Be Amazed By The Waimangu Volcanic Valley
The worlds youngest geothermal system, Waimangu Volcanic Valley was created mid-1886 by the volcanic eruption of Mount Tarawera. A magical place brimming with bubbling pools, steaming craters and one of the bluest lakes youve ever laid eyes on.
Inferno crater is a sight to behold, but while it looks inviting, youd be unwise to swim in the water as its highly acidic and can get as hot as 80°C !
Nearby youll find Frying Pan Lake, the largest hot spring in the world, and the steaming Cathedral Rocks.
Dont Be Afraid To Go Offbeat
One thing that is most common among tourists is sticking to their itinerary. Dont do that while in New Zealand. Here, you must explore not just the known destinations but also explore the vast lands and indulge in various activities that the country has to offer. One can rent a campervan or car and go about the country as one pleases.
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Go Cruising In Doubtful Sound
Youve probably heard of Milford Sound, but you may not have heard of its big brother, Doubtful Sound.
Longer and deeper than its northern counterpart, Doubtful Sound is where youll find real solitude. Its less accessible, making it the perfect place to get lost in nature.
Marvel at the grand waterfalls, listen to the birdsong and cruise through this majestic part of New Zealand. As you do, you may even be lucky enough to spot visiting dolphins, penguins or seals.
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Journey Through Middle Earth
Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings trilogy might have debuted more than 20 years ago, but theres no doubt that for many people around the world, New Zealand still means Middle Earth. Epic film locations are found across both North and South Islands, from Tongariro National Park and Mount Victoria in Wellington to Takaru Road near Te Anau . For a literal taste of Hobbit life, head to the Hobbiton Movie Set, located on a sheep farm amid the rolling hills of Waikato, where you can tuck into a second breakfast and a mug of local ale.
A cruise ship on Milford Sound
Visit The Glowworm Caves At Waitomo
The Waitomo caves have a reputation for being one of the best places to see glow worms in the world. You can find Arachnocampa Luminosa in many parts of the country, but the Waitomo caves host the most accessible and impressive collection.
Dive into the ancient caves below the rolling green hills of King Country to see the spectacle created by these luminescent creatures.
If you dare, you can even go zip-lining into the caves, with just the glowworms lighting your way, before climbing underground waterfalls in the dark. Or, for a more subdued experience, simply sit back and admire the show on a guided boat ride.
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Be Open To Experimenting With Food
Though lacking in traditional food, New Zealand has a plethora of food from around the world including Thai, Indian, European, American and other cuisines. Also, native Maori food must not be missed out on if you are a foodie. Dont just eat one type of food, try different cuisines from all around the globe in a single nation.
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Enjoy Surfing At Black Sand Sea Beaches
There are plenty of them. These black sand beaches are perfect for surfing.
- If you are in Piha Beach, you can get the best experience of surfing as it is not that much crowded. You will be trained by the experienced guides and have great fun over there.
- Visit Muriwai beach which is special for 1200 pairs of gannets. They nest there from August to March. Besides them, you can also enjoy the vast coastline, Turquoise Blue Ocean, and the rolling black sand dunes.
- If you want to spend a few days away from the crowd, go to Karekare Beach. Due to its calm nature and deserted location, this has been favorite of filmmakers, photographers, and You can take 5 minutes walk to visit the Karakare Falls.
Apart from these major beaches, there are other exotic beaches, like Bethells Beach , Karioitahi Beach , Whatipu Beach , etc.
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Unique Things To Do In Auckland
Set around two large harbours, the city of Auckland is New Zealands largest city and main transport hub. With beautiful year-round weather, pristine sandy beaches, lush rainforest and endless hiking trails, it is more than anything else a place where people come to be outdoors and enjoy the delights of one of the worlds great natural playgrounds.
The Auckland skyline at dusk
With most of its attractions to be found in the great outdoors, Auckland is a city whose appal is transparent to anyone who visits. But it also has a lesser known side, with a number of places worth checking out that may not be instantly visible to the eye and may not have made it into the guide books, either. Here are 20 of the most unique things to see and do in Auckland.
1. Take a fine wine tour
Auckland is blessed to be located in one of New Zealands most verdant wine regions. Visitors to the city can learn all about the regions rich wine-making heritage, as well as sample some of the local produce, and stunning scenery on an organised wine tour. Hosted by renowned wine writer and experienced tour guide, Phil Parker, his Fine Wine Tours can take in a variety of places and themes, including an ancient volcanic cone, rugged coastline, Waiheke Island, wine and cheese combo tours and visits to boutique wineries in Kumeu. Groups are kept small usually no more than 6 people to ensure a personalised experience, and free pick up from your hotel or cruise ship are also provided.
Jump From New Zealands Highest Bungy
Said to be New Zealands most terrifying bungy, the Nevis Bungy Jump requires a 4WD journey and cable car ride to position you in the middle of the Nevis Valley in Queenstown.
Its here that youll plummet 134m towards the gushing waters of the Nevis River. This New Zealand attraction is not for the faint-hearted, but its bound to be a tale youll tell for years to come.
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Affordable But Not Free Things To Do At Night
- Stardome Observatory and Planetarium A planetarium experience followed by outdoor telescope viewing.
- Frenzi Bar Crawl Every Thursday night, this bar crawl starts at the Camel Bar. Or if you want to go it alone, find our favourite clubs listed here amongst these things to do in Auckland at Night.
- Classic Comedy Club – The only full-time comedy club in Auckland.
- Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret A complete night out featuring a hilarious drag queen cabaret show and delicious dinner.
- Dinner in Auckland: Find our current favourites amongst these 20 Unique Restaurants in Auckland.
Take A Ferry To Rangitoto Island
|Rating:||4/5 An ideal half-day trip from Auckland!|
Just like Waiheke, Fullers Ferries will also take you to Rangitoto Island. Youll see Rangitotos silhouette from many viewpoints in Auckland but to truly appreciate it you really need to take a trip out there!
Being a smaller island, this is a great option for a half-day trip. The walk to the top of the dormant volcano is a gradual climb and will take you approximately one hour. This is an easy walk for kids and isnt too steep, making it suitable for older walkers too.t
Bring a packed lunch to feast on and reward yourself for your hard work.
In the summertime, you may want to take a dip on the sea once youve finished your walk. There are also day tours to the island that include a 4wd tour of the island. These tours cost around $70 NZD per person.
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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!
Visit The Auckland War Memorial Museum
Not only rated as one of the top things to do in Auckland, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is also one of New Zealands finest museums.
Here youll find incredibly rare Maori and Pacific Island treasures, natural history exhibits and cultural artifacts all telling the story of New Zealand as a nation.
Housed in an elegant and imposing heritage building, you could easily spend hours roaming the unique collections within its multiple levels.
Explore the worlds of the Maori, Pakeha and people of Oceania on the ground floor. Stroll through the corridors of Maori carvings, canoes, jewelry, ceremonial objects and other Pacific masterpieces.
On the first floor youll find life-sized replica skeletons of cryolophosaurus and malawisaurus dinosaurs that once roamed New Zealand. Discover other prehistoric treasures such as the now extinct 9-foot tall moa bird and other fossilized lifeforms.
Wander up to the war memorial galleries for historic aircraft, photos, diaries and military collections uncovering New Zealands unique war history.
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Where To Stay In Auckland
Aucklands CBD is jam-packed with historical landmarks. As the busiest district in the city, there is always something to see and do just around the corner. Staying here will give you easy access to loads of attractions, even within walking distance.
Enjoy A Sunset Harbor Cruise
For a romantic night out, a sunset cruise with dinner and drinks is sure to impress the one you love! The gorgeous sunset, sound of the waves and the shimmer of city lights on the surface water is all you need to set the mood.
Youre off to a good start, but an evening on the water wouldnt be complete without a superb 3-course meal and a glass of wine to compliment the surronds. Take some time to relax and watch the cityscape light up in beautiful colors.
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Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
I deeply regret not being able to visit Hauraki Gulf Marine park during my visit to Auckland. But having just come from Sydney, Australiawhere we did a whale watching trip, my fiance was in no mood to get on a boat again. It turns out while I have a fabulous time on boats, he gets violently seasick.
For those of you who enjoy being on the open seas, Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari comes highly recommended. Light wheelchairs can be accommodated. The vessel has two stairs in the boarding area that passengers must be able to navigate .
The tour leaves from downtown Auckland and takes passengers on a 4 1/2 hour trip through Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, one of the most diverse and abundant marine parks in the world. Guests will also enjoy views of Harbour Bridge, North Head and Devonport, and volcanic Rangitoto Island.
Pro tip: If you find yourself getting seasick, its best to go out on the deck of the boat. Staying inside makes the experience much worse for those experiencing nausea.
Walk From Coast To Coast
The best way to see a city or region I find is walking! There is a fantastic walk called coast to coast, which starts at the Waitemata Harbour and finishes in Manukau. The walk is 16km long and takes you through some 600-year old Maori settlements as well as giving you fantastic panoramic views of the city. You walk from one ocean to another which is a pretty unique experience in itself! If you have a full day in Auckland, then I highly recommend doing this walk. Bring a picnic with you and spend the day exploring the city on foot. Approximate time to finish the walk is 5 hours.
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Meet The Worlds Smallest Dolphins
Hectors Dolphins are an endangered dolphin native to the South Island of New Zealand. A marine reserve created at the mouth of the Akaroa Harbour has created a haven for Hectors Dolphins, and consequently, its the best place to see these unique dolphins in the wild.
A number of tour operators run excursions to see the dolphins, and also offer the chance to have a closer look. I swam with Hectors dolphins last year and it was truly an unforgettable experience.
Chow Down On New Zealands Favourite Exhibit
Did you know New Zealand is home to the only colossal squid display in the world? Wellingtons Te Papa Museum houses the 470kg specimen that was captured in Antarctic waters in 2007.
Its a much loved New Zealand icon and now another of the countrys icons Giapo have recreated the squid into an edible work of art! Giapo has long been famous for creating the most incredible ice cream in the world, and their latest creation the Colossal Squid is no exception.
A visit to Giapos Auckland store is always an experience in itself, so head downtown to sample an amazing range of flavours and tick this New Zealand must-do off your list!
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See Auckland From The Top Of A Volcano
With 48 volcanic cones dotted across the city, these smooth, green-clad volcanoes are part of what makes Aucklands landscape so unique.
Rich in history and bound with spiritual and cultural significance, each of Aucklands volcanoes have a story to tell.
From Rangitoto across the Hauraki Gulf to Mount Eden Maungawhau and One Tree Hill Maungakiekie in the mainland, Auckland makes climbing a volcano an easy tick off your list.
Mount Eden features three large craters with traces of pa terraces and food storage pits still visible, once used by the Maori. The deepest crater, named Te Ipu-a-Mataaho meaning The Bowl of Mataaho, is named after a deity said to live inside it, guarding the secrets of the Earth.
The peak of Mount Eden is the highest natural point in Auckland, a popular destination with locals and tourists alike for sweeping views of Auckland right from the heart of its volcanic landscape.
Hang Out At The Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton isnt normally at the top of visitors wish lists when planning a trip to New Zealand, but theres one very good reason you should be adding this underrated North Island town to your itinerary.
The Hamilton Gardens are an award-winning attraction, world-renowned by garden enthusiasts, but little known to everyone else. The thing that really makes them stand apart is the elaborate themes theyre designed around. Walking through the gardens is like taking a tour around the world while being much more achievable!
Be immersed in the zen-like space of the Japanese garden, smell the pungent aroma of gardenias in the Chinoiserie Garden, be transported to Italy in the Renaissance garden and learn about Mori food production techniques in the Te Parapara garden. There is so much to see and do within the garden complex, you could easily spend the majority of the day there.
And the best part is that the gardens are completely free to enter! If youre visiting New Zealand with kids, theyll love the complementary activity sheets and the destination playground at the end, not to mention the onsite café serving up all their favourite treats.
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Set Sail In The Bay Of Islands
One of the greatest things about New Zealand is its accessibility. The best sights arent reserved for the rich and resourceful, anyone can enjoy the spectacular nature of this wild land.
This rings true no more so than in the lush surrounds of the Bay of Islands. What feels like a wealthy sanctuary of perfect beaches, deserted islands and secluded inlets, is accessible to everyone. And this region of New Zealands North Island is concealing some of the countries most interesting and important historical sites.
Hire a boat or a kayak to fully immerse yourself in this slice of paradise. Paddle out to the Hole in the Rock on Piercy Island, or go in search of New Zealands marine life. Dolphins, whales, fur seals and penguins all love this area of New Zealand as much as we do!