Active Adventures in New Zealand
New Zealand is an incredibly diverse country, with spectacular and jaw-dropping scenery at every turn. One day you could be ice-climbing on a glacier, the next you could be tasting exquisite wine in a beautiful winery, kayaking with dolphins or discovering Tolkien’s world. The sheer variety of experiences on offer on both the North and South Islands make this a fantastic destination for long once-in-a-lifetime trips as well as fabulous bucket list holidays. At Destination Seekers we have enjoyed what this exceptional country has to offer and would love to share our passion to plan your New Zealand adventure.
Contact our specialist Adventure Designers today to start your journey
Over a third of New Zealand’s population lives in the metropolis that is Auckland, and this is the first place that most visitors will experience. Glittering modern glass towers sit alongside Victorian-era buildings, with the Sky Tower keeping a watchful eye over it all. Explore further and you will discover the leafy suburb of Parnell, presenting travellers with galleries, boutiques and chic cafes. The waterfront is important to Auckland and it’s here that you’ll find some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, many with views of the sparkling waters.
In the far north is the beautiful Bay of Islands where you can take a boat cruise, view dolphins, dive, fish or just relax in the sun. Be sure to visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of New Zealand's most significant historic sites. At the northernmost tip of the country, Cape Reinga, you can watch the seas of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide.
Named so by James Cook, the Bay of Plenty is no less plentiful today than it was then. Around Tauranga are hectares of orchards and gardens producing everything from kiwifruit and citrus fruit to avocados. Alongside the local craft beer and the plethora of fresh seafood, you will know that this is a place where you will dine well. For surfers you will also find spectacular beaches at Mount Maunganui.
Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools, clouds of steam, and natural hot springs perfect for bathing and relaxing in. You can also experience Māori culture, hospitality and food here, for example a hangi feast cooked in the steaming ground. Or you can take a tour of an authentic pre-European village. Around the town are extensive adventure activities, including the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world.
For Tolkien fans, immerse yourself in his world by visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. If surfing is your passion then Raglan is the perfect spot for you, with one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world. Waitomo Caves offer the breath-taking natural beauty of stalactites and stalagmites lit by the blue light of glow-worms.
Located between Auckland and Wellington on New Zealand’s west coast, the Taranaki region, like the whole of New Zealand, is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, families, foodies, and those wanting to indulge in arts and culture. The region is dominated by the awe-inspiring symmetrical volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki in Egmont National Park.
Wellington is a city to discover. Whether it’s street art, sculpture walks along Wellington's waterfront, or learning about New Zealand in the interactive and immersive national museum, Te Papa, you will be happy you ventured here. Ride the iconic Wellington Cable Car for amazing views of the city or relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington's golden-sand inner-city beach on the way to or from the South Island.
The South Island
For culture lovers Nelson is an exceptional destination where you’ll find an array of craftspeople creating traditional, contemporary and Māori art. Visit their studios, explore the weekend craft markets and taste the delicious locally made artisan products. Another option is walking the Abel Tasman track or taking a sea kayaking tour around the coast, spotting seal colonies and little blue penguins bobbing in the water.
New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region, Marlborough is about world famous Sauvignon Blanc, fresh seafood and diverse landscapes. The most spectacular scenery in the region is Marlborough Sounds, where over 900 miles of winding coastline is home to secluded bays, historic sites, marine reserves and precious island sanctuaries, protecting kiwi and other native species.
On the west coast you will discover the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, which are among the most convenient glaciers to visit in the world. It is possible to take easy walks to the foot of both glaciers that pass along ancient river valleys with steep sides bearing gigantic horizontal scars from where the glaciers have retreated and advanced over millennia. If you desire a closer experience with these awesome ice-rivers, consider ice-climbing, guided walks or helicopter trips that land high up on the glacier. These experiences will stay with you forever, and understanding the sheer enormity of these natural wonders is extremely humbling.
Kaikōura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds, in a setting positioned dramatically between the Seaward Kaikōura Range and the Pacific Ocean. The speciality here is marine mammal encounters, from kayaking with dolphins to bost trips spotting Sperm Whales. If you are enthusiastic about birds you can take a bird watching tour to view seabirds, albatross and many more.
Whether you climb or trek beneath Aoraki (Mount Cook), or take a scenic flight over the top, the magic of New Zealand's tallest mountain will stay with you forever. Luckily, you don’t have to be a mountaineer to interact with the stunning scenery; there are various alpine walks beginning near the village.
In the spectacular alps of the South Island you will find Wanaka, which is a marvellous destination and has something to offer everyone. For outdoor enthusiasts, the stunning mountain and lakeside setting make it the perfect location for adventure activities. However, if outdoor activities aren’t for you, or you just want a break, you can stroll through the streets of the beautiful town and be inspired by galleries, stylish shops and cool cafes. Nesrby, Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. From bungee jumping to paragliding, skiing to jetboating, caving to the famous canyon swing, visitors flock here to get their adrenaline pumping. It’s not just about thrills though, and the scenic town offers exceptional food, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.
Globally renowned as a wildlife and eco-tourism destination, the spectacular Otago Peninsula is an area of outstanding biodiversity. In Dunedin you can visit the world’s steepest street, Baldwin Street, in addition to a collection of beautiful heritage buildings such as Larnach Castle, the only historic castle in the country.
Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site consisting of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. Carved by glaciers 100,000 years, you will discover waterfalls cascading hundreds of metres and ancient rainforests clinging to mountains. The area is also perfect for hiking and you will discover three of New Zealand’s ‘great walks’; the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. The most famous of these is the Milford Track, offering breath-taking scenery of mountains, lakes and enormous valleys, right up to the Sutherland Falls, the tallest waterfall in New Zealand.
Christchurch is a city of exploration, where urban regeneration and heritage thrive together. The city is constantly evolving, always giving locals and visitors something new to explore. The city centre is filled with cutting-edge architecture alongside some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand. You will encounter street art, a bustling foodie scene and excellent outdoor spaces.
New Zealand offers visitors an amazing variety of experiences and is one of the most incredible destinations in the world. The information here only scratches the surface of what is on offer to you in this unparalleled destination. Our Adventure Designer is excited to discuss your escape with you in order to create your perfect itinerary.
Please contact Destination Seekers to start planning your holiday