, crystal clear water inhabited by rare varieties of seals and aquatic birds, spectacular coastline providing many a photo opportunity and stunning forests boasting ancient Kauris and an abundance of native wildlife. The Bay of Islands can be enjoyed either by water or on land with a variety of activities available for both. The water and its inhabitants can be explored on a cruise or a chartered boat or if you like to be closer to the action, a kayak might be more your style. Bushwalkers will love the myriad of tracks and campsites winding through the surrounding bushland and may even be lucky enough to spot some of the rare and unique species of bird living in the area. The Bay of Islands area has an extensive range of accommodation from campsites and backpackers right through to resorts and hotels.
New Zealand is a geographically isolated island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Its climate is mild and temperate. The country boasts of unique species of flora and fauna. It is a fantastic place to visit by tourists from all over the world. It has fascinating places to visit, a unique culture to witness, and special events to attend to. There are many Places to go in New Zealand has given below….
The most populated city in New Zealand has an interesting cosmopolitan air and hundreds of things to do. If you have to choose, the icon of Auckland is the Sky Tower, a futuristic tower that with 328 meters is the highest structure in the southern hemisphere. In only 40 seconds you reach the top in an elevator. There, the floor is transparent and the image of the city at the feet of the visitor is unique, just like the horizon, with views of up to 80 kilometers in any direction. More emotion? You can jump from another lower point of the tower-192 meters not insignificant-or feel like Spiderman, going around that same height, but on a platform 1.2 meters wide, harness in between.
It is all paradisiacal that can be imagined when thinking about the beaches of New Zealand. This bay of islands is well north of the North Island and is composed of more than 150 small uninhabited islands among which you can navigate, swim alone or with dolphins, or just jump on the sand to see the turquoise sea. Among the cities highlighted is Paihia, preferred by locals for vacationing, and also Kerikeri, with beautiful landscapes and orchards – a source of employment for temporary workers – of kiwis and citrus fruits.
Mount Maunganui is really an inactive volcano, part of the city of Tauranga – picturesque and full of nightlife – in the Bay of Plenty region. It is a mecca for surfing and, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. Here, the landscape is everything: a narrow sandbar that offers two coasts and at the tip of the peninsula is crowned with the imposing volcano.
The first thing that is perceived in Rotorua is not the most pleasant: the bad smell, due to the high presence of sulfur and other minerals. Fortunately, this is compensated by all that the city offers: thermal springs, geysers and lakes, and the Maori heritage – more than a third of the population. From crafts and legends to museums that delve into the local aboriginal culture make one of the experiences to live native New Zealand.
It is known as one of the ten best trekking in the world. Despite having inspired the infernal Mordor of The Lord of the Rings, the unpredictability of the landscape and the weather, which they turn from one moment to another, makes the fabulous of this walk. There are almost 20 kilometers that start very early in the morning and end at the opposite end, in the afternoon. In the middle, wild scenes, other gray and almost lunar, alternate with craters and the mythical volcanic lakes, of an amazing emerald color for their mineral components.
In the Waikato region, south of Auckland, there is a cave system of more than two million years old. The most popular is the Glowworm Cave (Cave of Fireflies), formed by stalactites and stalagmites and illuminated by millions of small insects that draw a kind of surreal Milky Way
The name of the city baptizes the largest lake in New Zealand, in the center of the North Island. Here, many adventure activities are offered, such as bungee jumping or parachute jumping. But for those who love fishing, here is one of the most prestigious fishing lodges in the world, the Huka Lodge. On the banks of the Waikato River, which is astonishing due to its striking emerald color, the accommodation is luxurious and offers activities worthy of a traditional lodge, such as fly fishing. Among its most famous guests are the queens of England and Holland, and also, of course, Princess Máxima.
An underground river of hot water flows under the sand of the beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula, 175 kilometers from Auckland, on the Pacific Ocean. The best way to enjoy a bath of hot and thermal waters is by digging on the coast at low tide. The important thing is to be attentive to the schedules because, in addition, the conditions are only given for two hours a day. The experience is so popular in the area – known as Hot Water Beach – that if you forgot the shovel you do not have to worry, they rent them there.
The New Zealand capital is beautiful, vibrant, cultural. If there is something unmissable in it, it is its museums. The Te Papa Tongarewa, the main attraction with avant-garde architecture, pays homage to the history of the country with exhibitions that teach from its geography to the Maori heritage and all its art. Another must-see is the Karori Sanctuary Trust, a 225-hectare reserve that set out to recover the natural environment as it was before the arrival of man and predators, preserving species of flora and fauna typical of the country.
You think New Zealand looks great, but you’re not sure how to organize your New Zealand trip there? Discover below the first information to turn your dream of New Zealand into reality.
At least a month, ideally more. Yes, New Zealand looks like a very small country, but there’s so much going on that you’re going to need some time. If you do not have all that time, then make the most of it or stay at the main sights.
But do not panic, if you only have one week, you will still have a fantastic time; and you will still be able to see some of the hidden gems that make New Zealand so special.
Well, New Zealand is not the next door (but that’s the point of traveling, no?) But it’s easy to get there. There are many travel agents specializing in organizing trips for young (or youthful) travelers, and flights can be surprisingly cheap (especially if you avoid high seasons).
STA Travel (Global)
Frogs in NZ
New Zealand airports and airlines that can get you there
Come on, it’s time to make papers. If you want to enter the country (and stay there), there are some possibilities, and for most people, it’s actually quite easy. If you just want to come for a short visit (less than 3 months) and you do not plan to work on site, then most of you will be able to do without a visa. If you want to stay longer (up to 3 years for some people), or if you want to work during your stay, you will need a working holiday visa. Getting the visa is actually quite simple, and our friends from the Immigration Department will provide you with all the information.
The great thing about New Zealand is that everything is relatively close to everything, so it’s easy to get around, and you do not need the day to get to the next cool place (besides, the trip itself is fabulous). The main options are the bus tour with stops on demand, motorhome, rental car, private car, skateboard, rollers or kiwi back.
The Cari-homestay offers fabulous accommodation options, and all are quite economical (like that, you can keep more cash for fun!) There are a bunch of great hostels everywhere, which are really perfect to meet other travelers, and usually that’s where it moves. But if you want to impress your latest conquest, there are also some quality hotels/motels that offer great deals. You can also camp in the holiday parks, the Department of Conservation campgrounds and other planned areas spread throughout the territory.
Ooooh, great question! All the places frequented by backpackers and activities that you have probably heard of are really cool. The really cool thing about New Zealand is that you can go to the most beautiful places and do some really cool things! But the backpacking trip is mostly those little moments and experiences gleaned at random.
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