After Dubai, New Zealand was my second international trip. Since childhood I wanted to visit New Zealand for only one thing, 'Adventure'. New Zealand is also called a land of adventure. In this tiny island situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean lies an opportunity to do anything and everything. Whether it is adventure tour or nature exploration or romantic getaway, New Zealand has everything for everyone.
The best part of New Zealand is the self-drive option. Explore this heavenly country at your own time and pace. Roads are as smooth as cake and instructions (roads names & directions) mentioned at every junction - so no fear of getting lost. They have a small place called 'i-site' in major cities which share information on the entire city along with map and brochure. It includes adventure details, restaurants and bars, city map and so on. They will also make your booking for hotels or adventure. These information centers are of so much help. It will make your travel like a cake walk.
Another amazing thing about this country is ‘people’. Friendliest people I can ever meet. You go to a restaurant, and they welcome you, in the store they give you a big smile, anywhere in New Zealand, you just feel like meeting your friends. New Zealand has positioned themselves as 100% Pure, and you will see that it is not just a promotional strategy. The place is indeed pure - the air is clean, streets are tidy and perfect grooming of every natural thing. I haven't seen the world, but I can give you a guarantee that nowhere in the world you will find another place like New Zealand; which is pure in all aspects.
Each major city in New Zealand has a couple of adventure activities. I was amazed and zapped to know how much I can do. Cities to visit in New Zealand are Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Lake Wanaka, Queenstown, Hamilton, Dunedin, Bay of Island, Bay of Plenty, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier to name a few. Most of the travel companies provide package covering Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown and Christchurch. All the cities have their own uniqueness and to cover the each part of New Zealand; you will need more than one month. Attractions which are not covered by many people, rather say unexplored cities are Hamilton, Dunedin, Arrow Town, Bay of Plenty, Lake Wanaka, Napier-Hastings and Nelson.
My trip consisted of a mix of cities covering most of New Zealand in my 13 day holiday. It was difficult to cover New Zealand in 13 days as I wanted to travel to many cities. I started my trip with the north Island - Auckland, drove to Rotorua and came back again from south island to visit Bay of Island. Auckland is a more cosmopolitan city, as this is a hub for business. The must adventure in Auckland is Sky Walk and Sky Jump at Sky Tower. It is safe and less scary version of Bungee Jumping. Moving on to Rotorua situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, has its distinct smell. You can feel the difference in the air as you enter Rotorua. It is because this city contains geothermal wonders like mud pool, geothermal hot spot and Geiser. Must visit in Rotorua is Te Puia, Whakarewarewa Thermal Village, The Agrodome and for spa lovers, experience at Polynesian Spa. On your way to Rotorua from Auckland, don’t miss a chance to see the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo. A 2-hour tour will give you the information about Glowworm caves and take you on a very short journey to see it live in caves.
Moving on to the south island, I started my journey from Christchurch, very similar to English heritage, it is known as Garden City. Tourist attractions include International Antarctic Centre, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and Botanic Gardens. Take a day tour to city name Kaikoura for Sperm Whales and Dolphins watch trip. Kaikoura provides Sea journey and air journey to see Sperm Whales. If your luck is good, you will get a chance to see it unlike me who didn't get a chance to see the whales because of bad weather. Next stop from Christchurch is Kiwi Rail Journey to Greymouth. The journey is indeed a scenic one and a must to do. From Greymouth, one can hire a car to drive down to Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. Both the Glaciers are nearby and provide facilities which will give you a chance to explore the Glacier and Mt Cook. One can either opt for just a helicopter ride or try their hands on HeliHike. In HeliHike, you will be taken to the Glacier in a helicopter and will get a chance to explore Glacier and Ice cave with a little hiking in surrounding. The entire adventure will be for 1hr or so. From Franz Josef Glacier drive down to mesmerizing beauty of Lake Wanaka and Laka Hāwea. It is a beautiful small town near the Lake Wanaka. The quietness of the lake will take you to another world. One can go for fishing or swimming, those who seek adventure can try their hands on Sky Diving, Jet Skiing and all those Lord of the Rings fan can take a Lord of the Rings tour to see the places where the wonder happened. Another thing to do at Lake Wanaka is, relax next to the Lake with a book and coffee. Last stop on the south island on this heavenly trip is none other than Queenstown. Before I move to the adventure capital of New Zealand, en route visit Arrow Town. The town reminds you of the gold mining and history of gold. Small yet beautiful!
Queenstown – where you breath adventure, you talk adventure and all you do is adventure. Starting with Sky Diving to Bungee Jumping to Jet Ski to Rafting to Ziplining, list is endless. Even if you have all the money you will still want more to do more. Sky diving can be done at NZone which is safe and popular operator, whereas for Bungee Jumping either you can choose origin of Bungee at Kawaru Bridge or highest bungee spot at Nevis provided by AJ Hackett Bungy. For jet ski and rafting one should visit Shotover River. One should also visit a place called Milford Sound from Queenstown, a day trip where you will explore the Fjordland and take either Helicopter ride or cruise and discover the marvel of nature. There are many other things available to do at Queenstown like horse riding or fishing or just wine tasting, the place has mixture of extreme adventure to tranquil fun.
Coming back to the north island, Bay of Island is a smaller version of beaches. Surrounded by water and small islands, Bay of Island give an opportunity to go on the cruise to see Dolphins or do any water activity or just relax on the beach and enjoy the view. One can also visit the town in Bay of Island; the closest one is Russell. Daily ferries are there for the people to travel from Russell to Bay of Island. Other towns are Paihia, Kerikeri, Waitangi and Kawakawa. There are also nature walk areas around for those nature explorer.
Next time when you think of visiting something out of the world, think of ‘Middle Earth’ where human meets nature and nature meets adventure and adventure meet the lifelong memory.
This trip was originally published on Eat Travel Fun