New Zealand is often observed as one of the most majestic, charming and serene locations in the world. It is a nation where sub-tropical forests meet snow-topped mountains and icy glaciers meet bubbling volcanoes – diversity, unique experiences and beauty define New Zealand.
Where else in the world can you surf kamikaze style in incredible secluded spots, then hop on a chairlift to ski down powered snowy mountains, followed by an afternoon imitating the unique birds found in New Zealand by parachuting though the diamond blue skies?
The islands offer some of the world’s most sumptuously fresh seafood too, from vibrant orange crayfish to silky-salty oysters, as well as world renowned lamb, sure to satisfy your hunger created from all the adventuring to be had in New Zealand.
Southland and Stewart Island
A short drive from Queenstown lays the relatively undiscovered region of Southland. With unmatched beauty, it provides a natural playground no matter what your passion. Dramatic coastlines, emerald forests and enticing activities make it an intriguing location for both the culturally-curious traveller and the intrepid explorer.
Southland’s unique hidden gem is Stewart Island, nestled off the coast of the mainland in the Foveaux Strait. The wild island offers visitors an escape from the bustle of city life and the permanent 380 residents are happy to help you explore.
The rare and unique wildlife attracts nature-lovers who aren’t afraid of getting their shoes muddy to catch a glimpse of the Kiwi bird, or sit patiently at sea to witness the rare and endangered Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) waddling around.
If you’re a keen ornithologist, head to the birdy paradise of Ulva Island, just off the coast of Halfmoon Bay, and fall under the spell of the birds that rule the island, including Weka, Kākā and Albatross. As a purposefully predator free zone, the feathered friends have grown up with a mischievous charm and a knack for posing.
The waters around the island may be too cold for people to splash around in, but it is a haven for scrumptious blue cod, crayfish, cockles and world-renowned Bluff Oysters. Savour these delectable delicacies on Stewart Island, sure to warm your soul.
Sleep easy in the comfort of local Bed and Breakfasts around the Island, or sleep under the unpolluted starry skies in a range of campsites, you may even catch a glimpse of the Aurora Australis southern lights.
Stewart Island is easily the most spectacular place in New Zealand to see sky-illuminating sunrises and glowing burnt-orange sunsets, with many adventures to be had between dawn and dusk.
Hamilton and Waikato
The region of Hamilton and Waikato is located on the North Island for New Zealand, rather a lot diddier than the South Island but still packed full of unique experiences and majestic charm.
Hamilton and Waikato are known for nature-based tourism, adventurous underground activities and for being the home of Lord of the Rings protagonist Frodo Baggins and friends.
The region is home to a wealth of protected forest and park land, ancient volcanic summits and panoramic coastal views, so if you want to adorn a pair of walking boots and explore the lush green wilderness, then Hamilton and Waikato are your destinations.
If you’re more of a water-baby, then check out the ultimate chill spot in the region – Raglan. The idyllic west coast attracts surfers with its awesome swells and unique black sands, artists for rugged and interpretable landscapes and vacationers for a bohemian getaway.
Perhaps you fancy an expedition underground to New Zealand’s famous Waitomo Caves. An hour south of Hamilton are the spectacular glow-worm filled caves, lighting the rocky golden walls. Clamber over the Mangapohue natural bridge or try caving through the narrow conduits of the natural structures.
And of course, not forgetting Middle-earth, the figment of J.R.R Tolkien’s imagination that was bought to life in New Zealand. In Waikato you can stroll around The Shire and pop by Bag End, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ much-loved hobbit-hole.
The renowned Waitomo Caves, super-swell black sand surf, vibrant cafes, Lord of the Rings movie set, and vibrant coffee culture scene, make Hamilton and Waikato a top choice destination for travellers looking for unique experiences, but still within the comforting boundaries of urban life.
Christchurch and Canterbury
The list of exhilarating activities you can do in Christchurch and Canterbury is pretty exhaustive and sure to leave you with a healthy dose of adrenaline running through your veins. Including, skiing, bungy jumping, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, surfing, swimming, golfing and whale, dolphin and seal spotting as well as sampling renowned New Zealand wine.
Christchurch is the gateway to Canterbury and beyond, and from here you can explore the whole of New Zealand by road.
A good place to start your exploration is at the region’s stunning waterfalls, and one sure to leave you spell bound is Washpen Falls. Nestled in the middle of a working sheep, cattle and deer farm, the water gushes into a turquoise pool, surrounded by emerald flora and fauna.
Christchurch is also one of New Zealand’s most culturally diverse culinary cities. From traditional roast dinners, to the freshest sushi and a unique trend of ensuring halal menus are available across a wide range of restaurants.
If you’re itching to get out of the urban city and venture into the wilderness then check out the mountaineer’s paradise of Mount Cook Mackenzie on the Tasman Glacier. Either scale the heights from the side of the mountain using ropes and a trusted guide, or hop on board a helicopter and relax. If you’re feeling super daring, you can scoot out of the flight and ski down the glacier.
The city and surrounding areas are teeming with adventure and just waiting for you to taste the diverse delights, paddle under waterfalls, discover local art and get closer than ever to the stunning marine life.
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