WHAT TO SEE & DO
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Take a Road Trip
It’s true; road trips are somewhat of a pastime even for the locals in New Zealand and the absolute best way to see the country. That being said, the roads are incredibly windy, crooked, and unforgiving, and certainly not something to underestimate.
With this in mind, while some travellers rent a car or campervan for their road trip around New Zealand, just as many opt for an organized tour to navigate the rugged landscapes more safely.
Getting Off the Beaten Path
That being said, whether you end up on a tour or not, the landscapes are so incredibly wild in New Zealand and getting off the beaten path is guaranteed. In fact, much of the beauty about travelling in this part of the world lies in the uncertainty of nature and the surprises you encounter at every turn.
That is to say, you might be driving away from the city of Wellington and minutes later, find yourself standing on an isolated beach with hundreds of sea lions. You see, these remote or “romantic” experiences are common on both islands, for they are sparsely populated and overflowing with natural beauty.
And that’s just part of the story….
Highlights of Visiting New Zealand
The truth is, getting around New Zealand is one thing but getting out there is another one entirely. Hiking, kayaking, and extreme sports can be found everywhere you go which really does make this an outdoor lovers paradise.
But then you know this already, right?
It’s true, the endless mountains, lakes and hiking trails make it so easy to get outdoors and every destination has something different to offer:
Visiting the Capital - Wellington
If you’re like me, the countryside if far more enticing than any city in any part of the world. However, there is still something special and fun about the capital, which has a distinctly fun atmosphere and many things to do. In fact, there are endless café’s, restaurants, museums and art galleries in Wellington while Mount Victoria offers a quick escape where visitors can drink in some stunning views of the city. Either way, Wellington is a colourful city and a great place to start an adventure.
Hiking in New Zealand
As you can imagine, the diverse landscapes and natural areas of beauty make New Zealand the absolute perfect destination for hiking. When you add shimmering lakes, green valleys and towering peaks to this statement, you should also understand that it’s one of the number one hiking destinations on the planet. From the Kepler Trek to Tongario Alpine Crossing, the hiking trails are endless and with a fantastic network of mountain huts dotted around the interior, intrepid hikers can explore some of the most isolated landscapes without having to worry about “getting stuck outdoors”.
As far as outdoor activities go, hiking is just as popular with the locals as it is with the tourists who arrive to hike alongside “Mount Doom” from Lord of the Rings!
Kayaking in New Zealand
You guessed it; New Zealand is just as famed for kayaking and various pockets of the islands are nothing short of breath-taking to explore in this way. Take Marlborough Sounds for example, where you can find beautiful turquoise waters with rugged peaks standing on all sides. As you might expect, seeing New Zealand from a kayak is much different to being on foot and it certainly offers a different perspective of the landscapes. Indeed, New Zealand is obviously surrounded by the sea but the many shimmering lakes make this the perfect place to explore in a kayak.
Other Adventure Activities in New Zealand
New Zealand is popular for high adrenaline adventure activities, and the likes of skydiving or bungy jumping are on the bucket list for many backpackers in particular. That being said, not everything is as “full on” and you will find activities such as paragliding, zorbing, caving and white water rafting in various spots on both islands.
Maori Culture and Modern Day Fame
As you may know, Maoris were the first people to live in New Zealand and the peoples have a fascinating history and culture. What’s more, Maoris are also known as an incredibly friendly and hospitable people so experiencing this side of the island is always a real treat.
For example, you can take in Maori culture shows in Rotorua or even Te Papa Museum in Wellington, and whatever you encounter is likely to leave you with a deeper appreciation for New Zealand as a whole.
On the other hand, many visitors arrive in New Zealand with visions of Mount Doom and other movie scene locations from Lord of the Rings. In fact, you can even take LOTR tours and venture into Fangorn Forest, Gonder! Either way, this can put a very fun spin on a trip to New Zealand and also gives you an opportunity to step inside the house of a hobbit.
Winding in and out of Abel Tasman, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were suddenly in Thailand. Featuring white powder beaches and pristine waters, this tropical haven is incredibly lush and ripe for adventure. That is, you can hike or kayak to your hearts content in Abel Tasman and it really does deserve at least two or three days to explore.
Queenstown may be a little busy at certain times of year but the hype is real and the crowds often add to the excitement. After all, this is the adventure or adrenaline capital of New Zealand and who wants to bungy or skydive on their own?!
Needless to say, the above activities are not for everyone but at the same time, there is so much more to do in the surrounding areas. Once again, these surroundings consist of mountains, lakes, hiking trails and beautiful parks which make Queenstown a popular stop for visitors looking to get into the outdoors.
Situated in the very south of New Zealand, Fjordland is another famous outdoor destination where lakes, mountains, rivers and forests collide. You can explore this region by plane or boat but then hiking trails and campsites also make many areas accessible on a tour. In case you might not be aware, Fjoredland is home to famous New Zealand attractions and destinations such as the Milford, Routeburn, and Keppler Tracks & Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
About Camping in New Zealand
There was a time when wild camping was legal in New Zealand but due to safety concerns and protection of the environment, camping is reserved for designated sites only. That being said, these are fantastic campsites and a great place from which to explore the surrounding trails or attractions.
About Taking a Tour in New Zealand
Let’s be honest, New Zealand is not the most inexpensive country in the world and the winding roads can make self-driving a daunting task. For this reason, many travellers regard organized tours of New Zealand as the best way to see the country.
You know, whether you camp, hike, swim, kayak or fly your way around the islands; New Zealand is an outdoor paradise and one of the most exciting travel destinations in the world. Sure, you might run into more sheep than people in New Zealand but nonetheless, there are just as many memories to be made on these stunning islands in Oceania.