AUSTRALASIA TRAVEL

New Zealand Travel Tips: Best things to do in New Zealand

New Zealand has to be one of my favourite places in the world after travelling around the south and north island last summer I feel like I’ve got lots of New Zealand travel tips to give away. It is a country when no single day is the same and every corner you turn something else manages to take your breath away. And it’s a favourite among tourists too… it’s a country to opposites, calm relaxed bays, alongside bungy jumping in to a canyon, weather that varies from hour to hour, and food so indulgent alongside juice bars and health retreats. Here is a list of my recommended best things to do in New Zealand.

Most people that travel to New Zealand aren’t after the beaches and sun. Let’s be honest they are after the nature and the beauty of the country, but also the adrenaline! Whether that activity is skydiving 15,000ft, hiking, luging or even white water rafting you are sure to find an abundance of activities for any type of adrenaline.

With its sweeping landscapes, adrenalin activities, and wilderness experiences it’s got to be one of the best countries in the world. If you want to find read more about my recommended places to visit in New Zealand I’ve popped a post together….

 

New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

  1. Bungy Jump in Taupo
  2. Sailing in the Bay of Islands
  3. Hell’s Gate
  4. Discover Maori Culture at the Tamaki Cultural Experience
  5. A Winery Tour in Nelson
  6. Whangarei Falls
  7. Hobbiton
  8. White Water Rafting on the Tongariro River
  9. Puzzling World
  10. Hot Thermal Springs in Rotorua
  11. Polynesia Spa
  12. Auckland’s Sky Walk

 

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New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

Bungy Jump in Taupo

Created in New Zealand, the bungy jump is a favourite amongst travellers to the country. The best places to do it is above the Waikato River. For centuries the people of Vanuatu have been leaping from tall towers with vine ropes attached to their ankles, but in the 1980′s commercial bungy jumping was developed by a group of Kiwi’s and the rest is history… So fancy a 47 meters high jump above the inviting waters of the Waikato River below? This is THE place to jump!

Sailing in the Bay of Islands

Located in the north island, the Bay of Islands is close to the northern tip of the country and is known for its world class sailing and a collection of over 140 islands. The Bay of Islands is known in New Zealand as being the paradise region where you can visit little beaches, eat ice ream, sunbathe, see dolphins and go cruising around the islands. A lot of people say in summer it is like heaven of earth! It is a subtropical micro-region known for it’s stunning beauty and history and it’s paradise for those that love beaches and water activities. The area encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique of towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. With a coastline sporting four villages, including the charming town of Russell. When I was there last spring it was still quite cold so we didn’t much but we did take a boat trip around the islands and stopped off on one island for a picnic. We also saw dolphins following the boat around the island.

 

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New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

Hell’s Gate

The Hell’s Gate experience includes a walking tour which you can do yourself by following the map, or join a guided tour. The walk is a 2.5km natural geothermal walk past boiling mud, hot water pools in excess of 100 degrees centigrade, Kakahi Falls, the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere, a mud volcano, sulphur fumaroles and a sulphur lake where you can touch the silky hot water and geothermal mud. Each mud bath contains in excess of 80 kgs of geothermal muds found in the local area of Rotorua. Before I dipped in to the pool I was told to carefully smooth the mud over my skin in order to benefit from the mud whilst I was in the pool. So obviously I started smearing it up my arms and over my face, quite literally everywhere, as I was eager to see if this stuff actually did anything. The mud was quite sloppy and I felt like I had jumped in to a pool of s**t, but it smelt quite nice and actually relaxed me. There is something odd about sitting in a pool of mud covered from head to toe, but it really is quite relaxing!

Annoyingly as I could have sat there all day, you are only allowed to stay in the mud bath for 20 minutes, and then have to rinse off the mud in the cold shower next to the mud pool. The difference is certainly an experience in itself however I was told the cold shower helps to restore blood circulation to normal, before you go on to relax in the sulphur filled pools.

Discover Maori Culture at the Tamaki Cultural Experience

There are many cultural experiences around the world but this one is simply one of the best. They don’t do it for the money and instead pride themselves on their culture and want to educate people to the world both past and present to their wonderful culture. The Tamaki village experience is an incredible evening out with friends as they talk to you about their traditions, get you involved with the cookin and then serve you up an amazing buffet meal. They love to sharing their culture and the Tamaki Village experience is the BEST cultural experience I have had.

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New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

A Winery Tour in Nelson

Hawke’s Bay is the usual place for a winery tour but in recent years Nelson has also become a hit with tourists wanting to taste the Malborough wine. It is one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions and there is an abundance of wineries in the area. If you feel adventurous why not hire bikes and visit a few in a day… just be careful about drink biking!

Whangarei Falls

The 24 metre high Whangarei Falls is known as the most photogenic waterfall in all of New Zealand. Because of its ease of access, picturesque bush setting, and guaranteed 365 days per year flow, it is a must see if you are in the Whangarei area.This spot makes for a good photo opportunity and also a good rest stop if you’ve been on the road a while… Sit back and relax to the sound of the water hitting the rocks below.

Hobbiton

I am an out and proud Lord of the Rings geek and I have watched the films too many times to count on my hands. I love the three films and the new Hobbit film franchise that’s been released over the past two years. And whilst I left Katie irritated as I quoted various quotes from the films it was a great day! This place was my favourite, throughout the whole trip I was looking forward to visiting Hobbiton and despite the weather we had such a fun day. You arrive on coach and get delivered to the Hobbiton village with your tour leader. They then lead you around the village, telling you where best to get photos and they also let you go in to some of the hobbit holes. It is such a fun day out whether you are a LOTR fan or not! 

Dotted across the flowing the hills were perfectly placed brightly coloured doors embedded in to the hills, with small gates and shed like features. The circular doors and the little windows perfectly represented the LOTR films and outside each of the hobbit holes were items that represented the inhabitants of its hole. From wooden wheelbarrows to pegs and washing lines, the fronts of the houses were decorated with all things Hobbits.

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New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

White Water Rafting on the Tongariro River

If you’re after a real wilderness experience, then go White Water Rafting on The Tongariro River. It’s one of New Zealand’s most famous rivers. It is also pretty spectacular and in between conquering each rapid, you will be witness to ancient beech forests, rainbow trout swimming upstream, breathtaking gorges, limestone and volcanic cliffs, and water so clean and fresh you could drink it.

Puzzling World

Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is a world-unique attraction with the theme of puzzling eccentricity! We decided to visit this unique place to take some amazing photos of the crazy buildings and toilets, the Illusion Rooms and the Great Maze, the world’s first ‘modern-styled’ maze, which is a fascinating challenge for everyone. This remarkable attraction has entertained and amazed visitors for over 40 years and is apparently one of the most photographed places in all of New Zealand. It’s located in the heart of the breath-taking Southern Lakes region of the South Island of New Zealand.

As you enter you are immediately struck by the Leaning Tower of Wanaka and the crazy architecture of the four eccentric Tumbling Towers. The tower was been pulled out of the ground and is balanced on one corner at an unbelievable 53 degrees! The Leaning Tower of Pisa only leans six degrees. So they’ve already beat that record! The next exhibition is The Great Maze, which is full of 1.5km of passages so allow 30 minutes to one hour to get round the maze. It took me 34 minutes to get round he entire maze and reach each of the four coloured towers. However there are apparently emergency doors for those with limited time, patience or energy!

 

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New Zealand Travel Tips

My top 12 places to visit in New Zealand

Hot Thermal Springs in Rotorua

When you visit Rotorua really take your time and take advantage of the thermal experiences everywhere. The steam even appears in the pavements and there are geysers fields, mud pools, fumaroles and hot springs. This thermal activity makes itself known in every corner of the city, and is the reason for the area’s famed sulphur scent. And one of the best thermal experiences you can have is at the world renowned Polynesian Spa, voted as a world top 10 spa – it is a wonderland of relaxation. Also head to Hells Gate for a real mud spa!

Polynesia Spa

Overlooking Lake Rotorua, Polynesian Spa has a huge variety of hot mineral spring pools, as well as tempting spa therapies at the Lake Spa Retreat. If you want to chill out then the Polynesian Spa is the place for you! Now, being a backpacker I am constantly on the go, always with my backpack on and trekking somewhere or other. But when it comes to relaxing and spare days I am always adamant that you must take advantage of what is around you and take the time to chill out. I believe that spa days are that retreat for a lot of travellers and for me the Polynesian Spa was the perfect location!

On the site there is a section called adult spa pools which consist of seven hot mineral pools with views across the lake. The pools are fed with hot mineral water from two different springs in Rotorua so none of that excessive amount of chlorine smell every time you jump in the water. Three of the polls range in temperature from 36 to 40 degrees, with water flowing from one pool to the next. There is one large deeper pool at 38 degrees and there are also the three Priest Spa pools which range from 39 to 42 degrees and contain Radium hot spring water, known for its therapeutic properties. The Priest Spa was named after a Catholic priest, who in the late 1800’s gained great relief from arthritis when bathing in the hot springs.

Auckland’s Sky Walk

Hit up the Auckland skyline with only a safety harness attaching you to the tower… This tourist attraction is a great for anyone visiting Auckland. The one meter wide platform with no handrails includes a walk around the 360 degrees of the tower and is suspended 192 meters above the ground…with nothing but air on either side of you. You will need some balls for this one. People also jump from the tower so if this doesn’t take your fancy and you go for Afternoon Tea instead be prepared to see a persons face appear in front of you every 20 minutes.

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