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Top 8 Things to Do in New Zealand

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Biking in Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.  Photo courtesy MarlboroughNZ

Biking in Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. Photo courtesy MarlboroughNZ

Known for spectacular scenery and natural beauty, New Zealand offers natural wonder, ancient culture, food and wine, beautiful cities, and breathtaking destinations for an endless list of things to do.

Your trip can take you snowboarding down steep powdery slopes, trekking over stunning glaciers, or stepping into a life-sized hobbit hole.

From uncovering the nuances of cuisine at the best foodie destinations such as Auckland and Christchurch to crossing the illustrious landscapes of Marlborough and Waiheke Island, New Zealand will be yours to discover.

1. Discover the Roots and Diversity of New Zealand History

Maori cultural performance in Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Tamaki Maori Village

Maori cultural performance in Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Tamaki Maori Village

Maori heritage is rich with legends and language, traditions and gastronomy that not only highlights the diversity of overall culture but also reinforces the dynamic proportions of the landscape. Across approximately 600 islands, the indigenous people have a deep connection with the land, sea, and the natural environment. Art, history, dance, music, stories, and a deep sense of spiritual connection seep into the contemporary culture of New Zealand with much to explore and appreciate.

Best Places to Visit for Maori Culture: Rotorua | Willowbank Wildlife Reserve | Bay of Islands | Abel Tasman National Park | Okains Bay

Best Time to Visit: March | April | May | September | October

2. Uncover New Zealand’s Specific Flavors

Meal at Aosta in Arrowtown, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Tourism New Zealand / Miles Holden

Meal at Aosta in Arrowtown, New Zealand. Photo courtesy Tourism New Zealand / Miles Holden

New Zealand’s food scene is a growing movement steeped in cultural tradition, local ingredients, and contemporary evolution. Maori heritage combines with prominent European customs with an outstanding connection to homegrown produce and traditional elements. Native herbs, lush forests, fabulous gardens, and an endless selection of fresh seafood play a role as culinary culture has shifted. An emphasis on local ingredients has changed the gastronomic landscape with a new cultural zeitgeist from mountainscape to shoreline.

Best Places to Visit for Food: Auckland | Whanganui | Nelson | Christchurch | Dunedin

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

3. View Natural Power and Wonder

Views from Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Views from Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

New Zealand’s landscape is a breathtaking collection of fiords and glaciers, craggy mountain peaks, and boiling mud pools. The scenery feels like the setting of a fantastical story protected by a combination of contemporary principles and traditional Maori culture. The nation has 14 national parks that reach from the upper tip of the North Island to the bottom waterways of the South Island. Each has its own personality, specific story, and rich history. The variety of national parks across New Zealand promise something for every type of traveler with mystic waterfalls and dazzling beaches, glassy lakes, and exceptional panoramas.

Best National Parks to Visit: Rakiura | Fiordland National Park | Paparoa National Park | Mount Aspiring National Park | Abel Tasman National Park

Best Time to Visit: March | April | September | October

4. Take the Remarkable Trails

Hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

Hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

New Zealand feels like one long stretch of fascinating landscape waiting to be explored. A fantastic network of hiking trails strewn together across the diverse landscapes and regions makes exploring the islands easy, engaging and exciting for all types of travelers. Whether traveling through misted mountains or emerald fiords, along black and white sand beaches or ancient fern forests, the diversity of New Zealand’s scenery only enhances the breathtaking experience of a hike on any number of the country’s 585 moderate hiking trails.

Best Places to Visit for Hiking: Waitawa Walk | Taranaki Falls Trail | Tongariro Alpine Crossing | Abel Tasman Coast Track | Mount Victoria Trails

Best Time to Visit: January | February | March | November | December

5. Revel in the Captivating Wildlife

Yellow-eyed penguin Penguin at Katiki Nature Reserve South Island, New Zealand

Yellow-eyed penguin Penguin at Katiki Nature Reserve South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand is a spectacular destination for rewarding wildlife experiences. Excursions into the isolated islands can give you a glimpse of the rare and exciting animals that evolved far out of touch from the greater world. The most famous of these include the kiwi, yellow-eyed penguins, and whales. Witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat is a thrilling experience, and New Zealand offers the chance for encounters, versus just views, on both the land and the sea.

Best Places to Visit for wildlife: Oamaru | Dunedin | Kakoura | Akaroa | Bay of Islands | Rotorua

Best Time to Visit: September | October | November | January | February

6. Explore the Urban Scenery

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

The cities of New Zealand each have their own unique ambiance that speaks to the charisma of the city itself. With passions for art, music, comedy, coffee, local food, and regional custom, the diverse cities across the North and South islands combine contemporary culture and traditional heritage.  While nature may be the ultimate draw to New Zealand, the cities create a dynamic connection with the surrounding wilderness from scenic coastline to astounding mountain ranges, serene lakes to island borders connecting the plethora of urban lifestyles and outdoor activities.

Best Cities to Visit: Auckland | Wellington | Nelson | Christchurch | Queenstown | Dunedin

Best Time to Visit: September | October | March | April | May

7. Experience the Endless Activity

Kayaking Milford Sound, New Zealand

Kayaking Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand is a paradise for adventurers and thrill-seekers. From kayaking to mountain biking, surfing to snowboarding, the diverse and dynamic activities make both the North and the South islands fantastic destinations. You can sail between distant islands or ride a jet boat up a rushing river, swim with dolphins, or look for wildlife on a quad bike safari. The possibilities for an active adventure around New Zealand are endless, with each new excursion giving you a truly authentic experience.

Best Places to Visit for Activities: Queenstown | Auckland | Kaikoura | Bay of Islands | Fox Glacier National Park

Best Time to Visit: January | February | July | August | October | November

8. Savor the Amazing Wine

Morning on vineyard at Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand

Morning on vineyard at Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand

New Zealand is a wonderland of wineries and vineyards crossing both the North and South islands. With roughly 11 main wine regions in the country divided into even greater sub-regions, you can find a stunning collection of flavors, textures, and aromas. Bright colors, expressive fruits, and an earthy grit translate the beauty of New Zealand into a glass expressing spirit and layers of culture. You can discover the variety of wines based on your preferred flavors or your itinerary, each speaking to your eagerness to explore New Zealand by different means.

Best Places to Visit for Wine: Marlborough | Nelson | Central Otago | Hawke’s Bay | Waikato | Waiheke Island

Best Time to Visit: February | March | April | May | June

More Travel Information & Tips

Pōhutu Geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand. Photo courtesy Te Puia

Pōhutu Geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, Rotorua, in the North Island of New Zealand. Photo courtesy Te Puia

New Zealand’s sharp and diverse landscapes make it the perfect place for any type of traveler whether looking for a family adventure, romantic relaxation, or unique wildlife excursions. The inspiring activities across New Zealand offer delightful surprises and can be reached by any number of transportation options. Look deeper into New Zealand’s wide array of adventures and unique beauty with Zicasso’s New Zealand Travel Guide for helpful tips and information. If you want to plan a trip, you can speak to a New Zealand travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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