New Zealand is a place from a fairy tale that stopped right here on Earth. Holidays to this country can range anywhere from two weeks to a year, and you still won’t see it all. Since, sadly, we usually cannot afford to wander around New Zealand for a whole year (it’s quite pricey!), here are the top experiences in the country that one has to have!
Cruise around Fiordland
Fiordland, the area in the south of New Zealand, is regarded by many as a natural wonder of the world. It’s no wonder – pun intended! – because this wilderness of glaciated mountain landforms stemming from the sea is indeed something different. The star of the Fiordland is Milford Sound, an amazing fiord with breath-taking waterfalls and if seen during the winter, lovely snow-capped peaks. To experience it in the best way, opt for a cruise or kayak. If you have the means, maybe you should consider “flightseeing” by a helicopter. Don’t be surprised when you see dolphins or seals!
Meet Maori culture
Maori culture and language are a big part of modern-day New Zealand. Did you know that even the Prime Minister named her daughter both in English and Maori? (The name of the little one is Neve Te Aroha, “te aroha” meaning love in Maori.) Since they arrived from their mythical Polynesian home, the Maoris have made a significant impact on New Zealand – just see the names of places throughout the country, especially in the north, and not to mention the famous haka played before every All Blacks rugby match! The centre of the Maori culture is Rotorua, where you can visit an authentic Maori village, see them dance, sing and have a feast. But even Auckland offers Maori experiences, so make sure to find out something about the first settlers of the two islands.
Se Some Real Magic
Well, not exactly real… but close enough! Waitomo Caves are known around the world for the glow worms that reside there and light up the limestone walls of the caves. This is truly a light festival of nature! You can take an underground tour, or opt for something more adventurous, such as hiking or heading on a rafting expedition inside the caves. Whatever it is, you’ll be mesmerised by the beauty of the light show!
Enjoy Winter Activities
Ski lovers will feel at home in New Zealand! Just make sure you go to the South Island because the Northerners don’t see much snow! An hour away from Christchurch you can experience amazing skiing in New Zealand at Mt Hutt, where the snow is of a high-quality, and you’ll be falling head over heels for the kiwi hospitality. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Christchurch as well, as it’s such a vibrant and energetic city with a great hospitality scene!
Taste the Gorgeous Wines of Waiheke
Waiheke is an island just off the coast of Auckland. Hop on a ferry for a day trip, but chances are you will like it more and wish to stay there for longer! This island is a fantastic oasis far away from the noise and the crowds, though it’s still close enough that some people working in Auckland opt for living there. No wonder, since it’s a perfect mix of beaches, vineyards and good restaurants – a place to unwind and relax. Thanks to the local climate, this place does some excellent wines, so go for a wine tasting tour in one of the many vineyards and enjoy both the good wine and the sea views.
Hike Lava Flows
Don’t worry, it’s not an active volcano! The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a must-do while in New Zealand. Many say that this is the best day walk in the country. The 19 km hike will take you across the ancient volcanic terrain, show you emerald lakes that die to be photographed, old lava flows and a crater. The views are wonderful, so even though the hike is not the easiest one, it’s well worth of troubles.
Bonus for Tolkien Lovers: Get Inside a Movie
Tolkien-heads will know that their favourite movies were filmed right here in New Zealand. Of course, you can go ahead and chase all the locations across the country, but you can take the easy and photogenic approach and satisfy your Tolkien love with Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. This is close to Rotorua so you can combine it with the visit to this town. A guided tour of the Hobbiton will probably be the next best thing to actually living inside a book or a movie. Don’t forget to take the photo in front of the little round door!
This is just a crash course in must-do activities in New Zealand. You’ll see that every acre of place offers something amazing and memory-worthy! Have a great trip!