No need to search all around, here are your ten things to do in New Zealand!
Aside from the requirements, the hustle and bustle you’re preparing right now for your New Zealand trip, I know that half of your mind is to explore as well.
Yup, I knew it! Right after knowing the documents and everything needed, you open Google and try searching for the places and fun activities that you can do there!
Because at some point you know that it’s often considered the adventure capital of the world!
That’s okay because the New Zealand way of working always keeps balance – you work and enjoy at the same time! So here are ten things that you can do during your rest day or a holiday!
1. Explore the Maori Culture
Of course, first on the list is to explore New Zealand’s first culture – the Maori. By experiencing the Maori culture, you will not only discover unique things, but you can also apply it to your daily NZ life. When you know it, you’ll not be surprised when you encounter or hear Hangi, Hongi, Haka, Marae, Tiki or Aotearoa.
Here are some places to finally experience Maori on the first hand:
- Wellington’s Te Papa Museum – Have a tour here and learn the arts, crafts and ancient relics on display.
- Spend a day in Rotorua – the local Whakarewarewa Village are open to visitors and see their Maori way of life while Tamaki Maori Village will teach you about the tribal customs and myths.
- Spend a night at a Marae – experience Maori ceremonies, traditions, and practices by yourself. Just make sure to keep those basic etiquettes inside.
- Paddle a waka in the Bay of Islands – use a Waka Taua (war canoe) and traverse Waitangi river. As you paddle, your hosts share ancient stories and traditions that shape Maori rituals and identities.
2. Have An Adrenaline Rush With Bungee Jumping
Like what Elenor Roosevelt says, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And this could mean that you go into Bungee Jumping!
If you heard it for the first time, Bungee jumping is an extreme sport where you’ll jump from a tall structure with a security rope in your body or ankle. New Zealand has become home of the Bungee when AJ Hacket set up the first commercial Bungee jumping in Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown in 1980. Since then, a visit to New Zealand should never miss this activity or else you’ll be sorry!
Are you brave enough? If you love such adrenaline and you want to face your fear, you can do it on different NZ locations depending on your preference. Here are some options:
- Kawarau Bridge -the world’s famous, 43m high
- The Nevis Bungy – the biggest in NZ, third-highest Bungee in the world, 134m high (or three times the height of the Statue of Liberty)
- Thrill Seekers at Hanmer Springs – with a quite 35m short jump
- Auckland Harbour Bridge – an ocean-touch Bungee, 40m high
3. Have A Bike And Enjoy The Sceneries
With breathtaking and panoramic landscapes and views, biking is one of the awesome activities Kiwi’s love. Try it and enjoy different trails varying with various local attractions such as falls, national parks, and just a simple warm local welcome!
Now, choose with some trails that you could never say no and if you don’t have your bike, you can always rent one:
- Hawke’s Bay Trails – coastal, riverside and rural scenery; world-class wineries and delicious food; 200km
- The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail – the longest trail with the sight of New Zealand’s highest mountain-Aoraki/ Mt. Cook; 306 km
- The Old Ghost Road – experience remote, untouched backcountry, rivers, waterfalls, misty magic, awe-inspiring rock forms, jaw-dropping top of the world views; 85 km
- The Queenstown Trail – surrounded by a sheer mountain range with a mix of lakeside paths, country lanes and quiet roads linking Queenstown, Arrowtown and Gibbston valley; 120 km
4. Go Tramping
You’re probably familiar with backpacking or trekking already, but in NZ, they call it “tramping.” You can have a great walk within the day or several days. Here are some scenic tramping locations:
Milford track/ Fiordland National Park– have a large view from Mackinnon Saddle, Mount Balloon and Mount Hart and a view down to Quinton Lodge. When it’s raining, the track transforms. The 800-meter cliffs and the glacial Clinton Valley is totally cliff, with running water, like you’re in the midst of thousands of waterfalls.
Routeburn Track– Routeburn track links the Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park with the mountain peaks, valleys, waterfalls, and lakes. Its peak is 1,255 meters above sea level, that’s why the views are simply spectacular.
Kepler Track – With Kepler track, you can experience the best features of Fiordland from mountain ranges, waterfalls, glacier-carved valleys, river flats, limestone formations, to prolific birdlife. The track is easier since most are bridged, boggy areas have boardwalks, and the steep section has steps!
Abel Tasman Coastal Track – This track definitely shows the beauty of Abel Tasman National Park that is named after Abel Tasman who accidentally found this beautiful coastline in 1642. It features the Porters Beach, Tinline Bay, Coquille Bay, Apple Tree Bay, Stillwell Bay, Akersten Bay, Watering Cove, and the Anchorage.
And here are the things that you need to bring on tramping. Just make sure you bring the basics and lightweight:
- Food and Cooking utensils
- A sleeping bag or jacket/ tent
- Maps/ GPS
5. Enjoy The Middle Earth
Ever watched Lord of the Rings? Since the showing of that movie in 2001, Hobbiton becomes one of the favorite tourist attractions! And even if you’re not a fan, you can also enjoy this actual sire set. Be amazed by the soft and rolling green hills of Matamata, Waikato and the boasting 44 Hobbit holes.
Several Lord of the Rings location you can also visit are:
- Mt. Ngauruhoe – climb this just like Frodo and Sam
- Twizel – where the Battle of Pelennor Fields happen
- Mt. Sunday – the backdrop for Edoras, Rohan’s capital
- Skippers Canyon – where Arwen washed away the ringwraiths
Getting more curious and excited with so many things to do in New Zealand? You need to because there’s still so much!
6. Whale Watching in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is a small town on the east coast of the South Islands. See sperm whales (that I bet you haven’t seen yet), the largest toothed whales that grow to over 15 meters, and you can see it all year round.
If you want to see Orca, the killer whales, then come from December to March and Humpback by June and July. Meanwhile, dolphins can be seen almost daily.
Ever wonder why dolphins and whales love Kaikoura? It’s because of the submarine landscape where the continental shelf drops quickly into deep underwater canyons, and the North’s warm current meets the South’s cold-causing nutrients below to be carried upward supporting marine life.
7. Walk to the World’s Steepest Street
If you haven’t seen a steep street ever, then visit Baldwin! Due to a sort of planning mistake, Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand has become popular worldwide. The Guinness Book of Records has recognized it as the world’s steepest street at a 35% grade or 19 degrees. That’s why tourists keep on visiting this and trying their best to climb up!
According to some, it’s like they had a trek! Do you believe it? Try it when you go there!
8. See the Glowworms For The First Time!
Have you seen glowworms?
Glowworms are species of fungus gnat, a special kind of fly endemic to New Zealand. Its technical name is Arachnocampa Luminosa with a Maori name Titiwai which means ‘projected over water.’ Glowworms produce a substance called luciferin that reacts with oxygen creating light.
Okay, enough for the technicalities. Seeing glowworms is like seeing the Milky Way, it’s like underground stars – so see it by yourself. Here are several places where you can see the glowworms:
- Waitomo Caves, North Island – the most accessible and popular for glowworm attraction.
- Te Anau Caves, South Island – one of the youngest in New Zealand
- Lake Mclaren, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, North Island – have an easy-going kayak tour under the glowworms. You can also have a picnic at McLaren Falls Park.
- Paparoa National Park, Charleston, West Coast South Island – if you want an option far from the crowd, then go here in Paparoa National Park. Take a rainforest train trip and have a tubing adventure.
Another exciting adventure aside from Bungee is the skydiving. Imagine seeing amazing view thousands of feet above it all – the mountains, lakes, the alpines! There are many skydiving operations in New Zealand that all offers tandem jumps, especially if you’re a beginner. Exciting right?
Now, here are the types of skydiving you can choose from:
- Tandem Skydiving– like what I’ve said, this requires you to wear your instructor as your backpack maneuvering you all over the trip.
- Static Line Skydiving – this involves a static line holding you attached to the aircraft. You’ll experience a short free fall before opening the main parachute.
- Accelerated Freefall Skydiving – this is for pros only where you jump off the plane with two instructors. They’ll have a firm grip ensuring your stability. Instructors also give signals mid-air.
Where to go skydiving:
- Abel Tasman National Park – if you want to see beaches, granite cliffs, and picturesque islands.
- Bay of Islands – one of the best places for NZ skydiving with 16500 feet high seeing the 144 islands!
- Fox Glacier – it’s like a magical skydive as you see your backdrop of Westland National Park, Southern Alps Glacier – with the highest snowfields, blue ocean, and the rainforest.
10. Visit Wai-O-Tapu
Located in the North Island, Rotorua is known for geothermal activity with one of the best Wa-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Wai-O-tapu is a Maori name which means Sacred Waters which is located on an active volcanic area.
Check out the place and see the bubbling mud pools, hot springs, colorful water, and rock formations!
Ready to work and explore New Zealand?
I’m sure you’re now super excited! With these activities, you’ll never feel bored or sad being far from your own country. Remember, in every single opportunity given; you should always enjoy and give your best shot!
Now you can work and explore New Zealand with your future friends and workmates! These are just a few of so many things to do in New Zealand, and for sure you’ll discover more when you arrive there!