Stuck for ideas for your next adventure or vacation away? Do you want a desitnation that is both exotic and familiar? Something that feels like home while being on the other side of the world? With great urban areas to explore, and massive national parks to get lost in (not literally of course!). You might want to consider New Zealand!
1) City slickers
Although New Zealand may not be famous for its city destinations, they are not to be underestimated. The Auckland region has lots of great activities both within the city, and in the outskirts including awesome beaches, harbour cruises, wineries, art and museums. Those travelling with kids should definitely reserve some time for Kelly Tarltons Underwater Experience where you can see all sort of marine life – including sharks! Make sure you also check out the iconic sky tower where you can get awesome 360 degree views over the city. For those wanting great views, but from a more natural setting, just head to Eden park and hike up Mount Eden. Or drive for those who are less into walking up hills!
The small capital of Wellington is a mecca for coffee enthusiasts. The many cafe’s down Cuba Street will keep you well caffinated and give you the energy for all the rest that Wellington has on offer. Culture buffs will love the Te Papa museum, which offers seven floors of historical and educations goodies. Check out the great Maori history exhibits, or the fantastic natural history exhibits. Don’t miss the giant squid either!
Te papa is located on the Wellington waterfront, which is a great location for a stroll and which also hosts great craft markets on Saturdays and fruit and veg markets on Sundays. Also nearby is the Art Gallery, information centre, and library is you require some good reads or quiet time.
2) Nature Lovers
Now this is where New Zealand really shines. The opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts in New Zealand are never ending! For those who love hiking, feel free to start drooling now over the countries 9 great walks. (One of those great “walks” is actually a canoe trip though!). There are also ample kayaking opportunities as well as some of the world’s best surfing locations. Snorkellers and scuba divers will not want to miss Goat Island Marine reserve. Cyclists will want to check out the Otogo rail trail and those just loving wildlife will not want to miss the wildlife experiences around the Otago peninsula, or the whale and dolphin watching oppourtunies around Kaikoura.
Bird watchers will never want to leave New Zealand, so be warned now! New Zealand’s bird life is incredibly unique due to it’s isolated location, and some really strange birds have evolved as a result. Unfortunately, due to introduced pests and predators, bird numbers are declining so get here soon if you want to catch a glimpse of some of these avian wonders. For those who want to catch a glimpse of one of the rarest, and also the most iconic New Zealand bird, the kiwi, you will want to head South. Really south. Stewart island is one of the best places to go kiwi spotting, and the kiwi there are more active in the daylight hours, which increases your chances to spying one.
3) Movie Buffs
You know who you are. Lord of the rings fans – New Zealand caters to you. Pick up a guide to film locations, which will provide you with the exact GPS locations if you are really serious about it. In Wellington you can even visit Weta studios and take Lord of the Rings tours. However, Wellington isn’t the only place in New Zealand which offers movie themed tours, with tours also on offer departing from Queenstown on the South Island.
Of course, for the really hardcore, you can also visit Hobbiton in Mata Mata on the North Island, or even Mt. Doom itself in the Tongariro National park.
4) Wine Drinkers
There are two main wine regions in New Zealand. The Hawkes Bay region is located on the east coast of the North Island near Napier and Hastings. Napier is also the art deco capital of New Zealand, so why not dress up in your flashest of 1920′s stylings and head out on the town for a glass of wine or two…or three.
The other main wine region in New Zealand is in the Malborough region on the east coast of the South Island. This region is famous for it’s Sauvignon Blancs, and this region is centered around the town of Blenheim. Some of the biggest names in New Zealand wine, such as cloudy Bay and Montana can be found in this region.
There are also several smaller wine regions in New Zealand which are just as good as their larger counterparts, such as the area around Gisborne, or Waiheke Island near Auckland.
5) Adventure seekers
New Zealand is the mecca for adventure seekers, hands down! And in New Zealand, adventure junkies flock to Queenstown on the South Island. Queenstown is the home of the bungy jump, but that’s not all they have on offer. You can also go on a canyon swing, and a jet boat ride all in the same day if you like.
For those who really want something out of the ordinary, there is also fly by wire. Basically you are strapped into an open airplane, hoisted up into the air, and allowed to fly around at speeds up to 170 mph while only tethered to a wire. Fun, right?
Not to be forgotten is sky diving. There are great sky diving locations all over New Zealand. All you need to do is choose what type is scenery you want to see while you hurl yourself out of a plane, and there will most likely be a company which can oblige you.
So as you can see, no matter what your interests are, there is something on offer for you in New Zealand. Whether its lounging in hip cities, drinking delicious wines, indulging in nature, or screaming your head off – New Zealand has something for you.