Welcome to New Zealand
Frequently topping the list of the best places to travel, New Zealand, sometimes called “the land of the long, white cloud” is brimming with life—plant, marine, animal, and human. Featuring a shocking diversity of landscapes in a small space (roughly the size of California), from sunny beaches with dramatic features to snow-capped volcanoes to lush, dense forests to fjords and rocky, bluffs. The South Island is a gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, but the North Island also offers its own draws, from Auckland’s cosmopolitan culture to the Bay of Islands stunning beaches. There are so many things to do in New Zealand, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to explore. You won’t be disappointed!
What to Do in New Zealand
Coromandel Peninsula & the Bay of IslandsThere are so many stunning things to do in New Zealand, it’s hard to narrow it down. But beach lovers will want to make these two North Island areas a priority in their travel plans. The Bay of Islands is at the country’s northern tip and boasts a subtropical climate and over 100 “islets,” along coastal beauty, charming beach towns, and some of the New Zealand’s most interesting historical landmarks. Here, you’ll live the beach life where watersports and beach time make for long, lovely days. The Coromandel Peninsula is close enough to Auckland to get to easily, and boasts some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, magical forests, and scenic stretches. Make a long weekend of it on a North Island tour or set up camp for a longer visit and explore every corner of this coastal gem.
Kia Ora – Embrace Maori Culture
Like all Polynesian islands, New Zealand boasts a rich cultural history and modern Maori traditions that have shaped the country’s unique identity. There are many ways to respectfully engage with Maori culture, from museums in the major cities to visits to a marae with an organized tour. You and your family may want to learn about the language, watch traditional carving demonstrations, or take in the fascinating stories and myths that have become part of the fabric of New Zealand’s national ethos. Just be sure to take the time to find reputable institutions and guides, as an unexpected arrival at a Maori meeting house or ceremony can be seen as disrespectful.
See the South Island
Coming to New Zealand without visiting the South Island is like traveling to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower—it’s a must-do! With fewer than 25% of the entire population living on this larger landmass, the South Island offers unparalleled untouched beauty. Here, you’ll find Milford Sound and Fiordland national park, the wine country of Marlborough, the marine haven of Kaikoura, stunning peaks, turquoise lakes, Christchurch’s cool renaissance, and all manner of hiking (called “tramping in NZ), outdoor activities, and major adrenaline draws, like bungee jumping and zorbing. Saying “there’s something for everyone here” doesn’t quite do the South Island justice—there’s more than anyone could even imagine. You truly have to see this place to believe it.