The truth is, if you’re looking to visit a country that has it all, your first destination should be the capital of adventure: New Zealand. Even if you take a year to tour NZ, you might not be able to see everything there is to see and will need to book multiple trips with your travel advisor to take in all of this stunningly beautiful and culturally rich country.
Whether you’re coming to New Zealand for the first time or are on a returning trip, you will love exploring Middle Earth. It’s exciting to think about all the scenic delights you will enjoy here, and it’s only natural that we offer you a glimpse of what a well-rounded New Zealand tour could potentially look like for you.
With that said, keep reading to explore B.A.G. Travel’s adventure and cultural overview of the land of the long white cloud:
1. Whale Watching In Kaikoura
When you’re in NZ, you can spot whales from anywhere. Besides Auckland’s scenic Hauraki Gulf, you can also spot these beautiful creatures at Kaikoura. Kaikoura is located on the east coast of the South Island and is a unique destination since it’s one of the few places where you can see sperm whales easily.
You can see sperm whales all year round in this location, and these large, toothed whales can grow to more than 15 meters in length. Besides sperm whales, you can also see humpback whales from June to July and Orca (killer whales) from December to March. The area will also offer you glorious sightings of different dolphin species.
2. Sea Kayaking
One of the best ways to explore New Zealand is through sea kayaking. In NZ, wherever there’s a coastal town, kayaking is also present. The good thing is Kiwis love Kayaks, too, so whether you settle on group getaways or a couple’s excursion, you’re sure to meet new people and enjoy the experience.
Sea kayaking is a great way to view the country’s rugged cliffs, marine wildlife, and pristine beaches. Some of the best sea kayaking locations in the country include Kaikoura, where you can race fur seals or interact with Albatross, Blue Penguins, and dolphins.
Other locations include Abel Tasman National Park, Milford Sound, Goat Island, Queen Charlotte Sound, Bay of Islands, and Cathedral Cove.
3. All Blacks Experience
Whether a casual rugby fan or a fanatic, you will enjoy the All Blacks Experience. The All Blacks are New Zealand’s famous national team, and the experience is a guided tour that showcases the rugby team and all the country’s national teams in Blacks via technology and innovation. This interactive and sensory experience will allow you to celebrate the country’s rugby heritage, culture, and achievements.
Movie buffs unite! If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, you might want to know that the movies were filmed in NZ. This is one of the reasons why the country is known as Middle Earth. After the movies were filmed, someone thought it was a good idea to leave the set as it was, and it has become a big tourist attraction in the country.
Here, you can experience The Shire, Hobbit Holes, also known as Hobbiton houses, and enjoy a cool drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Hobbiton is genuinely enchanting with its attention to detail, and you will learn a lot about what went into making the movies.
5. Te Puia
Te Puia is home to the Whakarewarewa geothermal valley. Here, you will find the world-renowned Pohutu Geyser that erupts thirty meters high daily. There are also boiling waters and mud pools that people still use to cook in.
Te Puia is a unique destination that will allow you to experience guidance in the geothermal valley from guides that have links to Rotorua’s first hosts. Enjoy the stories these guides will tell you about this location and experience Māori culture as you walk past the Te Heketanga a Rangi – a collection of twelve carvings as they reach towards the sky!
Other than the Pohutu geyser, you will also be able to enjoy performances depicting Maori culture, see kiwi, and have access to the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving. All these fantastic sights are part of Te Puia, which also serves as a guardian or kaitiaki of Māori culture for future generations.
6. Glowworm Caves
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves will offer you a distinctly magical experience that you cannot enjoy anywhere else on the planet. The Glowworm caves are some of the country’s top natural attractions.
Enjoy a boat ride through these caves while you glide under the bioluminescent glow of thousands of glowworms and take your place in more right inside more than 130 years of natural and cultural history. The glowworm caves will introduce you to a 30-million-year world stuck between the past and the present.
This galaxy of breathing lights is made up of millions of Arachnocampa Luminosa, also known as glowworms, only found in New Zealand. The Waitomo Glowworm tours have two levels. There’s the lower level with glowworms, Cathedral, and stream passages; then there’s the upper level that’s dry but littered with stunning cave formations.
7. Te Wahipouanmu
Te Wahipouamu, located in the South West of NZ, is one of the world’s most excellent natural areas. The site is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and for a good reason. Locals refer to this site as Te Wai Pounamu. It is a 2.6 million-hectare location that makes up a tenth of the country’s total land area.
Te Wahipouanmu consists of four national parks, including Aoraki/Mt. Cook, Mount Aspiring, Westland Tai Poutini, and Fiordland. The area’s landscape has been influenced by rocky coasts, the transformation of glaciations into fjords, lakes, waterfalls, and towering cliffs.
800-year-old podocarps and southern beech embrace two-thirds of this site. The Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, and the endangered takahe have made this park their home. One of the most popular sites that make up Te Wahipounamu is Milford Sound which attracts hundreds of tourists annually. Te Wahipounamu is famous for having the best characterization of flora and fauna from Gondwana.
The area covered by this site is culturally important and sacred for Ngai Tahu. The valleys and mountains are considered resting places for the gods. The area’s landscape is a vital cultural identifier for the Ngai Tahu. Te Wahipounamu means “Place of Greenstone” in the Māori language.
8. Auckland Sightseeing
Auckland is New Zealand’s vibrant economic hub and is also known as the “City of Sails.” Nearly NZ’s population calls Auckland home, and the city spreads from Manukau Harbour and Waitemata Harbour.
For most visitors to New Zealand, Auckland serves as the gateway to the rest of the country.
While this city is much overlooked, it has much to offer in terms of outdoor and cultural attractions, so it would make sense that this is the first point of exploration. The museums, art galleries, and monuments in Auckland are some of the best in the country. Other things to do in Auckland include exploring the city’s fine beaches, taking in its suburban coastline, and enjoying its fascinating national park scenery.
Some of the top tourist attractions in the city include the Sky Tower Auckland, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Art Gallery, Waiheke Island, One Tree Hill, and Howick Historical Village.
9. Queenstown Sightseeing
Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital and is located at the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu. Humongous mountain peaks flank Queenstown and the city has been taken over by tourism and offers numerous opportunities for tourists and visitors to satisfy their thrill-seeking cravings.
Queenstown is famous all over the world for bungee jumping and also offers a plethora of things to do, like jet boating, zip lining, paragliding, parachuting, rafting, hot air ballooning, and so much more! During the winter, Queenstown transforms into a snowboarding and skiing hub and is home to two of New Zealand’s favorite ski destinations: Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Some top-rated sightseeing attractions in Queenstown include Lake Wakatipu, cruising on TSS Earnslaw, Skippers Canyon, and Lake Wanaka.
By now, you know that New Zealand is truly a beautiful country with lots of offerings and things to do. It truly deserves to be called the Capital of Adventure!
The only thing left for you to do is to ensure you have the best travel insurance and expedited passport (via B.A.G. Travel). The best time to visit New Zealand is December to March, during the summer months. During this time, you should expect long sunny days with temps ranging from 61°F to 75°F.