Energetic cities and sleepy villages set against a backdrop of mountains, valleys, glaciers and lakes define New Zealand and it’s a truly fantastic place to visit whatever your age. With an incredibly diverse offering of things to see and do, New Zealand isn’t just any old holiday destination; it’s one that is filled with unforgettable experiences. So, here’s my pick of the top 10 experiences in New Zealand!
The mightily impressive Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are located on the western coast of the South Island and provide the setting for an action packed day of heli-hiking, ice climbing and more. Whether you fancy a half or full day excursion, all ages can enjoy the natural beauty of these stunning glaciers, up close and personal!
Black Water Rafting
The Waitomo Caves are the setting for a unique and adventurous black water rafting experience that you won’t want to miss. Small groups will slip on wet suits and abseil, climb, jump and float through underground water caves, guided by the light of thousands of glow worms adorning the cave walls.
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Kaikoura on the North Island is famed as a hot spot for whale watching, with giant sperm whales, sometimes up to 20 metres in length and weighing over 50 tons, often found frolicking in the waters off shore. There are a number of whale watching boat tour companies in the area which whilst offering excellent purpose built boats with great viewing and photography areas, also have a sharp focus on marine conservation. Get up close to these gentle giants and perhaps even meet some dolphins too!
New Zealand is a minefield of spectacular scenery and one of the best places to experience it is at Milford Sound. Located on the South Island, Milford Sound is a fjord found within the Fjordland National Park and is perhaps one of New Zealand’s best known tourist attractions. A great variety of wildlife from dolphins and whales to seals and penguins frolic in the waters while lush rainforests cling to the surrounding peaks. There are two permanent waterfalls here but plan a trip after heavy rain if possible, when hundreds of waterfalls tumble down the side of the surrounding rock faces. It truly should not be missed during your time in the country.
Marlborough Wine Tour
Australasia exports some delicious wine and it is the Marlborough region which is responsible for New Zealand’s tasty offerings. Embark on a wine tasting tour and indulge your taste buds with stops at a selection of top vineyards and wineries whilst also enjoying the opportunity to explore a beautiful part of the country.
As the adrenaline and adventure sports capital of the world, no trip to New Zealand would be complete without a hair-raising activity or two and what better experience than AJ Hackett’s Nevis Bungee Jump over the Nevis River in Queenstown. As the highest jump in the country at 134m (440ft), it’s certainly not for the faint hearted but if you complete it, you will feel like you can truly accomplish anything!
Abel Tasman National Park
Gorgeous turquoise waters, golden beaches and lush green forests characterise Abel Tasman National Park, arguably one of the finest places to both walk and kayak in the entire country, perhaps even the southern hemisphere. Tackle the tramping track which follows the coastline or alternatively try the inland track which is much less busy. Whichever option you choose, there’s no denying that it’s a great place to experience New Zealand’s natural landscape.
Lord of the Rings Tour
One of the most successful and popular trilogies of all time, the Lord of the Rings was filmed right here in New Zealand and it was these movies that has perhaps seen New Zealand make its way onto many people’s bucket lists, thanks to the towering mountains and breathtaking landscapes featured within. Visit Hobbiton, complete with Hobbit Holes and more during a DIY Lord of The Rings tour with a hire car in New Zealand!
Whether you are young or old, or somewhere in between, the exhilaration of skydiving is impossible to describe wherever you choose to do it. When you choose New Zealand as your location for such a feat however, it will be even more incredible. With your heart in your throat, and a Cheshire cat grin on your face, the views of the stunning Lake Wanaka or of Queenstown will be unforgettable when viewed from 12,000ft!
Arthur’s Pass may or may not be familiar to you, but when driving in New Zealand, do be sure to include this road in your route where possible. Built at an elevation of 3,018ft, the road traverses the Southern Alps, winding around mountains and providing breathtaking views, including that of the Otira Viaduct. It is often described as the best drive in New Zealand!