New Zealand is the fifth largest wholly island country on earth. It’s a diverse country with impressive nature, mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, fiords, lakes and beaches. The home of adventure tourism is jam-packed with things to do.
New Zealand is an ideal holiday destination all year round! The hardest part of planning your trip will be deciding which attractions to choose. Summer months (December – February) are outdoor lover’s paradise. From mid-November to December, the beauty of Lake Tekapo is enhanced by a colourful display of Lupins. In autumn season (March – May) the leaves change colour, painting mountain forests, and the first dustings of snow arrive on the hills. From March to October the activity of Southern Lights is optimal. In winter (June – August) the trails are quiet and there are perfect ski conditions in the snow-capped mountains rising above turquoise lakes. Penguin breeding season lasts from August to February but December is the best month to view them. In spring (September – November) you can expect the fruit trees blooming and plenty of lambs jumping in the lush green fields. From September to January you can observe the richest concentration of sea life.
New Zealand has some of the most challenging and spectacular caving systems in the world. Exploring the world renowned Glowworm Caves is a truly unique experience that should be on your bucket list! From November to March you can walk or float through the spectacular Waitomo Caves, known for its population of Arachnocampa luminosa - tiny insects that radiate their unmistakable luminescent light. This species is found exclusively in New Zealand. There are organized tours that include a boat ride through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. The boat takes you onto the underground Waitomo River where the only light comes from the glowworms creating a sky of living lights.
The Glowworm Grotto is part of the Waitomo Caves system that includes the Ruakuri Cave and the Aranui Cave, with several small underground lakes.
Photo Credit: 2il org, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
How to get there:
The cheapest flights are usually available for October – November and March – May. Take a look at the best flight deals to New Zealand we published:
- Flights from Shenzhen to Auckland for $351 >>
- Flights from Frankfurt to Auckland for €587 >>
- 2 in 1: Flights from London to Auckland and Manila for £637 >>
- Flights from London to Auckland for £513 >>
- 2 in 1: Flights from London to Auckland and Guangzhou for £518 >>
- Flights from Guangzhou to Auckland for $435 >>
In Wellington, we’d recommend you to book 4* Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers for only €28/£255/US$30 per night! Rooms at this hotel are well-appointed and offer wireless internet access, heating and a kitchenette.
While in Christchurch, we encourage you to consider staying at 3* Haka Lodge for only €33/£29/US$26 per night! This property is situated in Christchurch and features complimentary wireless internet.
What to do:
Everywhere you go in New Zealand, there are cycling and walking trails leading off through native forests to picturesque towns, waterfalls, lakes, spectacular mountain views and dramatic volcanic vistas.
Explore unique volcanic features, geysers and mud pools of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua. Enjoy warm sunny subtropical climate and relax in a Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel. Tutea Falls on the Kaituna River in Rotorua is the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world (23 feet). Tongariro River in Lake Taupo is also a popular rafting spot. In Taupo you can also go trout fishing. Bay of Islands has some of the best opportunities for dolphin and whale watching, relaxing on the beach, swimming, fishing and sailing. Go hiking in the Tongariro National Park and hit the ski slopes at the active stratovolcano Ruapehu. You can also choose scuba diving or snorkelling down to the sunken Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay. The Waitakere Ranges have everything required for a great canyoning experience. See the Maori show, watch the rugby game and enjoy the cultural activities in Wellington and Auckland.
The Catlins and the Otago Peninsula are good places to see penguins, seals, albatrosses and sea lions in their natural habitat. Queenstown is an adrenalin and adventure capital of the world, where you can ski, jet-boat, zip-line, parachute, or experience a thrilling ride along the Shotover River. A 500 feet bungy jump is a must-do if you’re visiting Queenstown but it isn’t for the faint-hearted! You can also skydive in various locations, including Lake Wanaka, Queenstown and Lake Taupo. Enjoy guided underground adventures in Nelson – home to southern hemisphere’s deepest sinkhole. Wine tours in Marlborough, Blenheim and Picton showcase the best in fine wines made at top vineyards in New Zealand. Wanaka is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park, with beautiul lakes where you can go hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, canyoning or rock climbing. Westland National Park is home of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers – be sure to crawl through the glacier tunnels! Aoraki Mount Cook National Park offers lots of hiking opportunities around New Zealand’s highest peak and a number of glacial lakes. In Abel Tasman National Park you can go kayaking, enjoy the golden sand beaches with turquoise water or walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. South Island is also a motorcyclist’s mecca.
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