New Zealand has to be one of my favorite places in the world after traveling around the south and north island last summer.
It is a country when no single day is the same and every corner you turn something else manages to take your breath away. Here is a list of my recommended locations to visit on a trip to New Zealand.
Sailing in the Bay of Islands
Located in the north island, the Bay of Islands is close to the northern tip of the country and is known for its world class sailing and a collection of over 140 islands with a coastline sporting four villages, including the charming town of Russell. When I was there last spring it was still quite cold so we didn't much but we did take a boat trip around the islands and stopped off on one island for a picnic. We also saw dolphins following the boat around the island.
This place was my favorite, throughout the whole trip I was looking forward to visiting Hobbiton and despite the weather we had such a fun day. You arrive on coach and get delivered to the Hobbiton village with your tour leader. They then lead you around the village, telling you where best to get photos and they also let you go in to some of the hobbit holes. It is such a fun day out whether you are a LOTR fan or not!
Now I haven't done this myself but my best friend did. I just didn't have the guts! I have been told if you are going to jump to do it in either Australia at the Great Barrier Reef or in New Zealand at either Abel Tasman National Park, Fox Glacier or in the Bay of Islands. Splash the cash and really take your breath away!
Bungy Jump in Taupo
Created in New Zealand, the bungee jump is a favorite amongst travelers to the country. The best places to do it is above the Waikato River. For centuries the people of Vanuatu have been leaping from tall towers with vine ropes attached to their ankles, but in the 1980′s commercial bungee jumping was developed by a group of Kiwi's and the rest is history... So fancy a 47 meters high jump above the inviting waters of the Waikato River below? This is THE place to jump!
Hot Thermal Springs in Rotorua
When you visit Rotorua really take your time and take advantage of the thermal experiences everywhere. The steam even appears in the pavements and there are geysers fields, mud pools, fumaroles and hot springs. This thermal activity makes itself known in every corner of the city, and is the reason for the area's famed sulphur scent. And one of the best thermal experiences you can have is at the world renowned Polynesian Spa, voted as a world top 10 spa - it is a wonderland of relaxation. Also head to Hells Gate for a real mud spa!
White Water Rafting on the Tongariro River
If you're after a real wilderness experience, then go White Water Rafting on The Tongariro River. It's one of New Zealand's most famous rivers. It is also pretty spectacular and in between conquering each rapid, you will be witness to ancient beech forests, rainbow trout swimming upstream, breathtaking gorges, limestone and volcanic cliffs, and water so clean and fresh you could drink it.
Auckland's Sky Walk
Hit up the Auckland skyline with only a safety harness attaching you to the tower. This tourist attraction is a great for anyone visiting Auckland. The one meter wide platform with no handrails includes a walk around the 360 degrees of the tower and is suspended 192 meters above the ground, with nothing but air on either side of you. You will need some balls for this one. People also jump from the tower so if this doesn't take your fancy and you go for Afternoon Tea instead be prepared to see a persons face appear in front of you every 20 minutes.
The 24-meter high Whangarei Falls is known as the most photogenic waterfall in all of New Zealand. Because of its ease of access, picturesque bush setting, and guaranteed 365 days per year flow, it is a must see if you are in the Whangarei area.This spot makes for a good photo opportunity and also a good rest stop if you've been on the road a while. Sit back and relax to the sound of the water hitting the rocks below.
A Winery Tour in Nelson
Hawke's Bay is the usual place for a winery tour but in recent years Nelson has also become a hit with tourists wanting to taste the Malborough wine. It is one of New Zealand's premier wine regions and there is an abundance of wineries in the area. If you feel adventurous, why not hire bikes and visit a few in a day? Just be careful about drink biking!
Discover Maori Culture at the Tamaki Cultural Experience
There are many cultural experiences around the world but this one is simply one of the best. They don't do it for the money and instead pride themselves on their culture and want to educate people to the world both past and present to their wonderful culture. The Tamaki village experience is an incredible evening out with friends as they talk to you about their traditions, get you involved with the cooking and then serve you up an amazing buffet meal. They love to sharing their culture and the Tamaki Village experience is the BEST cultural experience I have had.
Cuba Street in Wellington
One of the more bohemian areas of Wellington, Cuba Street is the home to an eclectic collection of cafes, op-shops, boutique, small fashion stores, art galleries, and music shops. It is the centre of one of the four 'quarters' of downtown Wellington, the Cuba Quarter. It is also home to the Te Papa museum only a five minute towards the harbor and provides a great day out for children and adults!
What can you recommend to do in New Zealand?
Want to find out more about New Zealand, Australia and many more? Have a read of my own travel blog here.