Travel: 10 must-do things in New Zealand Going to the land of the Kiwis is pretty exciting for anyone but you must have a list of places to see and things to do already in hand that you don’t want to miss. New Zealand may be a small country but it has lots to offer tourists and those who are looking for some adventure.
1) Skydiving in Queenstown
Queenstown, New Zealand is one of the most renowned places in the world for skydiving and this was on my bucket list. I booked with the NZone Skydive team and they were very efficient and safety is a priority. Companies you book with check the weather and update you if the day is skydiving-friendly and so on. There is a choice of jumping from 9000, 12000 or 15000 feet in tandem skydiving and there’s no age limit. However, if you have health issues, consult a doctor first. But this experience is exhilarating and mind-blowing, to say the least.
When you land at Auckland, you’ll be greeted by creatures from the Lord Of The Rings in the airport. Given that the film series was shot here and the village of Hobbiton at Matamata is thriving still, you should drop by. Bilbo’s house, The Green Dragon Inn, Bag End and more are a delight to see. And don’t forget to have the Girdley Fine Grain, Oatbarton Brew, Frogmorton Ginger Beer and Sackville Cider specially brewed by Southfarthing for The Green Dragon Inn.
3) Rotorua and the pools
One of the first things I was told when I was heading to Rotorua was that the city will smell like rotten eggs. And it does. But this is thanks to the extensive geothermal activity in that area. There are bubbling hot geysers and geothermal mud pools that you can experience here along with the Maori culture.
4) Swim with the dolphins at Akaroa
Just outside Christchurch is Akaroa Harbour which is known for its dolphin experience. The world’s smallest dolphin or the Hector is found here and you get to spend time with them in the beautiful sea. Each group is limited to just 12 so as not to alarm the dolphins so you may need to book in advance. And a prerequisite is that you should know swimming.
5) Bungee jumping at Auckland / Queenstown
Given that it was New Zealander A J Hackett who create the bungee jump, the land of the Kiwis is filled with spots that are perfect for this sport. The Nevis Bungy at Queenstown is the highest bungee jump at 134 metres. So what do you need for this? A lot of courage and perfect medical health.
6) Food and wine-tasting tour at Waiheke
Just off Auckland is Waiheke Island which is home to some great artisan wines and vineyards. Hop onto the ferry
at Auckland and in 40 minutes you can get to exploring the wineries here and indulge in wine-tasting and some yummy fresh food.
7) Farmers’ Markets
If you are in Auckland, you’ll find numerous farmers’ markets that pop up on Saturday or Sunday. La Cigale French Market, Puhoi Farmers’ Market and Parnell Farmers’ Market are some that you can explore. At Christchurch, you can check out Christchurch Farmers’ Market, Saturday Seaside Market and the Riccarton Market. These markets offer some delicious goodies to feast on and buy fresh produce, baked goods, meat, seafood, flowers, honey, cheese, condiments, crafts, etc.
8) The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
When you drive about three hours away from Christchurch, you’ll come to Oamaru which is home to the blue penguin colony. These delightful little blue penguins are can be viewed from a few feet away during the day or night but they are very active at night. These tours sell out like hot cakes so make sure you book well in advance.
New Zealand is a nature lover’s delight and the Fiordland National Park (outside Queenstown) offers you a great wilderness adventure. Hiking, kayaking, fishing, diving, boat cruises, glow worm caves, scenic flights and plenty of walking is what you can expect from here. Milford Sound is a must-see here.
Many years ago, there were 20 sheep to every Kiwi but now it has reduced to six sheep to one Kiwi apparently. Even then, sheep outnumber people in this country and as you travel across the place, you’ll see acres of farms with sheep wandering around. There are sheep shearing experiences you can take part in and you can even stay on a farm if you want the whole experience.