What are the top things to do in New Zealand?
Although New Zealand is a relatively small country, it’s an incredibly diverse one, filled with great grasslands, towering mountains, warm pacific waters, and a vibrant metropolitan culture. Thanks to this diversity, there is no shortage of things to do in New Zealand.
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1Enjoy a Spectacular View of Auckland on an Exciting Bridge Climb
Auckland’s famous Harbour Bridge has a secret: it’s climbable.
At the top of the Harbour Bridge, you’ll be able to see the city and the sea from a truly unique vantage point. Best of all, it’s completely safe since you are accompanied by experienced guides and fully equipped with a climbing suit and gear. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried climbing before. For the entire two hours of the bridge climb, you’ll be staying on purposely designed walkways.
2Explore the Ocean at New Zealand’s National Aquarium
The National Aquarium of New Zealand is truly world-class. It boasts a staff renowned for their expertise, a commitment to research and conservation, and hundreds of species of sea life on display. No visit to the Aquarium is complete without seeing its colossal Oceanarium. A 1.5 million liter re-creation of the waters around Hawkes Bay, the Oceanarium is home to over 1,500 fish and should be experienced by anyone interested in marine life. It’s like walking at the bottom of the ocean!
3Swim with Dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds
At first glance, Marlborough Sounds is a beautiful series of small islands, yet underneath, it is a complex network of valleys and gorges that were flooded hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Today, it’s a wonderfully diverse marine ecosystem, where you can get close to unique animals.
For many people, swimming with dolphins is a dream. Often times, dolphin swimming occurs in man-made pools built for the purpose, but this isn’t the case here. At Marlborough Sounds you have the opportunity to swim with dolphins in their natural habitat in a way that is both respectful to their natural habitat as well as ethical.
4Discover New Zealand’s History at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, forging a lasting union between the Maori and the British Empire. It is considered to be the most important document in New Zealand’s history, and you can see where it was signed by visiting the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Museum in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
On some evenings you can also enjoy a traditional Maori meal and a performance at this venue – a fantastic way to be introduced to Maori culture.
5Race Down Shotover Canyon
If you are an adrenaline junkie, make sure you visit Queenstown to experience the Shotover River Jet Boat. Here, you can race down the scenic Shotover River Canyon at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. During the 25-minute ride, you’ll spin, rock, and ride downriver while being liberally g splashed by the water around you.
You could also take a tour in a customised 4×4 that races over the local area, including some former gold-mining regions.
6Bathe and Relax in the Rotorua Hot Pools
Since the 19th Century, New Zealanders have flocked to the many luxurious hot springs in the Rotorua area. A visit to these popular hot springs can be a great way to relaxation during your visit to New Zealand.
Today many of the hot springs have been enhanced with a number of additional indulgences. The Polynesian Spa is a particular highlight where you can bathe in the hot spring waters, or enjoy a range of luxurious spa treatments while looking out over the beautiful Lake Rotorua.
7 Take to the Skies Over Lake Taupo
This one will appeal to the romantics! Picture this: you’re up in the air and below you stretches vast expanses of ancient forests bisected by rivers and streams. Then, you see something unexpected – a heart shaped lake of turquoise – Lake Taupo.
Lake Taupo is a true curiosity of nature and is best enjoyed from the air. You could, for example, treat yourself (and perhaps a loved one) to an exclusive flight over the lake from the seat of a helicopter. Alternatively, you can pass from the sea to the air on the Taupo Floatplane. It’s a magical experience, and perfect for a romantic adventure.
8Take a Personalised Tour of the Lake Wanaka Vineyards
New Zealand is a world-class wine region, with its produce popular with connoisseurs everywhere. Whether you are an expert with a developed palate, or simply interested in learning more about locals wines (and want to enjoy some along the way), a tour of the vineyards at Lake Wanaka is one of the top things to do in New Zealand.
9Explore Filming Locations From The Lord of the Rings
For the acclaimed trilogy of films, the country’s towering mountains and grassy plains made the fictitious land of Middle Earth leap off the page and come to life before the eyes of millions of fans. Visiting some of the filming locations is essential for any true cinephile. Luckily, many of them are in close proximity to Wellington. The tranquil Kaitoke National Park, a drive away from Wellington, was used for the area around Rivendell, the home of the Elves.
You can even see some of the props and costumes used in The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit films by touring the legendary Weta Workshop, where they were made.
10Tour New Zealand’s Glaciers
Enjoy a tour in the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, teeming with dramatic glaciers, cavernous crevices, and snow-capped mountains. If you would like a comfortable hike, tour the Franz Josef Glacier Valley and learn how the glacier had carved the landscape millions of years ago.
Those seeking some real adventure can take a helicopter ride to Franz Josef Glacier. Step out onto the ice and enjoy some of the most spectacular alpine scenery in the world, safe in the company of our expert guide.
11Travel Deep Underwater
The Milford Sound Underwater Observatory is situated 10 meters under Harrison Cove. It gives you an unparalleled opportunity to watch some of New Zealand’s sea life in its natural habitat. Better still, due to the Observatory’s unique environment you’ll be able to see rare black coral in addition to the many forms of fish and aquatic life found in these waters. Visiting it, you’ll gain a completely new appreciation for the ocean.
12 Enjoy a Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
If you like the sound of an observatory but prefer to be a bit closer to nature, why not take a trip around Cathedral Cove aboard a glass bottom boat? Here you will pass by the Orua Sea Cave, over thousands of species of fish and the fascinating volcanic coast. You could dive inr yourself and swim among the fish in the warm waters of the cove. It’s a fantastic way to get closer to New Zealand’s diverse array of marine life.
Discover the fascinating sights and sounds of New Zealand by creating a tailor-made, luxury vacation with our experts at Enchanting Travels.
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One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
All the little touches made by our Enchanting Travel consultant, Amelia Edwards, were noticed and recognized by my wife and I. Thank you for making our milestone trip (25th wedding anniversary) such a memorable one! We look forward to engaging Enchanting Travels again for our next South American adventure!!
This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.
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