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14 Best Things to Do in New Zealand

Posted on: December 14th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Mount Cook things to do in new zealand

When people think New Zealand they think stunning mountains, rolling green landscapes and sky diving from every inch of the skies.

But there’s so many more unique things to see and do in New Zealand, and we think it’s important you know about all the different wonders this destination has to offer.

New Zealand is divided into two islands, almost as different as night and day. Head to the North Island for beaches, wine and Maori culture. Venture to the South Island for dramatic scenery, mountains and extreme adventures.

To help inspire you, we’ve rounded up a list of the best things to do in New Zealand, divided up into the North Island and South Island.

Map of the Best Things to do in New Zealand

New Zealand is a rather small nation, with roughly the same surface area as Colorado. But looking at New Zealand on a map can be deceiving because it stretches out north to south. We’ve made it easy with this map of all the best things to see in New Zealand to help you plan your trip.

North Island

1. Visit Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Location: Matamata

Where to stay: Auckland or Rotorua

You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to feel the magic of Hobbiton. The green rolling hills, the bursts of colorful gardens and picturesque hobbit holes will transport you straight into the Shire of the films.

Tours of the Hobbiton movie set are led by passionate guides offering insightful tidbits and knowledge even diehard Tolkien fans might not know. Stay at the head of the group for the best opportunities to capture that winning shot in front of a hobbit hole with no bystanders in the frame!

For an unforgettable experience, book an evening tour with an included banquet. Seeing the Shire by twilight is only beatable by the indulgent feast you’ll share with other enraptured fans.

Contact an About New Zealand specialist for the best arrangements on including Hobbiton on your New Zealand trip.

2. Explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glow Worm Caves credit Shaun Jeffers

Photo: Shaun Jeffers

Location: Waitomo

Where to stay: Auckland or Rotorua

There’s something about twinkling lights that our eyes simply can’t resist.

That’s what makes the Waitomo Caves so enchanting. Adorned with thousands of tiny glowworms, the pitch-black caverns are illuminated by their unearthly blue glow. It seriously looks like something out of a fairy tale.

The most popular way to see the glowworm caves is on guided tours through the caverns, ending with a boat tour on the subterranean lake drifting through the illuminated caverns.

But one of our favorite ways to explore the caves is on a thrilling black water rafting adventure. Thrill seekers glide through the cave system and underground waterfalls, ultimately floating serenely through the Glowworm Grotto.

3. Indulge in Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island Auckland credit Miles Holden

Photo: Miles Holden

Location: Auckland

Where to stay: Auckland

New Zealand is dappled with wine regions all across the country, but nothing beats what’s known as New Zealand’s “Island of Wine.”

Waiheke Island, less than an hour ferry ride from Auckland, is an indulgent retreat for food and wine lovers. Complete with gorgeous bays, scenic walks and countless vineyards, this sublime island feels like something out of a Mediterranean legend.

Go on an endless wine-hopping adventure and delight your taste buds with the gourmet dishes of the island’s renowned restaurants. Everything from delectable oysters, Greek meze platters, woodfired pizzas and even gelato is on offer, paired with glasses of Waiheke’s finest wines.

If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, Waiheke Island needs to be at the top of your list.

4. Check Out Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

Location: Coromandel Peninsula

Where to stay: Pauanui or Auckland

The Coromandel Peninsula is one of the North Island’s idyllic stretches of green pastures, misty rainforests and golden beaches. It’s crown jewel is Cathedral Cove, a turquoise bay ringed by soft sands and gigantic arched caverns.

The secluded cove is perfect for a relaxing beach day, complete with several scenic walks and excellent snorkeling at the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve. An array of sea sponges, delicate corals and colorful fish can be seen in the waters of the reserve.

The remoteness of the beach and its stunning natural beauty create an almost tangible sense of serenity. We recommend visiting early in the morning not only to beat the crowds, but to witness the sunrise cast a breathtaking glow upon the beach. Cathedral Cove by dawn is truly like a slice of paradise that time forgot.

5. Learn About Maori Culture

Te Puia Rotorua credit Fraser Clements

Photo: Fraser Clements

Location: Throughout the North Island

Where to stay: Rotorua

New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture is rich in history, unique traditions and inspiring stories.

One of the best places to immerse yourself in Maori culture is at Te Puia in Rotorua. This center is where the Maori heritage is passed on through the arts institute, where Maori students hone their skills in traditional Maori woodwork and crafts.

Here you can also experience an authentic Maori hangi feast, where food is traditionally prepared by the heat of the earth.

Visit a recreated indigenous village at Tamaki Maori Village for a glimpse of how the Maori lived before European settler-days. Witness the powerful haka war dance, the graceful poi performance and other incredible Maori rituals.

6. Explore the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Champagne Pool Rotorua

Location: Rotorua

Where to stay: Rotorua

The North Island is famous for its turquoise bays and black sand beaches, but its most surreal landscapes are found in the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.

Some of New Zealand’s most spectacular volcanic features are found here. Bubbling mud pools, unusually colored lakes and spouting geysers highlight the trails laid out through the steaming valley.

Catch the spectacular colors of Champagne Pool, a hot spring of emerald water ringed by bright orange mineral deposits. See the neon green sulfur lake, Devil’s Bath, and catch the Lady Knox geyser in action.

7. Visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Papa credit Te Papa Museum

Photo: Te Papa Museum

Location: Wellington

Where to stay: Wellington

New Zealand’s most enrapturing museum resides in its capital, Wellington. Te Papa Tongarewa, located on Wellington’s waterfront, is a dedication to New Zealand’s art, history and culture.

This huge museum contains six levels, each with a central theme displayed through an array of exhibits. Discover the stories of New Zealanders during World War I in Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibit, located on the second level. Explore the cultures of Maori and other Pacific peoples through artifacts, architecture and artworks located on the fourth level. 

In short, you could spend days in this museum. Though you may like to wander on your own, we highly recommend a guided tour for the expert insight and information your guide will share. There’s no better way to explore a museum than with someone who knows it like the back of their hand.

Check out our guide on the best things to do in Wellington.

South Island

8. Hiking on the Glaciers

Franz Josef Glacier credit Jackman Chiu

Photo: Jackman Chiu

Location: Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, West Coast

Where to stay: Fox or Franz Josef Villages, or Queenstown

You’ve probably never thought about climbing a glacier. It’s hardly a thought that enters the mind.

But once it does, don’t you kind of want to do it?

Thrill-seekers who aren’t afraid of a little ice can hike on New Zealand’s glaciers.

New Zealand’s most famous glaciers are Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, both located along the west coast of the South Island. What makes these glaciers so breathtaking is the sprawl of tropical rainforest hugging their base. One minute you’re in lush rainforest, the next you’ve stepped back in time into the ice age!

Both glaciers provide an array of adventures for all levels of fitness, from guided walks to climbs complete with ice picks and crampons. For a truly spectacular experience, opt for a heli-hike, beginning with a scenic helicopter ride to the top of the glacier and hiking your way down.

9. Dolphin and Whale Watching in Kaikoura

Kaikoura Canterbury credit Sara Orme

Photo: Sara Orme

Location: Kaikoura

Where to stay: Kaikoura or Christchurch

Kaikoura is New Zealand’s unofficial capital of marine wildlife. In fact, Kaikoura is considered as one of the world’s best whale watching destinations.

Visit between June through August to catch a whale watching cruise with up close encounters with migrating humpback whales.

These gentle giants aren’t the only thing you’ll see in Kaikoura’s waters. Dolphin swims are very popular, with local dusky dolphins frolicking in the waters beside you. Seal swims are also available, offering a truly unique opportunity to interact with New Zealand Fur Seals.

Check out our highlights of the best things to do in Kaikoura.

10. Cruise the Fiords

Milford Sound

Location: Fiordland National Park

Where to stay: Te Anau or Queenstown

New Zealand’s famous scenery includes dramatic, green-clad peaks jutting out of dark, tranquil waters. No place better captures this landscape than Fiordland in the South Island.

Home to the stunning fiords Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, the natural features found in Fiordland encapsulate untouched wilderness at its most pristine.

Cruises are the most popular way to see the sounds, departing from Queenstown and Te Anau. As you glide on the glassy waters, a pod of dolphins swimming before your vessel and crystal clear waterfalls cascading down the forested cliffs around you, you’ll know you’ll never see a place like this anywhere else on Earth.

Milford Sound is the more popular fiord, but we like to recommend a cruise on Doubtful Sound. Bigger and arguably more majestic, the fewer crowds make this fiord a true gem.

11. See Mount Cook from Lake Pukaki

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park credit Rob Suisted

Photo: Rob Suisted

Location: Mount Cook National Park

Where to stay: Queenstown or Christchurch

The milky turquoise color of Lake Pukaki, framed by purple lupin flowers and the Southern Alps in the distance create a scene straight out of a story book.

Rivaling the beauty of the Swiss Alps, this snowy mountain range is home to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. The glaciers atop the mountain peaks feed into the remarkable Lake Pukaki, giving it its unique turquoise color.

Scenic helicopter rides and guided tours from Queenstown to Mount Cook Village are the best way to add Mount Cook into your New Zealand itinerary. More adventurous travelers can hike on tracks beginning near the village or climb the peaks for the ultimate challenge.

12. Go on a Bike Tour

Women biking through Nelson vineyards credit Dean McKenzie

Photo: Dean McKenzie

Location: Throughout the North and South Islands

Where to stay: Nelson

If the idea of mounting a bike while on vacation sounds dreadful, you definitely need to get on a bike in New Zealand.

This is just one of those places that makes you want to stay outside as much as possible.

The best part about cycling in New Zealand is that there are dozens of trails, ranging from super easy to hardcore mountain biking, in some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the world.

One of our favorite bike trails is in Nelson, known as the Tasman Great Taste Trail. This leisurely trail loops through charming countryside and coastline, with stops at art galleries, boutiques, craft breweries and wineries.

Bike tours are also popular ways to explore New Zealand’s cities. There’s nothing like getting some fresh air in your lungs and color on your cheeks with an invigorating bike ride.

13. Bungy Jump in Queenstown

The Ledge Bungy, Queenstown credit AJ Hackett Bungy

Photo: AJ Hackett Bungy

Location: Queenstown

Where to stay: Queenstown

Queenstown is the destination for those extreme bucket list adventures. Skydiving, bungy jumping, canyon swinging – basically anything related to jumping through the air, with an optional cord attached to you.

If bungy jumping is on your list, there’s no better place to do it than Queenstown. As the birthplace of bungy jumping, you can jump from the Kawarau Bridge, the world’s first commercial bungy site. The breathtaking scenery around this historic bridge is enough to inspire your jump, with the turquoise waters of the Kawarau River rushing below the bridge.

For the more brave at heart, take the jump on the Nevis Bungy, the highest bungy site in all New Zealand. We guarantee the adrenaline rush will have you shouting and laughing with glee. And the bragging rights will be unbeatable.

Check out our guide for more things to do in Queenstown.

14. Ride the TranzAlpine

TranzAlpine credit Great JourneysofNZ

Photo: Great Journeys of NZ

Location: Greymouth through Christchurch

Where to stay: Christchurch

The romance of train travel from days long past is still alive and well in New Zealand. With rails running through mountains, viaducts and along the coasts, these scenic train journeys are among the finest in the world.

For stunning views of the Southern Alps, the TranzAlpine train is a must. This 5-hour train journey includes destination stops along its path from Greymouth to Christchurch, offering time to explore hidden gems of the South Island.

Ride in the observation car, wide open to the elements, to truly immerse yourself in the scenery around you.

Curious about more things to do in New Zealand?

As one of our favorite travel destinations, we love planning trips to New Zealand for our clients.

Connect with our Destination Specialists for a one-on-one consultation about things to do in New Zealand for your trip. We’ve been where you want to go, and we’d love to tell you all about it.

Plan a Custom New Zealand Trip

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm)


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5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set

Posted on: November 23rd, 2017 by MelissaM No Comments

New Zealand is known for its green hills, mountain scenery and picturesque views. It has been the set of a number of movies but the most well-known and, dare I say the most-loved, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

The twelve-acre spread in Matamata gave Peter Jackson the perfect backdrop to bring Tolkien’s world to life and now this magical world is a reality for all who visit New Zealand.

While popular landscapes from the movie can be seen across both islands, Hobbiton Movie Set is the only place where the set, including 44 Hobbit holes, has remained in place.

Here are 5 reasons you need to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set!

1. It is one of the most visited attractions in New Zealand!

Though one of the newer attractions in New Zealand, opening after its reconstruction for The Hobbit series in 2011. The Shires Rest & Hobbiton Movie set located on Alexander Farm has quickly risen in the ranks and now hosts more than 350,000 visitors each year!

Gorgeous view of the Hobbiton Movie Set

Photo credit: Hobbiton Movie Set

2. Enjoy Ginger beer at The Green Dragon Inn!

The Green Dragon Inn, featured in the movies as a popular meeting spot for Hobbits in The Shire, is open to the public. Every tour offers a complimentary beverage at The Green Dragon Inn including Ginger Beer, apple cider or ales.

People enjoying the Green Dragon Inn

Photo credit: Hobbiton Movie Set

3. The guided tour is full of movie secrets!

The Hobbiton Movie Set is only available by tour but that doesn’t limit you on what you’ll see. The best part about a guided tour is you hear tidbits of information about Peter Jackson, movie making techniques — like how some Hobbit Holes are larger than others depending on the size of the actor — and interesting facts around the set. Did you know The Party Tree in the movie is artificial? The leaves were imported from Taiwan and wired onto the branches!

Hobbiton Party Tree, Image by jackie.lck

4. You can now eat dinner like a Hobbit!

One of the newest additions to Hobbiton is theEvening Dinner Tour. You’ll make your way through the twelve acre set as your experienced guide recounts facts and movie magic. At the end of the tour, you’ll settle in at The Green Dragon Inn and enjoy traditional Hobbit Fare in a banquet style feast. To end this magical night, every guest will be given a lantern and will travel back through the glowing enchanting village. The Shire in the moonlight is a breathtaking view that is unforgettable.

Dinner at the Green Dragon Inn

Photo credit: Hobbiton Movie Set

5. The photo opportunities are endless!

The stunning scenery and sets of Hobbiton make you feel like you’ve stepped into Tolkien’s world. Throughout the tour you’ll get opportunities to take pictures at iconic stops including Bilbo Baggin’s house, The Green Dragon Inn and the home of Samwise Gamgee. The picturesque charm of Hobbiton will inspire anyone to snap a picture or two.

Hobbiton Hobbit Hole Photo Op

Photo credit: Hobbiton Movie Set

The best part is that The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit sights don’t stop there! There are a number of locations in New Zealand that you can visit to retrace the steps of beloved Tolkien characters including Christchurch, Wellington & Queenstown.

5 Reasons to Visit Hobbiton Movie Set

If you need some help planning your Middle Earth vacation or just want to know more about Tolkien themed day tours, call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US).

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Best Things to Do in Queenstown

Posted on: October 16th, 2017 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

You’ve heard all the praise about Queenstown as the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Adrenaline-seekers everywhere know they can choose from skydiving to snowboarding, rafting to bungy jumping and anything in between among the best things to do in Queenstown.

But maybe your idea of the perfect vacation is a little more simple.

The good news is Queenstown offers many low-key local gems that are just as exhilarating and unforgettable as its fast-paced adventures. From world class hot pools with a view to mesmerizing starry skies, scenic day tours to unique New Zealand wildlife, you’ll achieve the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation.

Here’s our list of the best things to do in Queenstown.

Lake Wakatipu

This lightning bolt-shaped lake is the crown jewel of Queenstown.  It’s the third largest lake in New Zealand, and also the longest. Maori legend says this lake was created by the remains of a giant, named Matau, burned to death while sleeping as punishment for kidnapping Maori princess Manata. Matau’s heart remains beating in the depths of the lake, creating a ‘heartbeat’ or standing wave. The lake rises and falls about 20 centimeters every 27 minutes, adding to the magic and mysticism of Wakatipu.

Surrounded by incredible mountain scenery, Lake Wakatipu is a local favorite for scenic walks, bike trails, fishing and cruising. Board the TSS Earnslaw, a restored vintage steamship, for a leisurely cruise around the lake and take in the beauty of Queenstown.

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, New Zealand

Skyline Gondola and Luge

Rated as one of the top ways to experience the best views of Queenstown, the famous Skyline Gondola is the perfect way to begin your visit.

The Gondola cable car takes you on the steepest lift in the Southern Hemisphere, carrying passengers more than 1400 ft above the city. Sit back and relax as you overlook the majestic views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables mountain ranges and Lake Wakatipu as you ride to the top of Bob’s Peak. 

The View from the Gondola

The stunning view from the peak will leave you feeling on top of the world. What better way to ride the high than racing downhill on a Luge!

Skyline Luge puts you in complete control as you ride down Bob’s Peak. You’ll begin with a scenic, leisurely track to get familiar with the controls and brake system. Don’t worry about your speed as you start out – you can go as slow as you like! And you’ll want to take it slow to enjoy the magnificent surrounds.

Once you’ve got the hang of luge you can choose the Advanced Track and feel the glorious mountain air as you zoom downhill through tunnels, dips and bends. With these two tracks to suit the inexperienced as well as thrill seekers, there’s no reason to skip this top must-do Queenstown attraction.

Luge in New Zealand

 Ski and Snowboard

You don’t want to just see Coronet Peak and The Remarkables from Bob’s Peak – you’ll want to experience these mountains.

What do we mean by experience?

Visit Queenstown in the winter to see its mountains transformed into one of the world’s top ski and snowboarding destinations.

Start with Coronet Peak, the closest mountain to Queenstown and only a 25-minute drive out. This local favorite offers stunning trails for seasoned skiers to glide effortlessly down the mountain. Coronet Peak is also perfect for first timers, providing dedicated trails and slopes for novice skiers.

Enjoy untouched early morning snow from 8am to 9am daily. Don’t worry if you can’t get your snow fix during the day – Coronet Peak also offers night skiing from 4pm until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

For epic skiing and snowboarding, The Remarkables provides the best terrain parks in New Zealand. Hire performance ski or snowboard gear on site and explore the steeps and gradients along its slopes with the striking mountain range in the background.

Skiing in Coronet Peak, Queenstown

 Movie Location Tours

The Queenstown region has captivated movie-goers with its otherworldly landscapes as seen in movies including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit film franchise, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 10,000 BC and many others. Its towering mountains, ancient beech forests and turquoise blue rivers and lakes make the region perfect for a fantasy setting.

Fall into your own fantasy on one of many film location tours in Queenstown. Traverse the dramatic landscapes you’ve seen on the big screen and see what makes New Zealand scenery a repeat star in Hollywood.

Tour Film Locations in New Zealand

Milford Sound

Only a few hours away from Queenstown lies what Rudyard Kipling called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” – the Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park.

Tall cliffs jut out of the dark waters and tower over the sound, creating a dramatic landscape that has attracted tourists from around the world. This is a must-see attraction for Lord of the Rings film buffs, to visit the natural wonder that served as the backdrop for Middle Earth.

Take a scenic boat cruise on the sound and admire the numerous waterfalls cascading before you, or spot bottlenose dolphins swimming below and sea lions basking on the rocks. Get up close and explore the sound by kayak and see the stark Mitre Peak, the tallest peak in Fiordland.

Quiet yet imposing, Milford Sound is a must to relax yet still experience the best of New Zealand in your Queenstown adventure.

milford and doubtful sound fiords

Kiwi Birdlife Park

No trip to New Zealand is complete without seeing its iconic wildlife. And no way you’ll miss the chance to see famous flightless bird, the kiwi. Cross this New Zealand must-do in Queenstown at the Kiwi Birdlife Park.

Find 10,000 native plants and more than 30 animal species, including tuataras, rainbow lorikeets, rare black stilts and brown kiwi at the park. Get up close and personal with New Zealand’s flora and fauna on a private tour or in a live conservation show. Observe the nocturnal kiwi at the park’s Kiwi Houses, set up with specialized lighting effects and infra-red cameras which allow the birds to feel at home and freely roam.

New Zealand wildlife

Queenstown Gardens

Located on a small peninsula jutting out into Lake Wakatipu, the Queenstown Gardens offer a nice, secluded respite for peaceful relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Take the opportunity to enjoy the view of The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu at your own pace, or bring a frisbee and play a couple rounds of frisbee golf. Be sure to bring a camera to take shots of the blooming rose gardens, towering heritage trees and ducks.

This small snapshot of tranquility is a must while in the city of endless adventure.

Relax in Queenstown Gardens

Bungy

Looking for a bit of culture in your Queenstown adventure? For a truly authentic New Zealand experience, take the plunge with Kawarau Bridge Bungy!

AJ Hackett put Queenstown on the map as a global adventure destination when he launched the world’s first commercially operated bungy jumping site in 1988. Native New Zealander Hackett was inspired by an ancient Vanuatu ritual in which young men journey into manhood by testing their courage and jump from tall wooden platforms with vines tied to their ankles.

Test your own courage as you hurtle down more than 140 ft towards the emerald green waters of Kawarau River.

 Looking to conquer even greater heights? Try the tallest jump in New Zealand and soar down 400 ft into glorious mountain terrain with the Nevis Bungy. This once in a lifetime experience will be sure to leave its mark on your Queensland adventure.

How’s that for New Zealand authenticity?

AJ Hackett Bungy in Queenstown

Swing

Want more than just a few seconds of thrilling aerial views over Queenstown? Get the best fast and furious sightseeing around on The Ledge Swing.

Forget the low-hanging swings in the playgrounds of your childhood. The rope style swing is the only swing found in the heart of Queenstown. Board the Gondola and up top to the Ledge platform on Bob’s Peak, where you’ll be strapped to a harness and lifted 1300 ft above the city. When you’re ready, pull the release cord – that’s right, you’re in control – and take flight!

Sky Swing in Queenstown

Skydiving

Skydiving is on every adrenaline seeker’s bucket list, and Queenstown – the birthplace of tandem skydiving – is the perfect place to take the plunge.

You’ll receive instruction and a history of the surrounding areas as you are transported through Queenstown’s stunning surrounds to the drop zone. Suit up and strap on to an instructor for a safe dive. Then plummet from 15,000 feet in the sky and free fall for up to 60 seconds towards glimmering Lake Wakatipu, tall, snow-capped mountain ranges and even the dusky fiords of Fiordland National Park.

You won’t get a better view of Queenstown’s gorgeous scenery than this.

NZOne Skydiving

Jet Boarding and Rafting

You’ve conquered Queenstown by air and land. Now you’re ready to take on the town by water with more fast-paced adventure. Extreme water activities can be found in abundance for visitors brave enough to traverse the crystal clear New Zealand rapids.

Hop aboard the Shotover Jet for a high-speed boat ride through the daunting and narrow Shotover Canyons. The boat is custom built for expert maneuvering and 360-degree turns, so be ready for a few hairy spins and close encounters with the canyons on your ride as your boat driver tears up the river!

If you’re looking to get your rafting on in Queenstown, you can whitewater raft on the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. Immerse yourself in the brisk waters of the rivers – expect to be soaked to the bone!

For beginners, the four rapids on the Kawarau River are a great introduction to whitewater rafting. Calm stretches of water allow rafters to take in the scenery of the historic Kawarau Bungy Bridge and surrounding rocky cliffs.  

The Shotover River provides more challenging rapids for the adventurous rafter – with names like Aftershock, Squeeze, Toilet and Pinball, conquering this river will be a thrilling feat.

Jet Boating in Shotover River

Hot Pools

After experiencing the extreme thrills of the Adventure Capital of the World, unwind and pamper yourself in the lap of luxury in a rejuvenating hot pool. Soak in the gorgeous alpine view and fresh mountain air as your body and mind surrender to the pure waters and penetrating warmth of Queenstown’s world class hot pools.

On-site massage rooms are available for ultimate rest and relaxation.

Relax in Queenstown

Stargazing

The scenery in Queenstown is stunning from any location – land, air, or water. But at night, look up from the landscape below you and greet the illuminating expanse of stars above for a view you won’t want to miss.

Take the Gondola in the center of town to the top of Bob’s Peak, where you’ll be guided to a spot above the clouds with zero light pollution for ultimate clarity. Expert guides will have you spellbound with their wealth of information on stars, constellations and planets all visible from the industry standard telescopes available for viewing.

Canadian Goose down jackets are provided for maximum warmth to fight off the cold. But you’ll soon forget the chill as the mesmerizing stars of the Southern Hemisphere captivate you with their unbelievable brightness.

If you hail from a location too light-polluted to enjoy the night sky, stargazing is a must to complete any trip to Queenstown.

Skyline Gondola Stargazing

Experience the Best Things to do in Queenstown

Queenstown makes completing your bucket list a breeze. With so many things to do, it’s hard to pack the best the town has to offer in one visit. We’ll help you plan your trip to the Adventure Capital of the World and make sure you don’t miss the must-dos during your stay.

I want to visit Queenstown!

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm) and speak to one of our expert Destination Specialists today


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You May Have Missed Your Chance to Vacation to New Zealand

Posted on: August 4th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments

New Zealand is full. Booked. No vacancy.

“But I reallllyyy want to see those beautiful landscapes! The fiords! The glaciers!”

Too late. Nothing else to see here, move along, pick a new country to visit, later gator.

In 2017, New Zealand officially has more people wanting to visit than there is space available to house them.

It’s a huge problem.

Of course, it’s not surprising. New Zealand’s postcard-ready landscape, mild climate and rugged coastline seem tailor made for the wanderlust of travelers of all ages.

vacation to new zealand

But as native Aussies, in proper brotherly fashion we prefer to blame a Kiwi – namely Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.

Since the release of the Lord of the Rings films, New Zealand has absolutely exploded as a tourist destination.

Hardcore fans of the film look to retrace Frodo’s steps to Mt. Doom or have a pint at the Green Dragon Inn, while non-movie buffs can’t help but appreciate the photogenic, sweeping vistas of the countryside.

vacation to new zealand

Photo: Hobbiton Tours

There really is something that could tickle anyone’s fancy – and that’s exactly why tourism in New Zealand is shattering records all over the place.

Developers have been scrambling the past few years, trying their best to put up more hotels and rooms for eager visitors. But it seems like they just can’t put them up fast enough.

Room for accommodation is so tight that just recently a group of 53 traveling senior-citizens had a delayed flight and ended up stranded for the night – not a single hotel room left to spare.

Luckily, they were treated to some Maori hospitality and put up for the night in a traditional Maori meeting house. Sleeping bags on the floor and all – just like at camp.

And that’s just the hotels!

Vacation to New Zealand Auckland

Photo: Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand’s overall infrastructure is being stressed so much that estimates put a $1.5 billion-dollar price tag on improvements to set the tourism industry up for the future.

Think about the rental cars needed to go on those epic self-drive adventures New Zealand is so well known for. The tickets and space needed to participate in the extreme sport staples people know and love like bungy jumping and skydiving.

All these pieces work in unison to create an amazing New Zealand experience and if you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself stuck.

We’ve been in the travel game for nearly 20 years and we’ve never seen anything like it. But we have picked up some tips along the way to make your trip seamless.

Book Early

The earlier you book, the better your chances at getting your preferred trip, it’s as easy as that. Some seasons are busier than others, but the fact remains that the quicker you get your trip booked, the easier it will be.

But don’t expect to simply book a hotel room and be on your merry way.

How will you get to the hotel from the airport?

Taxi queues can be long and that meter keeps running no matter how much traffic you’re stuck in.

Uber, Lyft and other car-sharing services are available in New Zealand, but increasingly subject to increase rates during peak times known as surge-pricing. With the number of tourists and locals clamoring for a ride, you could be paying even more than a taxi.

That’s why car-transfer shuttles with their flat rate are the way to go. They’ll be ready and waiting for you at the airport. The last thing you want to do is figure out getting your cell phone to work in a new country immediately after your 13 hour flight! Better book this early while you’re at it.

Travel in the Off Season

This one needs no explanation. Make no mistake – travel in the off season is much more flexible than peak season. We have an in-depth guide to New Zealand’s travel seasons but overall, it’s pretty simple.

Summer

December, January, February – By far the busiest season. Warm weather and school children are on vacation.

Fall

March, April, May – Milder temperatures and the summer rush is dwindling. Fall is a GREAT time to experience the great New Zealand outdoors.

Winter

June, July, August – You’ll want to bring a coat, but there’s still plenty to do in the colder months like skiing, glacier hiking and more. The North Island tends to stay a bit warmer than the South Island, but if you really want to embrace the wintery chill,  head to the mountains for snowy peaks and fun, outdoor winter activities.

new zealand vacation

Photo: Julian Apse

You’ve always wanted to snowboard in July, haven’t you?

Spring

September, October, November – Beautiful weather. The perfect time to hike one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, like the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Pleasant weather all the way through.

Freedom Camp

Make your car your home by freedom camping in a pop-up camper vehicle or RV. Freedom camping in New Zealand is just as it sounds: the freedom to drive yourself around to your hearts content, pull in to a designated area and stay the night.

No hotel check ins, no shuttle transfers. Just you, the open road and a sense of adventure.

 new zealand vacation

Freedom camping can get you places you otherwise might miss, but despite the name, there are still a few guidelines you need to follow.

Until the past couple of decades, New Zealand was a free-wheeling, camping free-for-all and you could pull over wherever you wanted and stay the night in your camper van or truck.

But as word got out on this come-as-you-please, bohemian travel style, property owners began to crack down and “No Camping” signs began to go up.

Nowadays, a map of designated DOC (Dept. of Conservation)-friendly sites will do you good for finding spots to call home for the night.

The good news? DOC sites are plentiful and can get you beyond the average tourist bubble of accommodations. Find yourself in a remote wilderness one day and chatting up the locals at a pub the next.

Oh, and did we mention they’re free?

Have an Expert Plan Your Vacation to New Zealand For You

We don’t mean to toot our own horn, but after 20 years we think we’ve got this travel thing figured out. We can put you up in a preferred travel accommodation, book you a ride from the airport and get you to and from tours without hassle.

Sometimes the slightest snag can throw off a perfectly good vacation. Can’t find a ride to the airport in Auckland? You could miss your flight to Queenstown.

Trying to bungy jump or simply tour Hobbiton but tickets are sold out? If you didn’t book ahead, you’re out of luck.

We specialize in putting the parts together and setting them in motion. All you need to do is enjoy the ride.

Let us build a free quote for you and we’ll make sure you have a place to lay your head at night.

I Don’t Want to Miss Out On New Zealand!

Want to start planning your trip now?

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm) and speak to one of our expert Destination Specialists today.


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New Zealand Must-See: Milford and Doubtful Sounds

Posted on: July 6th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments

Think of Milford and Doubt Sounds as metaphors for life. The grandiose fiords are world-famous for their size and striking appearance. But they didn’t start out that way.

Sometimes, the key to creating something grand is by making small steps every day. Over time, these subtle changes will lead to something magnificent.

Monumental even.

You don’t have to look far to see this proven right in your own life. The very ground you walk on was shaped and shifted over millennia. Land masses broke from super-continents to form the places you call home.

It was smell steps like these that formed Milford and Doubtful Sound, the “Eighth Wonders of the World”.

See why New Zealand’s most beautiful places are two can’t-miss destinations on your next trip to Kiwi country.

milford and doubtful sound

Fiordland

Both Milford and Doubtful Sound are in a region of New Zealand known as Fiordland National Park. The nearly 5,000 square miles of New Zealand’s south-west tip contains some of the most quintessential and incredible landscapes in the world.

When you think about New Zealand and the amazing scenery it’s known for, you’re probably thinking of two things: the rolling, grassy vistas that were popularized in movies like The Lord of the Rings, and tall, steep peaks, shadowed by mist, rising above calm waters below.

milford and doubtful sound

Photo: Tourism Holdings

The latter is Fiordland. And by far the two most visited places in Fiordland are Milford and Doubtful Sound.

Over the course of millions of years, shifting tectonic plates caused tall rock formations to reach out from beneath the sea. As the earth continued its slow-motion crash on to itself, sharp peaks reached high in to the air.

During the ice age, glaciers formed and began to move. Inch by inch, they slowly began to erode rock and sediment, forming the narrow-tunnels found in Fiordland today.

Small steps. Big changes.

Milford Sound

milford and doubtful sound

Photo: Tourism New Zealand

Sometimes it’s the journey. Other times it’s the destination. When it comes to Milford Sound, it’s both.

The scenic drive out from Queenstown is like a “best-of” tour of New Zealand’s pristine landscapes. You’ll drive along winding roads that hug Lake Wakatipu, a turquoise-blue, glacier-fed lake.

Stop along any of the pull-outs and viewing points along the way and you might recognize the vast expanse of water, rimmed by mountains. On the big screen, it served as the backdrop for Middle Earth in several scenes of The Lord of the Rings.

As you enter New Zealand hill country, tall mountains give way to grass-covered, wavy hills and colorful lupins line the highway.

This scenic highway is precisely why Milford Sound is New Zealand’s most accessible and most visited site in Fiordland.

Tip: Want to skip the traffic on the way back? Go for a Milford Sound Cruise and Scenic Flight. Return from your Milford Sound cruise in style on a scenic plane journey back to Queenstown

Every year nearly 600,000 tourists come to Milford Sound, taking advantage of the highway leading there. This makes it easy to take a day trip from the populous city of Queenstown, or a quick stopover if you make your base in Te Anau.

And it’s easy to see why once you arrive. Although you could argue that the word “epic” is a bit overused in travel writing, there is no better way to describe Milford Sound.

milford and doubtful sound

Photo: Adam Bryce

The tall, steep crags jut out of the water, peaking high overhead. It’s home to the tallest peak in Fiordland, Mitre Peak, reaching in to the sky nearly 6,000 feet. It’s the iconic landscape that single-handedly has attracted visitors from across the globe.

But an increase in visitors also means an increase in the number of boats cruising the Sound to accommodate them. On Milford Sound, you’re in the company of a number of different tour boats, operators and cruise ships, all looking to see the same sites that you are.

However, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be surrounded by raging party-boats – but nothing beats the ambiance of feeling alone on the water, a mere speck among rocky skyscrapers towering overhead.

Doubtful Sound

If silent ambiance is your prime objective when visiting a natural wonder, look no further. Doubtful Sound is the slightly less popular younger brother to Milford Sound. It doesn’t have quite the same name recognition, it’s a little bit harder to get to and the peaks aren’t quite as tall.

milford and doubtful sound

But being a little more out of the way proves beneficial to the unmatched ambiance found at Doubtful Sound.

Access to Doubtful is limited to a ferry ride over Lake Manapouri. You won’t find the rows of coaches, buses and cars that cover Milford. Instead, a very limited number of boats cruise through the beautiful fiord.

This makes Doubtful Sound a slightly more solemn excursion, if you’re looking for a true “one-with-nature” type of experience.

The rocky cliffs that arise from Doubtful Sound apex at a round crest, as opposed to Milford’s angular, jagged peaks. Soft, green ferns and forest cover much of the mountainous rises and foggy mist often rests like pillows in the treetops.

But the main attraction at both Milford and Doubt Sounds isn’t what you see, but what you hear.

 The Sound of Silence

Much like the world’s other natural wonders, Milford and Doubtful Sound have the power to leave you speechless. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you’ll know that upon reaching the rim, there’s a distinct shift that happens upon arrival.

All the usual chatter that fills the parking lot on the way of families swapping stories of the road and siblings arguing over who won the “License Plate Game” seems to disappear.

Looking in to the void that the Earth created renders an eerie hush where you could almost hear a pin drop all the way in the valley below.

milford and doubtful sound

Maybe it’s the overwhelming sense of your place on the planet, or maybe no one wants to be the sole person to break the silence and ruin the mood. In any case, it’s an experience that’s unique to witnessing something so grand that an entire crowd can be left short for words.

At Milford and Doubtful Sounds, you’ll feel that same majestic sound-of-nothing from the “valley” itself, on a “sound of silence” cruise. You’ll cruise through the giant fiords, craning your neck to take in the enormous rock formations, standing tall around the still water.

As you reach a center point in the great fiord, the captain of the ship turns off the ship. Then, all you’re left with is the soft babble of water and the call of birdsong. But the Captain didn’t call for silence.

They didn’t need to.

Visit Milford and Doubtful Sounds

Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are the crown jewels of Fiordland. Let us plan your Fiordland adventure. Whether you’re up for a scenic drive from Queenstown or a ferry ride in to the unknown, it’s a trip that you’ll never forget.

Add Fiordland to My Trip

Want to start planning your trip now?

Phone us Toll Free on 1-888-359-2877 (CT USA, M-F 8.30am – 5pm) and speak to one of our expert Destination Specialists today.


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Overseas Adventure Travel Capital of the World – Heart-Pounding New Zealand

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by About Australia Staff No Comments
Overseas Adventure Travel Bungy Jumping

Photo: AJ Hackett Bungy

If A. J. Hackett jumped off a bridge would anyone follow him? That’s the question the New Zealand native asked back in 1986 when he opened the world’s first commercial bungy jumping operation in Queenstown. The world answered with a resounding “Yes!” and soon people from New Zealand and all over rushed to see the extreme sport of “bungy jumping”.

The rest is history and New Zealand’s place as the overseas adventure travel capital was solidified.

We’ll show you why picturesque Kiwi country continues to be known the world over for extreme adventure sports in our guide to overseas adventure travel in New Zealand.

Skydiving New Zealand

New Zealand’s landscape is some of the most picturesque in the world. Deep fiords, tall, snow-capped mountains and green, rolling vistas give New Zealand that postcard-look at every turn. What better way to see it all than by plummeting towards it from 12,000 feet up?

Skydiving in New Zealand is the most epic way to top off your overseas adventure travel vacation in New Zealand. You’ll receive instruction, suit up and strap on to an instructor for a safe dive. However, nothing can prepare you for that initial leap through the clouds!

Overseas Adventure Travel New Zealand Sky Diving

Photo: NZOne Skydive

Not ready to take the plunge? Opt for a bungy-jump with the company that started it all. The A. J. Hackett Ledge Bungy provides you with nearly 9 seconds of free-fall before being hurtled back up by your ankles. It’s the unforgettable experience that put Queenstown on the extreme sport map.

High Speed River Boats and Kayaking New Zealand

Hop aboard a high-speed thrilling river boat for an exhilarating journey through the Shotover River Canyons. You’ll zip past past jagged cliff-faces at nearly 60 mph. Squeeze through stunning narrow canyons mere inches away from the rocky walls to your side. Hold on tight as the unique Shotover Jet performs high speed, 360-degree spins along the way. This is not your average river boat cruise.

Want to take it a little bit slower? Get your feet wet first with a bit of kayaking at Tonga Island Marine Reserve. Embark from Onetahuti Beach in a double-kayak and see some of Abel Tasman’s amazing landscape. Paddle around pristine waters and New Zealand’s renowned rugged coastline and rock formations. You’ll feel like you’re exploring uncharted land as you paddle your way through. Lay your eyes on the lush, jungle landscape that surrounds you.

Once you make landfall, you’ll have the chance to explore some of the island and continue your adventure on foot.

Kayaking Abel Tasman New Zealand

Photo: Camilla Stoddart

Tip: Paddle over to see the Seal Colony where you could see native fur seals frolicking in their natural habitat! Along the way, lookout for more of New Zealand’s great wildlife like sea birds or even a Little Blue Penguin. The pristine waters around the reserve are so clear, you can even see fish swimming by as you paddle through.

Caving and Canyoning New Zealand

Get to know New Zealand from the inside-out by trekking through some of its best caves and canyons. Strap on your helmet, turn on your headlamp and harness up. This spelunking adventure is the best way to see some amazing subterranean wonders. New Zealand’s cave system is among the most diverse and challenging in the world.

Sure, you can take the simple walk through wide caverns and see some great sights. Stalactites and black water rivers are pretty accessible to those looking for a slightly more hands-off experience.

Overseas Adventure Travel Waitomo Caves

Photo: Absolute Adventure

But what would overseas adventure travel be without the adventure? For a a more harrowing trek you’ll want to head in to New Zealand’s narrow cave system. You’ll crawl, squeeze and rappel through the complex cave network. Feel your way through certain sections with only the light of you and your cave mates headlamps. Along the way your guide will give you an informative run down of the caves history and geology.

Overseas Adventure Travel Glow Worm Caves New Zealand

Photo: Waitomo Glow Worm Caves

No trip to New Zealand is complete without heading to Waitomo for the iconic Glow Worm Caves. You’ll see beautiful rock formations and geological wonders before embarking on a silent “black-water raft” ride. The silent float on the river-cave offers a stunning look at thousands of glow worms that call the cave home. See the soft, blue light that these bio-luminescent insects give off as you drift silently through the dark expanse. Staring at the glow worms as you float through the silent, dark cave makes you feel like you’re looking at thousands of stars in the sky.

Glacier Walks and Volcano Hikes

Mountaineering has a special place in the hearts of New Zealanders. Did you know that Edmund Hilary, the first person to summit Mt. Everest, was a Kiwi? His interest in climbing mountains was spurned from a childhood trip to Mt. Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. Celebrate Hilary’s legacy with an adventure of your own in New Zealand’s glacier and volcano regions.

Start off at Franz Josef Glacier where you’ll take a scenic helicopter ride to the top. You’ll get an incredible view of the top of the glacier area along the way before landing right on the ice. An expert guide will lead you through the glacier’s rugged terrain. Walk through narrow ice canyons. See snow-capped mountains and pristine blue-ice. The almost Antarctic feel to Franz Josef Franz Josef Glacier makes you feel a thousand miles away.

Overseas Adventure Travel Franz Josef Glacier New Zealand

Photo: Franz Josef Glacier Guides

From there head for the North Island. Make a stop in Tongariro National Park and participate in a “Great Walk of New Zealand“. You can even trek up Mt. Nguaruhoe – better known as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings.

Your final stop on this circuit of New Zealand wonders is the sulfuric, geothermal region in Rotorua. Once you arrive, don’t be alarmed if things smell a bit odd. “The Sulfur City” is more than just a nickname for Rotorua. The sulfur rich minerals brewing below the earth escape in to the atmosphere leaving a strong sulfuric smell all around. But after some getting used to, it’s just a reminder of the amazing geothermal activity happening just below you.

Just outside Rotorua proper sits the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. This area was created by New Zealand’s largest volcanic eruption more than 100 years ago in 1886. In geologic terms, where things are measured in hundreds of millions of years, this valley is brand new. Valley walks take you through stunning emerald pools, hot springs and steaming crater lakes. Be sure to check out Frying Pan Lake – as the name implies, the lake cracks and sizzles from geothermal heating!

Geothermal Rotorua New Zealand Overseas Adventure Travel

Photo: Rotorua Geothermal Region

New Zealand – Overseas Adventure Travel Mecca

In New Zealand you’re never short on options to push your vacation to the next level. Sure you’ll want to see the stunning landscapes that made Middle Earth come to life in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. But in between the relaxing walks and scenic drives, make a few stops that will truly take your breath away. Let us plan a trip that will show you why New Zealand’s reputation for overseas adventure travel is well-earned.  

Add Some Adventure to My Tour

Want to start planning your trip now? Call 888 -359-2877 (M -F 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) today and talk to one of our Destination Specialists. We’ll work together to create the perfect trip for you.


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New Zealand Hot Springs Indulgent Experiences

Posted on: February 17th, 2016 by MelissaM No Comments

hot springs activities New ZealandEver have the urge to jump into the ocean in the middle of winter? Maybe you’d wish it was warm enough outside to take a swim. New Zealand doesn’t let silly things like seasons dictate when you can enjoy the water. In fact, there are countless number of hot spring experiences all across the North and South Islands. Here are our (and the world’s) favorite Hot Springs in New Zealand.

Hot Water Beach New Zealand – Mercury Bay

Located on the east side of the North Island, Hot Water Beach is a unique experience to dig your toes in the sand and relax in the natural hot water. You can rent a shovel for $5 and dig your own spa in the sand! The water can get very hot but luckily the ocean is just a short walk away!Friends at Hot Water Beach

Waiwera Thermal Resort – Waiwera

Just north of Auckland, Waiwera is a popular thermal water destination. There are hot water thermal pools surrounded by native New Zealand fauna. And this destination is family friendly! Whether you want to relax or relive your childhood, don’t miss out on Waiwera.Waiwera Water Slides in New Zealand

Taupo Thermal Hot Pools – Taupo

Located in the middle of the North Island, the Hot Pools in Taupo are a great place to stop. It offers a number of attractions anyone can enjoy. While some of their services do cost, Otumuheke Stream is a hot stream that flows into Waikato River and free for visitors. There are lots of little hot spots along the way – just follow the steam! Taupo Hot Springs

Hells Gate – Rotorua

Hells Gate is an awesome way to experience the thermal phenomenon in Rotorua in a relaxing spa setting. Most people come to see Kakahi Falls, the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere! It’s a special waterfall to the Maori people because they believe the sulfur in the water healed their ancestor’s years ago. If you’d rather stay in, there are a number of hot mud spas in the park too.

Couple at Hells Gate Rotorua

Polynesian Springs – Rotorua

This is one of NZ’s oldest spa attractions and a must see if you’re traveling through Rotorua. You can choose to relax in a Hot Mineral Bath, take part in one of their numerous spa treatments or experience the healing properties of one of their mud treatments. Whatever you choose, the Polynesian Springs provide a place to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the hot water year-round.

polynesian spa rotorua

Onsen Hot Pools – Queenstown

Travel down to Queenstown in the South Island for this relaxing gem. The Onsen Hot Pools provide a romantic backdrop for any traveling couple. Filled with a soothing and nature provided combination of rain water, purified lake water and mountain spring water, the pools are truly a natural source of relaxation.

Friends relaxing in the Onsen Hot Pools

Whether you’re traveling during the US Winter or the NZ Winter (May-July), these New Zealand hot springs experiences will not disappoint. Start planning your trip today and make sure to include some of these glorious, natural H2O experiences!

If you need some help planning, call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US).

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Quick Guide To Major New Zealand Airports

Posted on: October 14th, 2015 by MelissaM No Comments

Looking for information on New Zealand airports for your future trip?

Check out our quick guide on major New Zealand airports, both international and domestic.

New Zealand International Airports

With five international airports, traveling to different areas in New Zealand has never been easier. Christchurch & Auckland are the largest airports, housing millions of passengers each year! All of the New Zealand airports have facilities and transportation options to make traveling to and from this beautiful country more comfortable.

New Zealand International Airport Map

Auckland International Airport – AKL

Considered the main hub for international travel to New Zealand, Auckland airport recorded over 15 million passengers in 2014. The airport services all major airlines for international flight as well as domestic flights all over the country.

Transportation Options

Bus: Bus fares from AKL to Auckland city average $16 per adult with an approximate travel time of 45-60 minutes. The bus operates 24/7 to accommodate all travelers. The bus schedule can vary, so check online for departure times. Tickets can be purchased online ahead of time or at one of the kiosks in the airport.

Shuttle: Costing a little over $30 a person, plan to take an hour from the Airport to the city with a shuttle ride. Shuttles are shared with other passengers and depending on peak traffic time, travel may take longer.

Taxi: Taxi fares from the Auckland airport range from $75-$90 on average and can take 30 minutes from the airport to the city center. All taxi drives carry a value and service guarantee, so travel should be smooth. Traffic can present problems, so it is best to leave early during peak driving hours.

Facilities

Wifi is available (first 30 minutes free), toilets and showers, pharmacy, Luggage Trolleys, VIP Lounges, Family Facilities, Medical & First Aid, Foreign Exchange & Banking, Telephones & Chapel, playground for children.

More information on: https://www.aucklandairport.co.nz

Christchurch International Airport – CHC

Christchurch Airport recently completed an upgrade in 2013 to accommodate the growing number of passengers coming in and out of this airport. Christchurch has had over 727,000 international passengers this year and is the stop for travelers visiting the South Island. The Christchurch airport services major airlines including Air New Zealand, Jetstar, China Airlines, Emirates, Fiji Airways, China Southern Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia.

Transportation Options

Taxis: Travel time by taxi to the city center of Christchurch averages 15-20 minutes and costs $45-$65 per fare, though prices may vary.

Buses: Christchurch airport buses operate 7 days a week and offer an inexpensive option to the city center. Expect bus fare around $8 one way. Tickets can be purchased directly with the driver.

Shuttle Shuttle rides average about 30-40 minutes for travel time from CHC to the city center and cost around $25 for one passenger, $30 for two. Shuttle rides can be scheduled ahead of time or at the airport. Make sure to allow plenty of time due to the amount of drop offs on one trip.

Facilities

Unlimited Free Wifi available to all passengers, Toilets & Shower facilities, Foreign Exchange & Banking (open for all international flights), wide array of food options, 20+ of retail & service stores

More information on: http://www.christchurch-airport.co.nz

Dunedin International Airport – DUD

The Dunedin airport, located 30 kilometers south of the city, services the Lower South Island & international flights to and from Australia. Major airlines include Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Virgin Australia Airlines and Mainland Air.

Transportation Options

Shuttle: It takes about 35 minutes from DUD to the city with a far of $30 per person or $40 for two. The DUD shuttle provides an inexpensive way to travel but travelers should allow extra time when using the shuttle for transportation, due to the number of drop-offs.

Taxi: Taxis to Dunedin from the Dunedin airport can cost about $90 fare and take 20-30 minutes. Please allow extra time depending on peak traffic periods.

Car Rental: Car rental services are available at the Dunedin airport with a number of major car rental services. Bookings are recommended to ensure a car is available.

Facilities

Dining options, Toilets & Shower facilities, exchange facilities for international flights, bars, fast food, parenting room, arcade room, tax-free shopping and souvenirs, wheelchair access, conference facilities

More information on: https://www.dunedinairport.co.nz

Wellington International Airport – WLG

Wellington services destinations in Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast & Melbourne) & domestic flights to Lower North Island. Major airlines include Qantas, Virgin Australia, JetStar, Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand.

Transportation Options

Shuttle: Shuttle Rides can be found outside of baggage claim. Discounts apply to travelers in groups of two or more ($20 for one person, $25 for two). Plan for about a 25 minute trip from WLG to Wellington city.

Bus: Bus trips cost no more than $6 per person with a travel time of 30 minutes from WLG to the city. The bus leaves every 20 minutes from the airport till about 9:20PM at night. Check the schedule online to plan ahead.

Taxi: Taxi trips average about 20 minutes from the WLG airport to the city at a rate of $40, though prices vary on peak traffic times. All taxi drivers must possess special license, so they are considered “knowledge experts” in Greater Wellington.

Facilities

Toilets, Showers; lots of shopping options including tax-free souvenir shops, bookshops, clothing, fine clothing, music and movies, dining options including cafes, restaurants and bars; banking and currency exchange options, wifi, wheelchair access, parenting room, Wildcard programme offers exclusive deals for shopping food & beverage, parking, competitions and giveaways.

More information on: www.wellingtonairport.co.nz

Queenstown International Airport – ZQN

Queenstown is an international hub for travelers and out of all the New Zealand airports, this one has the most scenic landing strip next to a gorgeous mountain range. Air New Zealand, Jet Star, Qantas and Virgin Australia flights are serviced here.

Transportation Options

Bus: Bus fare to the city is $8 a person and can take about a half hour from ZQN to the city. The bus travels to all major hotels in the area.

Shuttle: Shuttles from the Queenstown airport cost about $10 a person and travel time takes about 20 minutes. Discounts apply for two or more travelers.

Taxi: Fare costs average $30 and take about 15 minutes to the city center. Please allow more travel time for peak traffic hours.

Facilities:

1st hour free Wifi available to all travelers, toilets, shopping, retail stores including jewelry, souvenirs, clothing, reading material, food and drink options like bars, cafes, lounges available open and pay-for-use, disabled access, parents room with toys, telephone areas

More information on: http://www.queenstownairport.co.nz

New Zealand Domestic Airports

Map of New Zealand's Domestic Airports

Domestic airports are located throughout the country to accommodate travel inside the North & South Islands. Travel accommodations for each airport depend on location and size.

  • Hawke’s Bay Airport – NPE
  • New Plymouth Airport – NPL
  • Palmerson North Airport – PMR
  • Nelson Airport – NSN
  • Invercargill Airport – IVC
  • Tauranga Airport – TRG
  • Blenheim Airport – BHE
  • Rotorua Regional Airport – ROT

Ready to book your flight?

If you need assistance planning your flight or trip, our destination experts are ready to help you. Our ARC Accreditation ensures you’ll get the best experience when book your flight to New Zealand with the help of seasoned travel agents. Call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US).

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New Zealand Adventure Tours

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Lexie No Comments

new zealand adventure travel

Does the thought of an international adventure entice you?

New Zealand is full of geographical diversity; the entire country is covered in mountains, glaciers, rainforests, lakes, farmland, and the most gorgeous coastline, which provides an enormous amount of variety for thrill-seekers. It is the adventure travelers paradise. If you’re wondering where to go in New Zealand, there are locations all over the country that yield extreme sports, adventures and fun. We have compiled a list of the top 26 adventure destinations and attractions that you must visit once in your lifetime. Travel-Tip: If you’re up for a road-trip, self drive tours are the best way to explore New Zealand at your own pace.

Queenstown, New Zealand | South Island

Queenstown, home of the New Zealand Winter Games, is the ‘adventure capital of the world’ and the ‘adrenaline capital of New Zealand- it’s no wonder it’s number one in adventure tourism! You’re sure to find an overwhelming amount of thrilling adventures guaranteed to supply the adrenaline rush all daredevils search for.

1. Kawarau White Water Rafting

A ” leisurely” grade 2-3 white water adventure rafting adventure suitable for persons of all rafting abilities – a great family experience. If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings, the scenery may be familiar; raft down into Middle Earth.

 

2. Kawarau River Sledging

Get up close and personal with the roaring rapids of the Kawarau River while you soar through canyons, gorges and whirlpools for a world-class “wet & wild” river experience.

 

3. Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump

Home to the world’s first commercial site and most famous of leaps; it is the world’s most beloved bungee site at a 141 foot leap, it is New Zealand’s only tandem bungee jump site. ProTip: Tandem refers to two or more people.

 

4. Shotover Canyon Swing

Launch yourself from a mounted platform 358 feet above the Shotover River, a thrilling 197 foot free fall, until you reach a gigantic 656 foot swing where you will act as a human pendulum until you rest. You can drip in a chair, upside down, backwards, and even tandem. It’s all about your comfort level!

 

5. Shotover Jet Country

The world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride that whips through Shotover canyon at 56 mph.

 

6. Nevis Highwire Bungee

The 14th highest bungee jump in the world, it is dubbed the “world’s wildest bungee jump.” After a rugged 35 minute 4×4 drive you’ll launch yourself into an 8.5 second freefall, a 440 foot drop over the Nevis Valley. Nervous? Can’t decide? Maybe this hilarious and informative client review will soothe your nerves.

 

7. Ski & Snow Board

Hit the slopes during New Zealand’s longest season and find adventure in every corner. There’s sNOw excuse – Queenstown is surrounded by lakes and gorgeous mountains which makes it extremely popular for extreme sports. Even the dogs in New Zealand are daredevils!

 

8. Dart River Safari

A stimulating wilderness jet trip excursion through the most incredible scenery across glacier-fed rivers while learning about fascinating New Zealand Maori legends and culture.

 

9. Skydive

Experience an authentic skydive in the birthplace of tandem skydiving. This is not for the faint of heart – jump from 9,000-15,000 feet at nearly 125 mph for an insane 60 second free fall before you deploy your parachute and reach land again.

 

10. Moa Zipline

Ride up the Skyline Gondola and then glide through the treetops on a series of four flying foxes.

 

11. Tandem Paraflights

Strap into your harness and get ready for the flight of a lifetime at over 600 feet in the air, enjoy an exhilarating birds-eye-view of the incredible scenery .

 

12. Ledge Sky Swing

Enjoy a scenic gondola ride before you’re strapped in to swing 1,300 feet over Queenstown. This takes swinging to a whole new level!

13. Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

If you’re an early riser, take a tour over the most awe-inspiring landscape in the world.

 

Auckland, New Zealand | North Island

Despite being New Zealand’s largest and most urban city in the country, it is the only city in the world built on an active underground volcano field, which yields thrilling adventures for you to embark on.

14. Sail the Auckland Harbor

Explore the colorful landscape and sandy beaches while sailing on an American Cup Racing Yacht through the most unique sea kayaking locations.

 

15. Piha Canyon Abseiling Adventure

Abseil down cascading waterfalls surrounded volcanic rock walls, swim through pools of blues and greens, bungee jump, cave explorations, and slides as you wander the canyon.

 

Tauranga, New Zealand | North Island

Located along the coast in the Bay of Plenty, it is the 6th most populated city in New Zealand, while a bit more leisurely than thrill-seeking, it still yields a fascinating adventure.

16. AquaTek Fishing & Diving

Inshore & offshore game fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling – the perfect mix of thrill and adventure. Be ready to catch and see some of the ocean’s largest fish.

 

17. Swim With the Dolphins

Experience Tauranga’s natural aquatic life – above or below sea level, and swim with the dolphins. Alternatively, watch the dolphins, orcas, and whales safely in an aquatic vessel.

 

18. Surf Lessons

Whether you’re just learning, or a professional surfer, Tauranga has some of the best waters to surf with equally impressive backdrops. You’ll be catching waves in no time.

 

Rotorua, New Zealand | North Island

Located in the heart of the North Island, this city is known for its geothermal activity and critically acclaimed tourist attractions.

19. Geothermal Park

50 acres of volcanoes, fumaroles, and pools of boiling mud; you can feel the Earth come alive beneath your feet. Helicopter over Hell’s Gate Thermal Valley to the Pacific Ocean coastline and into the active volcano of White Island.

 

20. Agroventures Adventure Park

Five of the most iconic New Zealand adventures all in the same area: bungee jump, sky swing, jet boat rides, New Zealand’s only wind tunnel – Freefall Xtreme, and the world’s only shweeb racing in a suspended monorail racing pod.

 

21. Rotorua Canopy Tour

Voted the best outdoor activity on the North Island. Zipline and swing bridge across the native forest for a thrilling way to experience the forest canopy.

 

22. Wairoa River Kayaking

Pick from a series of grade 2-5 experiences and raft or kayak through the world’s most commercially rafted waterfall.

 

23. Zorb

Roll down the hills of Rotorua in a giant inflatable globe for some thrilling wet or dry adventures.

 

Honorable Mentions

24. Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike | North Island

After an exciting scenic flight, take a two hour guided hike the magnificent glacier scenery and landscape.

 

25. Mangaweka Gravity Canyon | Taihape, New Zealand – North Island

Home to NZ’s highest bungee jump and original zipline equipped with flying foxes and giant swings, you can raft through the Rangitikei River (grade 5) after you launch yourself 262 feet into the impressive canyon.

 

26. Horse Back Riding | North Island

Trek around the peaceful Manawatu River for a leisurely adventure with breathtaking backdrops and natural outdoor experiences.

Awaken your wanderlust.

We have custom New Zealand Adventure Tours and packages that include all of the main New Zealand attractions and activities that are sure you to give a rush of adrenaline and provide you with experiences you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.

We do hope that you find this information helpful. Should you have any questions or need some help planning your New Zealand adventure tours, don’t hesitate to call us directly Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm Central US) or visit www.AboutNewZealand.com. We’d love to help you customize your once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list vacation to New Zealand.

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About New Zealand Reviews
Rating of  Average of 4.86 on a total of 14 Ratings
Nicole Lambert
We had an awesome honeymoon! Thank you!

My husband and I booked our honeymoon trip to New Zealand and Fiji through About New Zealand and were fortunate to have a great travel agent, Darin! He organized our entire itinerary with(...)

Gene and Sandy Bauman
Perfect Adventure

Our trip covered several stops in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji over about a month. Each accommodation, shuttle, arranged tour and request was fulfilled beautifully. We couldn't have asked(...)

Patrick Kurz
YOU CAN'T TAKE A BAD PICTURE IN NEW ZEALAND!

We LOVED our New Zealand trip!!!!! It was the most gorgeous place we've ever been...the mountain scenery is amazing....the Rotorua geothermal area was amazing.... the entire country is AMAZING!

Scott Nowak
What a great way to spend our 40th Anniversary! Thank you!!

It was a fantastic vacation to both New Zealand & Australia (Melbourne area). Bekah arranged a self drive tour in NZ with all the tours/hotels to fit into our schedule. Amazing views of the(...)