Updated: Apr 20
New Zealand is a country where you will see things you never knew existed! The country offers an abundance of opportunities to enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed and it is an easy place to simply fall in love with nature. Here is a list of experiences I think most people would enjoy!
1. Book Accommodations At The Milford Sound
For a luxurious and adventurous stay without breaking the bank too much, I recommend staying at the Milford Sound Lodge and booking the Bed & Boat Package for around $1200 per person. This package includes a two night accommodation with your choice of three different views, a full breakfast and dinner, a 2.5 hour cruise on the Sound and a private tour of the sound. The captain makes the effort to make frequent slow downs so you can observe the seals, get wet from the waterfalls and observe the rock and vegetation. When we finally go to New Zealand, this is definitely where we will be staying.
2. Walk Among The Redwoods At Whakarewarewa Forest
Have you ever seen the redwoods? You can only see them in a few parts of the world. New Zealand being one of them, California being the another location with not many more options in-between. They are some of the oldest trees on Earth and have been around since the dinosaurs. The trees themselves are incredible structures - you will feel so small and hopefully gain a new sense of appreciation for Mother Earth walking among these beauties. The park offers a wonderful and "easy" hike through this magical forest where you can soak in this beauty of these ancient trees. You can also find some of the clearest waters here.
3. Fall In Love With Lake Tekapo
Well first things first, take at look at that water! The name Tekapo derives from Maori words Taka (sleeping mat) and Po (night). Finely ground rock in the glacial melted waters give Lake Tekapo a beautifully unique turquoise color. the lake offers some stunning views and offers a peaceful place to relax! I would imagine any type of hiking and or kayaking would also be great! The night sky on a clear night offers a different experience - if you have the opportunity to stay until night fall. There are accommodations at the lake and if you are looking for a more inclusive stay to the area .
4. Witness The Birds At Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most important conservation projects. A hundred and twenty years of farming on this tiny island stripped it 95% of its native animals. In 1984 - 1994 volunteers have planted more than 300,000 trees offering a place of refuge for those animals once more. This is now a sanctuary for endangered and threatened birds and reptiles. There are few places in New Zealand (and perhaps in the world) where you can readily see and walk among so many rare species.
5. Walk Through Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove is a beautiful secluded beach that is accessible by water or by a 45 min hike. As you're hiking you will also stumble upon Stingray and Gemstone Bay which really sounds like the perfect place for a break. Once you get to Cathedral Cove you'll definitely want to explore the inside. Be careful to check the tides because this can only be accomplished during low tide.
6. Visit Hobbiton
Saddle up your pack horse (or car) and ride to Matamata, where you’ll find actual Hobbiton - the full-scale set that was used for The Lord of the Rings movies. It’s a big tourist spot now, but nevertheless one of the top things to do in New Zealand for any fans of the fantasy trilogy.
7. Say Hello To A Supervolcano
The Taupo Volcano lays claim to two of the world’s most violent volcanic eruptions in recent times (geologically speaking), though it’s been quiet for a little while now. Take advantage by exploring Lake Taupo and the incredible scenery that surrounds it!