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Essential New Zealand - Our Top 10 Experiences

Ben Hall

Just a three hour flight across the Tasman, New Zealand possesses some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes and unusual experiences; it’s also a haven for Hobbits! Whether you’re cruising into scenic ports, exploring by road, or doing both on a Grand Pacific Tour, there’s plenty for visitors to see, do and enjoy. Here’s our top 10. 

1.  Cruise into Milford Sound

Located on the southwestern coast of the South Island, this stunning alpine inlet is an untouched wilderness. It’s a place where towering mountains plunge into a freshwater sound, where icy water cascades from the hillsides in dramatic waterfalls, and where snowcapped peaks rip through rain clouds.

2.  Eat breakfast with the world’s smallest dolphin 

Akaroa is a former French and British settlement nestling in the heart of an ancient volcano. Its pristine waters are home to the very rare and tiny Hector’s dolphin; spot them in abundance on a morning harbour cruise, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for a swim with them.

3.  Take a scenic flight over the Bay of Islands

Located on the northeastern tip of the North Island, this scenic natural harbour is dotted with islands and unusual rock formations. One of the best ways to appreciate its magnificence is from the air, spotting marine life and famous landmarks including The Black Rocks.

4.  Exploring the National Museum of New Zealand

Wellington is packed with attractions, but a must-do for every visitor is the museum also called Te Papa Tongarewa. Here you can enjoy thousands of years of New Zealand’s history in a single day, through its art, Pacific, Māori, and nature displays.

5.  Touring Middle Earth

When Sir Peter Jackson went looking for a place to film The Lord of the Rings, he didn’t have to travel far from home. Besides dramatic Fijordland, other jaw-dropping locations featured in the movies include Wanaka, Queenstown, and Mount Cook.

6.  Jet boating in Queenstown

One of the most popular activities in this alpine paradise is a high speed jet boat ride. A pure adrenaline rush, you get to skim across the pristine waters of lakes, whizz around river corners, and shoot through narrow gorges.

7.  Going to a rugby game

Rugby union is embedded into the hearts of all Kiwis, and when it comes to passion, nothing beats an All Blacks game. Auckland’s Eden Park is one of the most iconic grounds; host of the last Rugby World Cup final in 2011, it’s huge, and imposing.

8.  Visiting the hot springs of Rotorua

Whakarewarewa is one of Rotorua’s most active thermal areas, a bizarre landscape of bubbling mud pools, hot springs and steam. The star attraction is the Pohutu geyser; it erupts 20 times a day, shooting water and steam 30 metres into the air.  

9.  Wine tasting in Marlborough

The South Island is New Zealand’s premier wine country, boasting over 40 cellar doors and unspoiled landscapes. A visit to a vineyard is a must, to savour the vibrant, crisp, herbaceous character wines for which the region is famous. 

10.  Exploring Waitomo Glowworm Caves  

The Arachnocampa luminosa glow worm is unique to New Zealand, and this is the best places to see them in action. Visitors can enjoy a boat ride under thousands of these magical glow worms, as they radiate their unmistakable luminescent light.



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