There are so many things to do in New Zealand that visitors may have to prioritize what they want to see to get most out of their vacation. Ideally, a trip should include both the North and South islands, as they offer very different activities and attractions. If renting a car is not an option, consider taking a bus tour. Flying Kiwi Adventures is one of the first and most famous companies to offer excursions on both islands, which can be a good way to explore New Zealand.
New Zealand is proud of its unspoiled nature and boasts a nice combination of beaches, forests, mountains, and lakes, each offering its own unique set of activities. Great skiing can be enjoyed during the winter months and amazing hiking and cycling welcome summer guests.
AJ Hackett Bungy is a New Zealander who commercialized bungee jumping throughout the world. Head to the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown to enjoy a 141 foot drop. The same company also offers the Auckland Bridge Climb and Auckland Bridge Bungy for even more heart pounding rushes.
New Zealand has some incredible mountains well-suited for serious hiking. There are 18 peaks over 9,800 feet tall, the highest being Mount Cook at 12,316 feet on the South Island. Hiking New Zealand offers a wide range of tours ranging from five to 20 days, for all ability levels. Don't miss hiking an ancient volcano at Tongariro Crossing.
Glacier climbing is another thrilling way to appreciate the mountains. While no experience is necessary, there are more difficult hikes for mountaineering enthusiasts. A thrilling moment is squeezing through the ice caves or crevasses to appreciate all the blue shades of ice. Fox Glacier Guiding offers guided tours of the Fox Glacier, while Franz Josef Glacier Guides has trips across their own peak.
One of the most amazing and unique experiences in New Zealand is black water rafting in Waitomo. Black water basically refers to the underground caves you traverse, but rafting might be a bit misleading. The adventure actually involves wet suits and inner tubes. The Black Water Rafting Company runs visitors through a series of exercises to get used to jumping with the tubes and various hand signals needed to communicate. After you’ve been properly educated, don a helmet and miners light and descend into the darkness. During the calmer parts, visitors will see a natural light show from the glow worms on the cave ceilings that is truly incredible.
Although many people might not consider New Zealand a beach destination, the country is home to some pristine and unusual shores. A local favorite is the Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula where visitors can enjoy the unusual coastal spring. Watch locals dig holes after low tide and sit in the warm pools until the tide comes. There is some great surfing in New Zealand and beginners can learn at the Raglan Surfing School at Whale Bay Beach, known for its great waves.
The South Island is home to some equally standout skiing and snowboarding during the winter season (June to October). Queenstown is the main hub, with Wanaka and Cardrona also having solid slopes. The Snow Park boasts a manmade cross-country track and NZ Snow Tours in Wanaka will be happy to arrange a trip for you.
One of the most amazing experiences in New Zealand is whale watching. The best time of year to see the whales in their natural habitat is between June and November in Kaikoura. Whale Watch offers marine tours, boasting a 95 percent success rate or refund if none are spotted. Along with the behemoths, keep an eye out for seals, dolphins, and other marine mammals.
A fan of the bubbly? There are ten wine growing regions in New Zealand, both on the North Island and South Island. Sauvignon Blanc is the most popular grape that is native to the area and has won many international accolades. Grape Escape will arrange tasting tours through Hawkes Bay wineries or any other regions in New Zealand. For vineyard tours in the Queenstown and Central Otago, seek out Queenstown Wine Trail.