New Zealand’s magnificent natural environment offers visitors an unsurpassed experience, including fourteen diverse national parks.
Monarch Wildlife Cruises, Dunedin.
Surrounded by both wild and glassy ocean, beautiful sounds and spanning lakes, a myriad of water activities await you. Kayak, paddleboard or surf in protected coves or rugged black sand expanses. Take a boat out for whale and dolphin spotting in Kaikoura, go on a fishing trip in Northland or on a sightseeing tour around Milford Sound. Beneath the water is just as magical – you can snorkel and dive in crystal waters with an array of marine life in protected reserves such as the Poor Knights Islands.
Guided Walks New Zealand, www.nzwalks.com
Climb, cycle, hike and camp around New Zealand’s network of excellent trails and sites. Explore the many faces of the barely touched landscape through all of the seasons. Mountain bike and cycle routes exist throughout varying terrains – check out Rotorua for the best backcountry challenges. And don’t forget the humble horse – New Zealand offers some stunning trekking opportunities, so you’ll really feel like you’re in Middle-Earth.
Want to see it all? The best way is to hire a vehicle and road trip, following the selection of well-marked tourist and scenic highways. You can choose from the Twin or Pacific Coast Highways in the North, discover the volcanoes, hot springs and Māori culture on the Thermal Explorer or seek your own adventure by leaving major roads for rural heartland.
New Zealand has more golf courses per head of population than anywhere else in the world – from nine-hole country tracks to world-class layouts designed by the games greatest names. A round on average costs $30 – $40, with top courses asking $65 – $150 (non-NZGA-affiliated). Resort courses like the stunning Kauri Cliffs in the Bay of Islands ask more, but the experience is one you’re unlikely to forget.
NZONE Skydive, Queenstown
IN THE SKY
From the sky you can embark on an adventure. Take a scenic air tour over some of the nation’s iconic features, such as the Southern Alps or West Coast Glaciers. Thrill-seekers can take the leap and skydive from organised flights, or spring off an elevated platform with a bungy jump. Queenstown remains the adrenaline capital and is where you’ll find the highest bungy in New Zealand, and the world’s largest canyon swing.
- Play golf rurally during the week – you’ll often have the fairways to yourself and a round can cost as little as $15-$20.
- Tramp in the shoulder seasons – not only will the tracks be quieter and more serene, but DOC huts are considerably cheaper.
- Seek out free and (sometimes) private natural hot springs in the bush, mountains or public parks. Ask locals, or follow your nose!
Header image: Hukafalls Jet, Taupo.