New Zealand Travel
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New Zealand Travel
- Airport – Auckland International Airport (AKL)
- Currency – New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Language – New Zealand English, Māori
- Population – 4.5 million
- GDP – $179 billion (53rd Overall)
Located in the Southwestern Pacific, New Zealand is a unique country that is home to great food, friendly people and beautiful scenery. The best way to experience New Zealand travel is by road trip across the country, making a variety of diverse stops along the way. You can visit the Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula then go skydiving in Lake Taupo! Whatever you choose to do, get ready for a thrilling vacation that will be anything but ordinary.
New Zealand’s weather can be fairly unpredictable, but the following overview should give you a good idea of what to expect. The North has sub-tropical weather during their summer months (December through February), while the South is much colder with temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit due to its proximity to Antarctica. As for the rest of the country, expect mild temperatures following the general rule of thumb of cooler temperatures down South and warmer temperatures up North.
Step 1: Rent a Car!
To make the most out of your trip to New Zealand, be sure to first rent a car. There are car rentals all over Auckland and this will be the most fun way to explore the beautiful country. With consistently changing landscapes and lots of open roads, New Zealand is the perfect place for a road trip!
Scroll down for our top activities. Here’s a clickable summary to skip to an activity of choice:
1) Check Out Auckland
Spend a day or two in Auckland to start off your New Zealand travel. Auckland is full of enriching culture, tree-lined streets, and charming harbors. Visit the iconic Sky Tower, standing at 1,076 feet tall. If you’re the adventurous type be sure to base jump off the tower for the thrill of a lifetime. A SkyJump costs around $225 per person and is sure to get your adrenaline going. In addition to the Sky Tower, make sure to stop by the Auckland Museum on the Domain. This museum is a great spot to embrace the culture of Auckland, see some magnificent views of the harbor, and make your New Zealand travel memorable!
2) Visit Coromandel Peninsula
After a short visit to Auckland, make your way north to the Coromandel Peninsula. Once you’re here take in the beautiful surroundings and visit the Hot Water Beach. Make sure to visit during high or low tide, when the underground hot water springs come up through the sand. At the hot water beach, visitors dig the sand to allow the hot water to form mini pools, or jacuzzis, around them. In addition to its beautiful beaches, the Northland is also known for being the oldest and Northernmost wine region of New Zealand. A trip to the Coromandel Peninsula would not be complete without a wine and cheese tasting. Make your way to any one of the numerous wineries on the peninsula, one of the most highly rated being found at Mercury Bay Estate.
3) Explore Mt. Maunganui
Mt. Maunganui resides on a peninsula to the north-east of Tauranga. If you enjoy hiking or surfing, make time to explore this mountain. Many people choose to walk around the base of Mt. Maunganui, while others choose to hike their way to the top. The walk around the base is a little over two miles long and will take about 40 minutes. If you choose to hike to the summit, there are various paths you can choose to take, some harder than others, but an amazing view all the same. When visiting this area you can also try Paua. Paua is the Maori name given to the three species of New Zealand’s native seafood. Known for its beautiful shell, Paua is used to make unique jewelry in addition to being a delectable treat that you must try when in the area.
4) Lake Taupo
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, check out Lake Taupo and go skydiving. This area, found in the northern part of New Zealand, is known for its great adventure spots and is even considered the skydiving capital of the world. Lake Taupo is the perfect place to skydive, with breathtaking views of both the North and South islands. You can choose to skydive from either 12,000 or 15,000 feet with prices ranging from $250 to $600 depending on the package you choose.
5) Visit Wellington and South Island
Next make your way to New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Wellington is an artsy city right on the water and a perfect place to visit for New Zealand travel. Probably the only thing better than Wellington’s beautiful views are its hip bar scene and delicious brunch culture.
After exploring the city of Wellington, take a ferry to the South Island. The ferry ride is delightful and scenic all the same, and even allows you to bring your car along. The ferry will bring you to Picton, a beautiful little town you can explore by foot. If you go West from Picton you will arrive in Nelson, yet another good spot for wine. Grab a bike and a map and do a wine bike tour, a fun activity where you can go out on your own and visit a multitude of wineries in the area.
6) Check Out Punakaiki and Wanaka
Drive down to Punakaiki to see the ancient pancake rocks. These stacked rocks are a natural wonder that’s worth the visit. After you spend some time in Punakaiki make your way down the west coast to Franz Josef. Franz Josef is the perfect place to do a guided glacier climb as well as just explore the world heritage area.
Following Franz Josef, make a stop at the Southern Alps Mt. Aspiring National Park for a hike or two before ending up in Wanaka. Wanaka is a beautiful resort town on New Zealand’s Southern Island, making it a great place to spend a few days. While in Wanaka check out Rob Roy Glacier for another cool glacier hike, or simply hike Mt. Roy for incredible views of Lake Wanaka. After your hike, relax at Kai Whaka Pai with a Wanaka Brewski and a beautiful landscape. If you’re a beer connoisseur be sure to check out the Wanaka Brewery just outside of town. A great way to end your evening in Wanaka is with an upscale dinner at Botswana Butchery. Located right off of Ardmore St., this steakhouse is a must if you’re in the area. After dinner, make your way to Woody’s Pool Bar or Barluga, two bars located directly below the restaurant.
Choose the scenic route, and take Cardrona Valley Road to get to Queenstown. The road is long and narrow and surrounded by the beautiful Cardrona Mountain range. On your way from Wanaka to Queenstown make a stop in Arrowtown, a picturesque little village sitting alongside the Arrow River. Arrowtown is full of quaint bed and breakfasts and some great food. After your visit to Arrowtown, officially make your way to the city of Queenstown. Go bungee jumping off the first bungee site in the world, the Kawarau Bridge. Typically, a bungee jump experience for an adult will cost around $195. Spend the rest of your time exploring Queenstown and all the amazing experiences it has to offer during your New Zealand travel.
New Zealand Cuisine
The cuisine of New Zealand is very seasonal and focuses on local ingredients. New Zealand is known for its seafood, as well as its meats, wines, and beer. The indigenous Maori of New Zealand have their own cuisine which plays a large role in New Zealand cuisine as a whole. Make sure to stop at a traditional Maori meeting house during your visit and try some Maori specialties such as the boil-up (pork, potatoes, kumara, and dumplings) as well as pork and puha. Overall, the food in New Zealand is pretty much good everywhere so you can’t go wrong!
If you have extra time, make your way down to Fiordland. Fiordland is an extraordinary place with spectacular scenery. Fiordland is a World Heritage Site and a great place to do some exploring. Do a boat ride of the Sound, go on one of the numerous walking trails, or take a day trip to Te Anau, a small town full of beauty and charm.