My go to to New Zealand just a few months in the past marked my second time within the nation. A lot had modified within the half decade since I had been there. The nation was extra crowded and costly with the sleepy cities I keep in mind now bursting with vacationers. But, in so some ways, New Zealand was nonetheless the attractive pearl I remembered from years in the past. Christchurch was recovering from its earthquakes and now a hip place to be; Wanaka was nonetheless an unbelievable place to go mountain climbing; the glaciers had been simply as mind-blowing as ever; the forests nonetheless residence to great walks; and Kiwis simply as enjoyable and pleasant as ever.
This second go to allowed me to hit up many new locations – in addition to go to a few of my previous favorites. So, for once you go (I say “when” not “if,” as a result of this nation is so unbelievable that’s ought to 100% be in your record and, if it’s not, I’m gonna come discover you and drag you there!), listed here are my favourite locations to go to and issues to do in New Zealand that you just shouldn’t miss:
Discover Abel Tasman Nationwide Park
Moving into Abel Tasman is in some methods like entering into Thailand. The attractive seashores and azure water really feel like they belong within the tropics, not New Zealand. The mountain climbing is gorgeous, with big ferns, enormous, lush timber, and a temperate local weather. There are a number of one- to three-day hikes right here. And, when you actually wish to see this park, kayak round. This allows you to discover the tiny coves and seashores that make the world so particular. The park is finest as an in a single day or multi-day journey because it’s too removed from Nelson to essentially do it justice in a day journey.
Glacier trekking on Fox and Franz Josef
Climbing these two glaciers lives lives as much as the hype. As a result of the glaciers have receded and are melting rapidly, the glacier caves and walks have been shut down. The one option to trek on the glaciers now could be by way of heli-hike (a half-day helicopter/mountain climbing expertise). They’re costly ($400 NZD, or $290 USD) however the helicopter journey, trekking, and entire expertise are well worth the worth in my view. Moreover, you possibly can simply go on a helicopter tour (they final about twenty or minutes) or simply hike to the glacier face and take footage. It doesn’t matter what choice you select, cross via this space whilst you make your means down the South Island.
Do an Excessive Sport
New Zealand is the journey capital of the world, the place most individuals blow their funds on a variety of thrilling actions, from bungy leaping to skydiving to white-water rafting. There are 1,000,000 actions to select from: you possibly can skydive mainly anyplace; Queenstown is residence to Shotover jets (rocket like boats that zip on shallow rivers), ziplines, and bungy jumps; and there’s caving, zorbing, transalpine mountain climbing, paragliding, and a lot extra. If it may be carried out outdoor, it may be carried out in New Zealand.
Hike the Tongariro Crossing
Thought of the most effective day hike in all of New Zealand, the monitor takes you to the place they filmed Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. The 19.four km stroll is simple in components (the start and finish) and steep in others (particularly the portion after “Mount Doom”) so that you’ll get a great mixture of problem ranges. Nevertheless, even when you aren’t a powerful hiker (and I’m not), the Tongariro Crossing is definitely accomplished in a day. Trekking via this otherworldly, red-colored surroundings of volcanoes and sulfur was the spotlight of my entire time in New Zealand.
Find out about Maori tradition
Maoris had been the unique inhabitants of New Zealand and I’ve beloved studying about their historical past and tradition (particularly after seeing the film Whale Rider. It’s unbelievable. Watch it!) They’re a pleasant and proud individuals, and there wasn’t one Maori particular person I met who I didn’t love. Rotorua is often the most effective metropolis to see Maori cultural exhibits, although there are different noteworthy websites across the nation, together with the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Tane Mahuta, and the Te Papa museum in Wellington.
Don’t miss Wellington
Wellington has character. Everybody talks about Auckland (which, opposite to common perception, shouldn’t be the capital), however the true magic takes place in Wellington (which is the capital). The structure and eclectic vibe give this metropolis a cool character. The town has a popping nightlife, tons of artwork galleries and cafés, a phenomenal harbor (that’s finest seen from Mount Victoria, which overlooks all the metropolis), and is definitely walkable. You’ll want to hit a number of the museums just like the Museum of Wellington, Te Papa, and the Nice Struggle Exhibition.
Try the glow worms
Undoubtedly one of many coolest issues I did whereas in New Zealand, the Waitomo glow worm cave is hyped and touristy however nonetheless wonderful. You stroll or abseil down into darkness and float down the (very chilly) river whereas staring up at caverns lined in “lights.” It’s like trying on the stars —however (spoiler) they’re really fungus gnats that glow as a result of a chemical response as they entice meals. Nonetheless, beautiful although. Completely beautiful and funky. I discovered the three-hour journey lengthy sufficient, however when you wish to abseil, it’s best to take into account the five-hour model. This expertise is one among my most lasting reminiscences from my journey.
Hand around in Queenstown
Everybody hypes Queenstown. Everybody. However Queenstown is every little thing they are saying it’s—and extra. It has such a feisty and outdoorsy vitality to it. Although it has turn out to be vastly common and crammed with individuals, I can’t categorical my love of Queenstown sufficient. It’s surrounded by lovely peaks, has slim streets and pedestrian lanes crammed with outlets and eating places, a spectacular, crystal like lake, tons of trails and parks, with Queenstown Hill watching over it like a benevolent overlord. This is likely one of the finest spots within the nation to do an excessive sport (bungy, skydive, shotover jet, and many others), take a wine tour, or simply relax on a close-by seaside.
Go to Hobbiton
If you happen to’re a The Lord of the Rings junkie, New Zealand is ideal for you. That is the place they did all of the filming, and all through the nation, you possibly can take Lord of the Rings excursions and go to Fangorn Forest, Gondor, and the place Frodo destroys the one ring. A lot of the units had been taken down, however a little bit of the Shire and a number of the hobbit homes nonetheless stay on the North Island.
Positioned within the southwesternmost a part of New Zealand (and in addition residence to quite a few Lord of the Rings movie areas), the area is taken into account one of many nation’s most scenic and distant. Crammed with gigantic mountains, deep lakes, swelling rivers, untamed forests, and resplendent fjords, most of it has by no means been set upon by man. Save just a few locations the place boats and planes can go, the federal government has made the land off-limits, guaranteeing that that would be the case for a very long time to return. This area is residence to the majestic Milford and Uncertain Sounds, the Milford and Keppler Tracks, and plenty of tenting and mountain climbing alternatives. If you wish to expertise New Zealand’s nature away from the crowds, come right here.
Uncover Stewart Island
Tiny, out-of-the-way Stewart Island lies off the South Island on the very, very backside of New Zealand. It’s a spot the place Kiwis have their summer season properties and go to flee the hustle and bustle of, effectively, I assume Auckland. (There’s not an excessive amount of hustle and bustle in New Zealand.) The city has possibly a dozen buildings; the shoreline dotted with personal properties and boats. Come right here to see dolphins and do some single-day or multiday treks. If you happen to aren’t into mountain climbing, you don’t want greater than a day or two right here, except you actually need some peace and quiet, then keep eternally.
Relax in Christchurch
Although severely broken by earthquakes in the previous few years, it’s changing into a brand-new metropolis. The previous Christchurch felt actually stale to me however this new one is de facto on the up. Whereas there’s nonetheless a number of open area from demolished buildings, you’ll additionally discover a number of new building, a way of hope and vibrancy, funky bars, extra markets, new eating places, outlets, and displays. Locals are actually utilizing this opportunity to make a greater Christchurch. I beloved my go to. If you happen to’ll be there for just a few days, remember to take a look at Canterbury Museum and Quake Metropolis, and remember to journey the gondola, as effectively!
Drink copious quantities of wine
New Zealand is legendary for wine, producing a number of the finest whites the world has to supply. If you happen to like wine, remember to take a tour in Otago (identified for its pinot), Hawkes Bay, or Marlborough (identified for sauvignon blancs). There are many biking trails right here, so you possibly can drink and bike round (higher than ingesting and driving!) when you don’t wish to pay for an costly tour. The Gibbston Valley bike path runs from Queenstown to Cromwell and crosses via various vineyards. You’ll want to cease at Moist Jacket, a transformed sheep shed-cum-winery with a cheese room.
***This record solely scratches the floor of what there’s to see and do in New Zealand. There’s additionally the Bay of Islands, Raglan for browsing, the Coromandel, Dunedin for beer, Wanaka and Mt. Prepare dinner for mountain climbing, Hammer Springs for decent springs, and, effectively, you get the concept. Everybody will discover one thing to get pleasure from on this nation crammed with journey and wildlife. Vacationers not often have something dangerous to say about New Zealand, and, as you possibly can see, you’ll discover loads of actions to see and do within the nation.
Go go to. It awaits!
For extra data on touring this nation, prices, and issues to do, go to my information to New Zealand travel.