One thing that will surprise you about New Zealand is how many things there are to do here. This country may be much smaller than neighbouring Australia, but with its cosmopolitan cities, rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, luxury destinations and adrenaline pumping adventures, it certainly delivers on fun, relaxation and beauty.
1. Trek the Routeburn Track
One of the biggest things that lures travellers to New Zealand is the stunning scenery and you’ll find some of the best in Fiordland National Park. If walking is your thing, no other area comes close to this stunning national park. Here you’ll find four main walking tracks – Routeburn, Hollyford, Milford and Kepler. Of these, Milford is the most walked, but Routeburn offers a shorter trek and some of the most varied scenery. A camera and good walking shoes are a must here!
2. Wander on over To Wanaka
If you want to visit a laid back town to spend some quality downtime, Wanaka should be at the top of your list. One of the most popular ways to spend time here is to book onto the “Siberia Experience”. The experience begins with a spectacular flight over the amazing views of Mount Aspiring after which you will touch down in the break-taking Siberia Valley where you can hike through the beech forest and meadows before you are whisked back to where you started by jet boat. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
3. Swim with the fishes
If you have always dreamed of swimming with dolphins or watching whales, pay a visit to Kaikoura on the South Island. Here you’ll find warm waters that are rich with much marine life including dolphins, sperm whales and the royal albatross. There are many companies offering dolphin encounters with many boats offering food, refreshments and even hot showers.
4. Get cosy in Blanket Bay
If you are looking for a luxury lodge with a difference, Blanket Bay offers a marvellous retreat situated on Lake Wakatipu. Offering panoramic mountain views, steam rooms, swimming pools, jet boating, games room and an intriguing wine cave, this is one place that will make your trip all the more memorable and relaxing.
5. Visit the Abel Tasman coast track
If sandy beaches are your thing, you’re going to love Abel Tasman National Park. This beautiful area offers pristine beaches lapped by cool waters and an abundance of wildlife. Here you can choose to take a gentle stroll or ramp up the pace to a more strenuous climb. If you find you need a little help or the heat is getting the better of you, you can find many water taxi stops along the way that will take you back to civilisation.
6. The sky’s the limit
Want to really mark your NZ trip? How about jumping from a plane? As one of the world’s biggest adventure playgrounds, where better to take your virgin skydive than here? Skydives are surprisingly inexpensive and start at around £76 and there are many places to jump and many companies offering to take you up and ensure you get back down safely.
7. Christchurch is a must
Christchurch is so many different things all at once. Offering a great place to sleep off the jetlag whilst also offering an abundance of culture, vibrancy and fun, a stop in Christchurch is an absolute must. Make Hagley Park, the magnificent Botanical Gardens and the Christchurch Art Gallery top of your to do list.
8. Surf and soak in Coromandel
For the best fishing, swimming and surfing around, the Coromandel Peninsula offers it all. In fact, one of its provinces, Whangamata is known as the “surfing capital of New Zealand.” For a beautiful walk, head to Hahei and head to Hot Water Beach where you can make your own thermal spa in the hot sands.
9. Plan a Milford Sound expedition
One of the most breathtaking road journeys you can take in New Zealand is along the State Highway 94. Steep valleys, towering mountains and dense forest await you in this captivating region set on the southwest side of the South Island, but nothing can prepare you for what comes next. At the end of the road lies Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful fiords in the world with Mitre Peak rising majestically out of the water. Boarding a boat will take you 10 miles out to sea where seals, bottlenose dolphins and penguins can all be spotted.
10. Hit the slopes
With its clearly defined seasons, New Zealand lends itself perfectly to hiking during the summer and outstanding skiing during the winter. Some of the best places to ski in New Zealand include The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Treble Cone or you might like to take a helicopter out for some dramatic black run skiing on some of the best backcountry runs.
Daniel Abrahams is Co-founder and CEO of MyTravelMoney.co.uk.
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