New Zealand is a small country with a lot packed into it, from extreme sports and fabulous food and wine, to stunning bays and spectacular glaciers. It would take years of travel to truly experience all that New Zealand has to offer, but for those who don’t have an infinite amount of time, here are five of the best things to do in New Zealand.
1. Visit the Geothermal Fields in Rotorua
Bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and hot thermal springs are just some of the incredible naturally occurring phenomenon in the geothermal fields near Rotorua. Visitors enter the thermal parks at their own risk but the parks are checked daily for signs of cracks and change to minimise danger. Steaming clouds of sulphur scented gas emerge from vents in the ground with crater lakes, colourful silica terraces and hot waterfalls all visible from the walking tracks. The thermal fields in New Zealand are some of the most active in the world and a must see for every visitor to New Zealand. Rotorua is a popular tourist destination and has an abundance Hotels and Rotorua accommodation options.
2. Extreme Sports
New Zealand is the home of adventure sports, and if you think you’ve done it all, you’re wrong! Even those who have travelled the world will find something new to try in New Zealand. Zorbing, rolling down a hill encased in a giant inflatable hill, was invented in New Zealand and can be done in either a wet or dry ball, down a choice of rolling hills or winding tracks. The Shweeb is another New Zealand invention designed to get the blood pumping. Pedal powered capsules hanging from a monorail, the Shweeb takes you along a 200m track racing the clock and friends, whizzing through the spectacular Rotorua landscape. Other adventure sports are too numerous to list but include heli skiing, sky diving, river surfing, bungy jumping, giant swing and many more. Although there are adventure sports throughout New Zealand, both Rotorua and Queenstown are heaven for thrill seekers. There are a good range of hotels in Rotorua and Queenstown accommodation is also plentiful.
3. Visit Waitomo Caves
Another of New Zealand’s natural wonders are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The Glow Worm is unique to New Zealand and seeing thousands of these tiny creatures illuminating the stunning underground limestone caves is a sight to behold. Visitors can either choose to view the caves by boat or try a spot of black water rafting – donning a wetsuit and an inflatable inner tube and floating through along the underground river through the caverns. Only two hours from Rotorua, the Waitomo Caves can be a day trip organised from your Rotorua accommodation or a stopover on its own.
4. See Glacier Country
The twin glaciers Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier, on the South Island’s west coast, are wonders of nature only found in a few places on the planet. The glaciers can be explored by foot on either a guided tour or at your leisure on a self guided tour. The walks take you past spectacular ice formations and into pure blue ice caves for an experience you’re unlikely to forget. Other activities in the area include mountain biking through the surrounding rainforests, white water rafting, horse treks, hot pools, kayaking and even helicopter scenic flights. Accommodation in the area caters for all budgets and all types of travellers.
5. Visit the Bay of Islands
The pristine Bay of Islands is everything a nature lover yearns for, crystal clear water inhabited by rare varieties of seals and aquatic birds, spectacular coastline providing many a photo opportunity and stunning forests boasting ancient Kauris and an abundance of native wildlife. The Bay of Islands can be enjoyed either by water or on land with a variety of activities available for both. The water and its inhabitants can be explored on a cruise or a chartered boat or if you like to be closer to the action, a kayak might be more your style. Bushwalkers will love the myriad of tracks and campsites winding through the surrounding bushland and may even be lucky enough to spot some of the rare and unique species of bird living in the area. The Bay of Islands area has an extensive range of accommodation from campsites and backpackers right through to resorts and hotels.