With stunningly beautiful geysers, volcanoes, forests, beaches, mountains and wildlife, New Zealand is a unique land of magnificent and remote, yet easily accessible scenery. Plan the perfect getaway for some fantastic adventure activities!
In North Island, check out the Devonport waterfront of Auckland, swim on the beaches of Karekare and Piha, and spot the birds of Tiritiri Matangi in the Huaraki Gulf. Go diving in the Poor Knights Islands, swim with dolphins in Bay of Islands, and wander the kauri forests and marvel at their giant Tane Mahuta tree. Explore the sand dunes of Hokianga Harbour and the spooky Waitomo caves. Canoe along the Whanganui River, climb Mt Taranaki, and watch kiwis at Kapiti Island.
Go trout fishing on Lake Taupo, hike the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing and view the dramatic geysers and mud-pools of Rotorua. Explore the sandy beaches of the Coromandel and the sleepy towns of the Bay of Plenty. Laze in the hot springs of Te Aroha and sleep under the warm sand at Hot Water Beach. Sample world-class vintages in Hawke's Bay wine country, explore the Art Deco architecture of Napier, and people-watch along the Cuba Street cafes in Wellington.
In South Island, drink Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough wine country, go kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park, whale-watching in Kaikoura, and penguin-watching in Oamaru. Visit vibrant and pretty Nelson, the French-style village of Akaroa, and the refined Victorian architecture of Christchurch.
Walk the glacial lakes of Aoraki Mount Cook, hike Arthur's Pass, and listen to live music in Dunedin. See the wildlife of Otago Peninsula, the alpine scenery of the Routeburn Track, and the staggeringly grand landscapes of Fiordland, gateway at Te Anau. For the adventurous, go bungy jumping on the Nevis in Queenstown, and take a multi-day walk on the Kepler and Milford Tracks.
Flights can be inexpensive if booked well in advance, but you'll see more scenery going by road. Buses are slow but cheap and comfortable, and offer a relaxing way to enjoy the country.
Long-distance trains are mainly for tourists, especially scenic routes like the Overlander, the TranzCoastal and the TranzAlpine. For extensive travel, get travel passes that offer value-for-money discounts. There are regular ferries between North Island and South Island, and services that connect smaller islands. Hop onto a boat cruise for sightseeing.
It's hard to beat a car or a campervan for travel freedom. Roads are generally good and rental rates are extremely competitive, though book in advance during peak summer season. You can also rent motorbikes, or sign up for a motorbike tour for safety in numbers. The Harley club regularly rides on long highways and if you’re a lifelong fan, it will be an experience not to be missed.
The haka is a Maori posture dance, performed with vigorous movements, feet stamping, and rhythmic shouts. Often used as a war cry or challenge, it was made famous by the world cup winning All Blacks rugby team, who chant ferociously with slapping thighs, bulging eyes, wiggling tongues to intimidate their opponents before a match.
The flightless Kiwi is the national symbol of New Zealand, and also used proudly as a nickname for its people. Kiwis are endangered as there are fewer than 70000 left in the world. See them at kiwi houses in zoos, or in the wild at places like Tiritiri Matangi or Kapiti Island.
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