Travel New Zealand By Car/van
Traveling Australia by car is one of the best options you have for seeing the country! This option can also be the most cost-effective as well.
If you select the campervan option then you can make use of campgrounds and park facilities that can help you save on accommodation costs.
While New Zealand is very large, travelling by car allows you to see as much as possible and explore the areas of the country that are not always seen by tourists.
I recommend using Discover Cars to quickly compare rental options.
Look For Greenstone In Hokitika
Dave hasnt taken his Green Stone off since our first trip to New Zealand in 2011. When you are on the west coast of the country, be sure to get yourself a Greenstone gem.
The town of Hokitika is famous for the green stone that washes up on the beaches. If you find a good piece, you can bring them to a studio and someone will make a necklace for you.
Greenstone in the shops is expensive, but if you walk around the markets, you will find some affordable pieces.
Dave wears a Toki around his neck. The Maori used Tokis as a tool, but today they are worn around the neck and represents strength.
Its important not to buy yourself a Toki, they should be given to you. Naturally, I gave one to Dave.
Visit The Tamaki Maori Village In Rotorua
The Tamaki Maori Village experience is New Zealands most awarded cultural attraction. Its an experience founded by Maori brothers, Mike and Doug Tamaki, and currently run by a majority-team of local Rotorua Maori. This makes the Tamaki Maori Village a cultural experience shared with tourists rather than for tourists.
If youre looking for insight into Maori culture, history, and stories, the Tamaki Maori Village is one of the top things to do in New Zealand.
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Spend A Night In The Mueller Hut
Few mountain huts in New Zealand are as famous as the Mueller Hut in Mt Cook National Park. Spending the night at the Mueller Hut was one of the best things I did in New Zealand as it was such an adven ture!
The hike to the hut starts from the White Horse Hill Campsite in Mount Cook National Park and it takes around 5 hours to reach the Mueller Hut. Once at the hut, you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and swap stories with other hikers.
If you cant get a booking at the Mueller Hut then you can also hike up to the hut and back in a day. For this day hike, I would allow at least 7 hours in summer and 9 hours in winter.
Important info: In the summer months, the Mueller Hut must be booked in advance. If youre hiking in winter you must buy your hut ticket on the day at the DOC office in Mount Cook Village. Hut tickets to spend the night are $36 per person. At the Mueller Hut, there are pit toilets, gas burners for cooking, and running water for drinking.
You can read more about hiking to the Mueller Hut including info about booking and hiking in winter.
Sail On Americas Cup Winning Yacht
New Zealands yachting team is one of the best in the world. When in Auckland make sure to experience what it is like to sail an authentic Americas Cup yacht.
This yacht is a previous winner of the Americas cup and this experience is definitely one of the top things to do in Auckland if you are looking for adventure.
Get as involved as you like, or just take in the view of the city from the sea. Either way it is an experience youll never forget.
- Visiting Auckland, book the Hop on Hop off Bus to explore Auckland easily with a hop on hop off bus tour of the city.
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Explore The Christchurch Botanic Gardens
A New Zealand city wouldnt be a New Zealand city without a public garden to be proud of, and nowhere offers a better example of this than the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. However, we also like the Wellington Botanic Gardenon the North Island.
See The Sights In Auckland
Queen Street and Karangahape Road, Ponsonby Village, Waitemata Harbour, the Auckland Domain, Parnell Village, Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Parktheres much to see and explore in Auckland. Be sure to check out the views from Auckland Harbour Bridge, one of the most famous landmarks in the city. Waitemata Harbour is a great place to take a day or evening cruise to see the city from the water.
This article was sponsored by Maupintour.
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Unleash Your Inner Movie Geek At Hobbiton
One of the most popular attractions in the north island, Hobbiton is also one of the most unique things to do in New Zealand! Where else can you step inside a movie set and instantly be transformed into the real middle earth?
Wander around the shire, the real-life movie set that was featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Take your time to appreciate the effort that has gone into making every detail in this fairytale land a magical place.
Its certainly an experience like no other, whether youre a fan of the Peter Jackson films or not!
Westland Tai Poutini National Park
This is found on the South Island, on the western coast. In the park you will find glaciers and temperate rainforests, as well as scenic lakes.Look out for the remains of the old gold mining towns along the coast.If you enjoy wildlife, look out for red deer and chamois. There is a very popular trail which runs from the Karangurua Bridge.This is a great place to take an RV and spend a few days exploring the area.
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Look For Kiwis At Stewart Island
If you want to see the kiwi bird in person, take a trip to Stewart Island. Contrary to popular belief, the kiwi is not extinct. The flightless bird is alive and well and Stewart Island is one of the top places in New Zealand to see them.
The Tokoeka brown kiwi birds outnumber humans on the island. Which isnt too hard since the population is only about 400 people.
Stewart Island is located off the far southern tip of New Zealand and is a nature lovers paradise. There are 280 km of hiking trails, and trekkers come to tackle the three day Rakiura Track.
The main settlement of Halfmoon Bay offers accommodation.
Drive From Queenstown To Glenorchy
There are a lot of scenic drives on the South Island of New Zealand, but few are as spectacular as the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy. On this epic 46-kilometer road trip youll pass some of the most beautiful landscapes around Queenstown and take in views of Lake Wakatipu from every angle.
Some of the best places to stop along the way include Bobs Cove Track, Moke Lake, Wilsons Bay, Mt Crichton Loop Track, and more. Seriously, before you go you need to read my blog on the best places to stop between Queenstown and Glenorchy so you dont miss a thing.
Despite the rather short distance, youll need at least half a day to truly enjoy the drive. Add on the next best thing to do in New Zealand on this list, and you have yourself a full to multi-day adventure!
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Do Horse Trekking In Peel Forest
Gallop across the plains or beaches, climb the hills and navigate the forests on a horse trekking tour in New Zealand. An excellent choice is Peel Forest Horse Trekking in Canterbury. Alternatively, try Ahipara Horse Treks for trekking on Ninety Mile Beach on the North Island.
Take A Scenic Flight Ar Ound One Of New Zealands National Parks
One of the best things to do in New Zealand is to go on a scenic flight and the best places to do it are in the stunning national parks scattered around the country. From the air, you get a completely new perspective and can really take in just how vast and diverse New Zealand is.
Some of the best national parks to take a scenic flight are Fiordland National Park , Mount Cook , as well as around Queenstown or Wanaka!
Scenic flights arent cheap but once in the air, youll quickly forget about what you paid for the tour and just be blown away by the breathtaking views.
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Check Out The Art In Windy Wellington
New Zealands capital is a treat for art lovers. The city is dotted with art galleries and public sculptures. Take a walk around Wellingtons stunning waterfront to soak in the rich culture. Be sure to check out the Writers Walk, the strip is peppered with at least 19 text sculptures representing writers who lived in the city at some point.
Go For A Hike In Te Mata Park
The Te Mata Trust Park is home to the Te Mata Peak, with plenty of hiking and biking trails to enjoy. The lush greenery of the mountain and the extensive network of tracks make this a chilled-out activity to add to the itinerary. But the epic views are the main drawcard of this sight. On a clear day, the mountain peak offers views of the Heretaunga Plains, Hawkes Bay, Mount Ruapheu and Mahia Peninsula.
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Go Kayaking On The Whanganui Journey
The Whanganui Journey is one of New Zealands 10 Great Walks but oddly enough, you cant walk this journey. Instead, you must kayak down the Whanganui River stopping at your campsites along the way. The classic journey is 5 days however you can shorten that to 4, 3, 2 or even 1 day if you want.
The Whanganui Journey starts in the town of Ohakune near Tongariro National Park. In the busy periods of December and January, it is best to book your Whanganui campsites or huts in advance.
For me, 5 days was a little much so we only did the last 3 days and loved it. To say the least, it was a crazy adventure and one that definitely tested our relationship!
Go Beach Hopping In The Abel Tasman National Park
Encompassing one of New Zealands most unforgettable and unspoilt stretches of coastline, the Abel Tasman National Park feels like a true tropical oasis.
Located at the tip of New Zealands south island, the national parks beaches are only accessible by foot or boat. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track will take you around 3-5 days to complete longer if you stop to savour each golden cove.
Boat tours and kayaks are also popular options and a good way to find secluded spots in this tranquil hideaway.
Keep your eyes on the water at night and you may notice another natural phenomenon phosphorescent plankton that glows in the dark as you move through the water. A unique New Zealand experience youre unlikely to forget.
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Go Zorbing In Rotorua
If you are looking for unique experiences in New Zealand, look no further than zorbing. New Zealand is known for its zany adventures and one of the most popular things to do in Rotorua is zorbing.
Zorbing is completely unique to New Zealand and you must when you are there. Get in a ball and roll down a hill like a hamster. Word of warning, dont eat too much before you experience rolling every which way down the hill. You may toss your cookies!
The place to do it is Rotorua or Waitomo.
Naturally Hot Waterfall: Kerosene Creek
These naturally hot waterfalls make a great stop during your time in Rotorua. They are set in a shaded forest down a gravel road. Though these used to be pretty unknown, they are getting more and more popular. If you like natural hot springs though, we still think they are worth a stop!
However, beware that the water here is quite smelly, and will tarnish jewelry. Also, pay attention to the signs in the parking lot and make sure your valuables are out of sight. Sadly, we met a couple here who had their car broken into.
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The Best Things To Do In New Zealand: 12 Awesome Nz Experiences
Categories New Zealand
With the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble in full swing, there should finally be an influx of tourists after a tough year. If youre an Australian and want to travel overseas, its going to be your only option for a while yet. Whats it really like though? What are the best things to do in New Zealand? Luckily for you, Im here to help. This post will look at some of the best travel experiences you can have in New Zealand, as well as some tips to make your first trip to New Zealand a success.
Note: This was written before the trans-tasman bubble closed hopefully itll be back up and running soon!
Immerse Yourself In Maori Culture
Not far from Rotorua is the Tamaki Maori village, which gives visitors a unique opportunity to take a peek into the native culture. Immerse yourself in the customs and cuisine of the indigenous people of New Zealand. You will receive a traditional welcome and get a chance to experience Maori traditions, which will momentarily transport you into another era.
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New Zealand Travel Visas From Australia
If you are travelling from Australia and have an Australian passpower, then you do not need a visa or the NZeTA to enter New Zealand.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia or you are a resident with a valid return visa, you will need to request a NZeTA. The same applies to UK residents, who are allowed to visit New Zealand without a visa for 6 months, but still need to fill out the NZeTA.
Similarly, for Canadians and Americans, you do not need a travel visa to visit New Zealand. Youll just need a return ticket to show that you are leaving the country within the required period.
The NZeTA is the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority and is for those who are visiting New Zealand who can travel there without first applying for a visa.
To stay longer, check out a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.
Visit New Zealands Only Castle
Considering New Zealand is one of the last large landmasses to be colonised, its no surprise that there are no castles except for one dominating a hilltop on the Otago Peninsula. Larnach Castle is open for high tea, tours and accommodation . For a North Island equivalent, try high tea at Chateau Tongariro.
Location: Dunedin, South Island. Check out The Complete Travel Guide to Dunedin to plan your trip.
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Immerse Yourself In Mori Culture
There are many ways to get acquainted with New Zealands indigenous culture, from spending the night in a marae and being welcomed with a pwhiri, to simply learning about Mori heritage at Te Papa.
Whichever way you chose to learn about New Zealands past, youll come away with a new respect for the land and its people.
But perhaps the most accessible way to learn about and have an authentic experience of Mori culture is in Rotorua, at the Tamaki Maori Village.
Here you can witness the power of a Haka, learn about ancient traditions and eat a hangi . Its a truly unique experience and one of the most memorable things to do in New Zealand.
Admire Giant Volcano Mt Taranaki
Mount Taranaki is an impressive and still active stratovolcano on the west coast of New Zealands North Island. You can climb to the top of the mountain but already the view of the Mt Taranaki is spectacular. There are several great photo spots around the mountain, but among the most popular belongs the trek to Pouakai Hut. There is a small pond where you can see a mirror reflection . Visit also the visitor center of Egmont National Park, there is a freedom camp and several nature walks around.
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Learn About Mori Culture
Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and they are known around the world for their stunning tattoo designs and a dance called the Haka, in which warriors stuck out their tongues to intimidate enemies.
Today it is known around the world because the All Blacks Rugby team do a Haka before each game. If youre unfamiliar with this war dance, check out this video of a Maori dance group performing the Haka.
While see a Haka might already be on your list, Id push you to expand that to also learning about Maori culture more in depth.
Fun Fact: The ancestors of the Maori people came from French Polynesia and settled in New Zealand just 700 years ago, making this country one of the last places settled by humans.
Today, Maori people make up roughly 15% of New Zealands population, and the majority of them live in the area around Rotorua, making this town a popular place to have a Maori cultural experience.
Bonus: While in Rotorua, try a Hangi meal . Hangi is a way of cooking which involves digging a pit and putting heated rocks inside. This can be used to cook just about anything, but the Hangi meals youll find are generally a mix of vegetables as well as meat.