What does it take for a travel trip to New Zealand to be joyful and fun? Read along and find out how to make the best out of your trip!
From birdwatching to flower and plant searching, nature has been and continue to be home and shelter to many wonderful happenings. This is especially true for New Zealand. New Zealand is famous for its vast natural resources: fish and sea life, animals and vegetation. The vast selection of reserves, parks, recreational zones, beaches, tracks and walks, all make New Zealand one of the most visited places to go for a holiday vacation. There will certainly be times when you will want to have a breath of fresh air, enjoy the views over the mountains, the sea and the cliffs.
Sometimes you will get impressed by the natural beauty of flowers, plants and berries, animals and other things natural. You may find yourself in the middle of a meadow, enjoying the grass, herbs and plants of various types. Or you might want to go hunting and catch a prey. It’s up to you to decide what you are going to do outside. Whether you are a flower lover, a botanist, a fisherman, or an occasional traveler you will certainly find something natural that is close to your heart.
Sightseeing is an important aspect of New Zealand culture and tradition. There are many places of interest to visit in New Zealand. From Auckland and Hamilton botanic gardens and museums to waterfalls and geothermal pools, from spas and saunas to swimming pools and bush walking, from governmental and parliamentary buildings (Beehive in Wellington, Old Government House in Auckland CBD) to wharfs, bridges and skytowers, all these are present in New Zealand.
The Auckland SkyTower is the best place to observe panoramic views over the country’s largest city. The SkyTower gives the views over to the Rangitoto Volcano, North Shore, West Mountains, South regions, East Coromandel and some of urban mountains such as three kings mountain, mount albert, mount eden, one tree hill and others.
Among the waterfalls, most common are Karakariki Waterfall, Wairēinga / Bridal Veil Falls, Pokeno Waterfall, and Oakley Creek Waterfall in the North Island. In the South Island there are Falls Creek Waterfall, Bowen Falls, Small Drinda Waterfall Ross Creek, Diana Falls.
Among geothermal pools and spas, the best known are Grandeur Thermal Spa Resort near lake Taupo, Secret Spot Hot Tubs Rotorua and Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort near Lake Rotorua (a town set on its namesake lake, renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture). There are also Parakai Springs Lodge, The Lost Spring and Waiwera Thermal Resort & Spa (now closed) up North, all in the North Island.
All in all, there are plenty of places to visit for sightseeing, not only limited to natural reserves but also many other urban sites.
National heritage sites include things like reserves, parks, beaches, cliffs and mountains, sites with increased geothermal activity, sites of Maori culture, museums, art galleries, historic places and many more. National heritage is all about visiting those places, enjoying the cultural, historic and natural aspects of the visit.
The following places were declared the world heritage sites according to Unesco:
- Te Wahipounamu – The 4 national parks have wild and majestic area featuring rare flora & fauna, fjords, lakes & mountains. The kea – the only alpine parrot in the world, as well as takahe – a flightless bird live here in the park.
- Tongariro National Park – The 4th National Park in the world, this protected area is important for its culture and its nature. The mountains are culturally and religiously significant for Maori people. Here you will enjoy active and extinct volcanoes, and some spectacular landscapes
- Subantarctic Islands – These include five island groups – Auckland Island / Motu Maha, the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, and Campbell Island. The islands are very biodiverse with dense wildlife populations. Penguins and seabirds are the most notable examples of invertebrates populating these islands.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Wellington) is a national heritage too. It is New Zealand’s primary museum where you can explore native and colonial culture and natural history.
You will learn things like how the New Zealand Islands formed in periods from Pangaea to today, how the multiple layers of crust, the earth atmosphere below New Zealand’s surface, were formed. You will also learn a lot about national plants, Maori culture and arts.
In New Zealand there are many sites that attract tourists. Among them are popular theme parks such as Rainbows End in Auckland or Rotorua’s Velocity Valley Adventure Park where you experience bungy jumping, roller-coaster rides and activities such as free-fall rides, log flumes and others.
Other attractions include fishing, skydiving and bush walking, snorkeling, diving, camping and many more.
If you are looking for food, New Zealand has a myriad of interesting places to visit. Food festivals and fish markets, all organize events particularly for those interested in food tasting, buying fresh and organic vegetables, or simply enjoying the crowds in the middle of food stalls and shops.
One of the most cherished fish markets is the Auckland Fish Market – Indoor-outdoor hub. There you will find stalls with fresh fish and counters serving seafood dishes.
The market is open daily, from 11am to 7pm or 9pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. There you will find fish such as Snapper, John Dory, Yellowfin Tuna, Hoki, King Fish, Salmon, Oysters and Mussels, to name a few.
Your companions, or your company, are your valuable assets, parts of your life. You can certainly go visit romantic places with your partner. Or, if you are not for romantics, you might go grab your friends and explore the countryside or go sightseeing.
Your companions do not necessarily need to consist of just your partner and friends, you can certainly find and get acquainted with people along the way as you travel too. Grab your dog and you will get another valuable companion, which will be happy to go with you, whether you are up to beach walking, hiking, tramping or other kind of walking activities.
Culture and Tradition
Culture and tradition form an integral part of every nation. New Zealand is no exception. Here is a list of cultural aspects of traveling to New Zealand:
- Haka dance – A traditional Māori war group dance, now widely used by sports teams as a challenge and by schools as a tribute or honour. The All Blacks rugby team performs Haka dance every time before the game starts. Most Hakas involve vigorous movements and incorporates chants.
- Kiwi – not only a fruit but a National bird. Flightless bird with a long beak which uses strong legs to prey during night time.
- Silver fern – A national plant, a species of medium-sized tree fern. Often displayed as a symbol on New Zealand passports, post stamps and other documents.
- Kōwhai – National flower, an evergreen tree, producing bright yellow flowers in spring.
- The All Blacks – The country’s national rugby union team – three times world champions, and the country’s best known sports team both locally and internationally.
- Pavlova – a creamy cake with a crisp crust and soft, marshmallow centre.
Since New Zealand is a multi-national country, there will be many festivals celebrating traditions of locals all around New Zealand.
Distinctive from the rest is the Auckland Lantern Festival, which is a widely cherished event in New Zealand. It’s part of a Chinese tradition. It welcomes the new year with festivities and comprises many fun activities. It is one of the best events that is sought-after by families. It occurs every 15 days into the first month of the Lunar calendar in between February and March.
There will be food as well of various cuisines, including Chinese dumplings, noodles, fried rice and others.
Learning and Exploring
Want to learn more about the history, geography, language, people and culture? Travel is your best friend in pursuing those endeavors. In New Zealand there are many opportunities awaiting for you. Here you could learn the language by taking an English language course, or you could learn fishing with instructors by going on a fishing charter to the open ocean. Woodworking and arts are also good opportunities to learn and engage with Maori people. Maori carvings and drawings are well known for their versatility and uniqueness. You can explore them in places such as Sanders Reserve, Achilles Point or OneHunga Drive, . Those involve Maori carvings on trees and graffities on walls.
Professional Photography and Filmmaking
In New Zealand there are many sites with panoramic views onto the cities, towns, lakes, waterfalls, terrain and what not. New Zealand is one of the most loved places for professional photography. Here, The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit series were filmed. Because of the popularity of New Zealand in film industry, it makes it one of the best places to visit for fans of certain TV series and movies.
Overall, there are a great number of things to occupy yourself while you are on your trip to New Zealand. It is a wonderful place worth exploring and visiting. Festivals, tourist attractions, national heritage sites will never leave you bored. They will further ignite your interest in the country.