New Zealand is sought out as one of the most remarkable tourist destinations in the world. With its snowy mountains, ancient glaciers, rolling hills, and plentiful vines, it’s a singular place. Tucked deep in its surrounding region, a foreign country requires some advance planning to visit. Flights here are generally expensive, however. Round-trip flights from the United States are usually at least $1,000 USD and travel 5 to 23 hours. But still, you’d find many reasons to visit New Zealand. It’s a nation I’ve never been tired of visiting. New Zealand’s profile has been on the rise in recent years, but it’s still a bucolic and breathtaking place. The best time to book flights to New Zealand is between January to April, when the weather is comfortable.
1. Do an Extreme Sport
New Zealand is the world’s major destination for adventure enthusiasts, who flock to this beautiful country in droves each year to indulge in it. Among the many exciting activities available are bungy jumping, which is unique to this country, and white-water rafting, which was created by Kiwis. There are a million outdoor adventures to choose from: you can skydive nearly anywhere; Queenstown is the home of Shotover jet (rocket-like boat), zipline, and Bungy jump; and there s caving, zorbing, transalpine hiking, paragliding, and a whole lot more. If it can be done outside, it’s possible in New Zealand.
2. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Tongariro National Park, a lover’s abode in the whole world, is considered to be the best day hike in the country of New Zealand. The 19-kilometer (12-mile) trek winds through incredible terrain while passing through Tongariro National Park. The positive impact on New Zealand of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings is one that is in great part attributable to a famous section of the Great Walk. However, even if you yourself are not a strong hiker (and I am not), the Tongariro Crossing is an effortless climb (it usually takes between 6 and 8 hours). Trekking through this otherworldly, murky landscape of red mountains and sulfur was the highlight of my entire time in New Zealand.
To visit this country, book a flight with Qantas Airways, and check out Qantas Airways’ cancellation and refund policy for more information.
3. Learn About Maori culture
The Maori populated New Zealand before European voyagers arrived in 1350. I deeply appreciated the Maori’s history and culture after seeing the motion picture Whale Rider. It’s a remarkable flick. Don’t miss it! They are friendly and delighted people, and Not one Maori person I met I didn’t adore. Rotorua, one of the most culturally rich areas, is usually home to the finest exhibitions of Maori comedy. Besides Rotorua, there are other intercultural destinations to see throughout the country, including the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Tane Mahuta Bay of Islands, and the Te Papa Museum in Wellington.
4. Explore Abel Tasman, National Park
Entering Abel Tasman National Park, in the South Island of New Zealand, is like stepping into Thailand. Beautiful beaches, sapphire waters, lush green forests, and a mild climate all bring to mind tropical islands. The hiking is marvelous, with tall ferns, gigantic, gorgeously verdant trees, and a gentle climate. Abel Tasman Coastal Walk, a 60-kilometer hike, is part of the 9 Great Walks of New Zealand, and it takes place in Abel Tasman National Park. The park covers 59,000 acres, and even though it is the smallest national park, there are a lot of interesting terrains here. If you want to see the park beyond the hiking trails if you plan to rent a boat you can take it to the beach. The boat rental rates start at approximately 85 NZD, or you can participate in a tour starting at 130 NZD.
5. Glacier Trekking on Fox and Franz Josef
People go to Franz Josef Glaciers for one special reason: to admire and explore mammoth glaciers. As the glaciers in this area are melting quickly as a result of climate change, restoration of the trails and tunnels has closed. A half or full-day helicopter-hiking adventure is now the only way to trek on the ice. Although it is costly (NZD 485 to 499), the helicopter trip, trekking, and the entire experience are worth the price to me. On the other hand, you can choose to hop on a helicopter tour, and the tour lasts for 20 minutes, starts at a cost of 225 NZD, and finishes far from the peak of the ice field.
6. Don’t Miss Wellington
Everyone tells people about Auckland (which, contrary to belief, is not the capital), but the real excitement takes place in Wellington (which, in fact, is the capital). The architecture, beautiful murals, and eclectic environment give Wellington a special personality. Wellington is a city that stands out. Though it has a vibrant nightlife, tons of art galleries, great food, magnificent cafes, a beautiful harbor (best seen from Mount Victoria, which overlooks the entire city), and is readily walkable, be sure to visit a few world-class and award-winning museums like the Museum of Wellington and Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum.
7. Check Out the Glow Worms
One of the many things I did in New Zealand that I enjoyed was the illuminated Waitomo glow-worm cave, which is touristy and famous. I descended into darkness and floated down the (very cold) river while looking up at caverns illuminated by lights. It looks like you’re seeing stars but in actual fact, they look like gnats that are drawn magnetically to food because of the chemical reaction that occurs during the process. After spending three hours enjoying the views, I was glad to return to my hotel without having to complete 5 hours of abseiling.