Located in the southern hemisphere and arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand is a mecca for travellers who want to experience life pretty much on the edge; where nature and modern life exists pretty much in uniform, and where today meets tomorrow.
New Zealand has one of the most biodiverse range of flora and fauna in the world, largely because it was isolated (in a good way) for much of its existence, even from nearby Australia. As such, a lot of the plants and animals in New Zealand are found nowhere else in the world. An example of this is the Kiwi, the national animal of New Zealand, and almost every sporting team, and even people from the islands, are named after this unique flightless bird.
As it is home to some of the most stunning, spectacular scenery on the planet, it’s no surprise that many popular films such as The Lord of the Rings were shot on the islands. This has brought a new level of popularity, with a new generation of film tourists flocking year after year.
However, it’s not just great scenery on offer in the Long White Cloud, it’s important to remember that New Zealand is a well-developed nation, so if you get tired walking through the breathtaking scenery, you can relax in a cafe or a bar. Cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are well worth a visit for a vibrant and varied city life.
So here are some of the things you should do, sceneries to see, and food to eat when you get the chance to visit New Zealand.
- Journey to Middle Earth. Visit the ‘little’ world of The Lord of the Rings, particularly the hobbits’ homes at Hobbiton, try a drink or two at Green Dragon Inn and pick some souvenirs as well. Travel an hour to Rotorua to check out their famous geysers and mud pools, give your feet some loving by them in these healing pools.
- Other things to take into account when visiting New Zealand is eating the food you can only have there and buying things unique in the region when you’re out there. Whilst it’s biggest exports are meat and dairy products, they can’t really be bought as souvenirs, or won’t be easy. However, the fabulous wines can be easily brought along. New Zealand has vast vineyards that are breathtaking to see, and the products are worth nothing. The Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, on New Zealand’s south island, is considered to be one of the best white wines in the world, and – because you’re in New Zealand – it should be cheaper than in your home country. The Marlborough Sounds, for example, is a series of drowned valleys surrounding the province capital, Blenheim is a joy to see and the source for the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. What best way to taste it than there?
- See a kiwi bird, the smallest of ratites.
- Experience an underground river cruise lit exclusively by sparkling glowworms at Waitomo caves.
- Cruise at Milford Sound going to Fiordland National Park. Get to view some rare appearances of seals as you go, and be awed by the many waterfalls along the way.
- Zipline through Waiheke Island and see the beauty of it – vineyards, valleys, and bluewaters – from above.
- Admire Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook. Soak in at Tekapo Springs after exploring Christchurch and the nearby mountains for a relaxing day. You can even stargaze at night, enjoy the beautiful night sky away from the city lights.
- See the solitary tree of lake Wanaka, it is at the foothill of Mount Aspiring National Park, a World Heritage site. There’ are lovely vineyards near the lake, as the picture above shows – enjoy a wine and food tour for the full experience.
- Try every seafood on the menu. Expect the dishes from the sea to be fresh and truly satisfying. Whether cooked the Maori way or with fusion of European herbs, or Asian influence, seafood in New Zealand is a must. Even their fish and chips differ from the usual British goodness.
- Never say no to lamb, goose, and meat in general. There may be no particular National dish that New Zealand claims, but you will find one from the many flavors combined by many settlers to suit your taste.
- Speaking of seafood, see the Colossal squid at Te Papa, New Zealands’ national museum – the largest known colossal squid weighing 495 kilograms (1,091 lb) and measuring 4.2 metres (14 ft) in total length.
- And speaking of the colossal squid, don’t forget to add this to your best things to do in Auckland: get some incredible sweets from Giapo Ice cream, too. They serve a version of the colossal squid, almost like death by chocolate but in a squid ice cream form. Giapo is not only famous for serving ice cream creations like no other, each is an art itself: fusing flavours unknown to many, presenting them aesthetically, also unconventional but curiously good. Expect a long line of customers when you drop by, it’s because locals and tourists have come to love their many selections. They cater also to vegans and and those who adhere to a gluten-free diet.
- Indulge in some Lamingtons. While Australian in origin, these treats are often found in New Zealand cafés. Visit the Hot Bread Shop Cafe to experience what the locals call as the best Lamingtons in New Zealand; butter cake or sponge cake coated in an outer layer of chocolate (or sometimes raspberry) sauce and covered in desiccated coconut…what’s not to love?
- Bring home a jar of Manuka honey. Get the medicinal benefits of this yummy honey from original sources – where the manuka tree grows; New Zealand.
- Reward yourself with a Chocolate fish! Chocolate fish are pink or white marshmallow covered in a thin layer of milk chocolate with ripples or (scales) formed through the process it undergoes, they have a conventional fish-shape, thus the name.
All in all, if you’re in need of a holiday of a lifetime, there could be nothing better than a trip to New Zealand, it’s breathtaking scenery, beautiful skies, good food, will make for a trip you will never forget and make you fall in love with the place.