New Zealand is a must-see destination when traveling the world. If it is not high on your bucket list, make room at the top! We had 8 days to see both islands so our days were jam-packed and fast-paced. Give yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy all the beauty New Zealand has to offer! To help you plan your next adventure, we have included some of the highlights from both the North and South Islands.
The North Island of New Zealand is also a must-see destination for travelers, offering a diverse range of experiences and activities. From the bustling city of Auckland to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, the North Island offers something for everyone.
Stroll the Hamilton Gardens
A great attraction to add to the list of things to see and do on the North Island of New Zealand is the Hamilton Gardens. These gardens are located in the city of Hamilton and are considered one of the best public gardens in the country. The Hamilton Gardens are open year-round and are free to visit. They are a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a relaxing day out. The gardens are wheelchair accessible and have a café and a gift shop on site.
The Hamilton Gardens feature a diverse range of garden styles, including traditional English, Japanese, and Italian gardens. Visitors can take a stroll through the gardens and admire the beautiful flowers, fountains, and sculptures that are on display. Some of the most popular gardens include the English Flower Garden, the Japanese Garden of Contemplation, and the Italian Renaissance Garden.
The Hamilton Gardens also host a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and art exhibits. Visitors can also take guided tours of the gardens and learn about the history and design of the different garden styles. The perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or a relaxing day out.
Tour the Hobbiton Movie Set
A must-see destination on the North Island of New Zealand is Hobbiton Movie Set. Located in the Waikato region, this movie set was used for the filming of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. Visitors can take a guided tour of the set and see Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and other iconic locations from the films. The tour also includes a visit to the Hobbiton village where you can see the Hobbit holes, learn about the movie-making process, and enjoy a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.
Mitai Māori Village
If you are interested in Māori culture, head to Rotorua and visit the Mitai Māori Village, known for its authentic Māori experiences. Visitors can take a guided tour of the village, and learn about the customs, traditions, and culture of the Māori people.
The tour starts with a welcome ceremony, where visitors are greeted by a warrior dressed in traditional Māori clothing and given an introduction to the culture and history of the Māori people. Visitors will then have the chance to see a traditional hangi feast being prepared and learn about the traditional methods of cooking using hot stones and underground ovens.
The tour also includes a cultural performance, where visitors can watch a traditional haka dance and listen to Maori songs and stories. The Mitai Māori Village is an interactive experience that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the Māori people. It is a great way to learn more about New Zealand’s indigenous culture and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history and customs.
Kiwi House in Otorohanga
For those interested in wildlife, the Kiwi House in Otorohanga is a must-see destination. This conservation center is home to Kiwi birds, as well as other native New Zealand wildlife such as tuataras, eels, and geckos. Visitors can see the kiwis in their natural habitat, and learn about the center’s conservation efforts to protect these endangered birds.
Hike One Tree Hill in Auckland
Another great attraction to add to the list of things to do on the North Island of New Zealand is the One Tree Hill hike. One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie, is a volcanic peak located in the heart of Auckland city. The peak is home to the historic Cornwall Park, which offers visitors a chance to hike to the summit and take in the stunning views of the city and the surrounding landscape.
The hike to the summit of One Tree Hill is relatively easy and takes about 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The trail is well-maintained and takes you through a variety of landscapes, including lush gardens, native bushes, and grassland. Once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and the harbor.
North Island Conclusion – Worthy of a Visit
In summary, the North Island of New Zealand offers a wide range of unique experiences, from visiting the Hamilton Gardens and the Hobbiton Movie Set to experiencing the natural beauty and wildlife of the Kiwi House and hiking One Tree Hill, to an interactive Māori cultural experience. These destinations are a great addition to the already rich list of things to see and do on the North Island and will provide visitors with an unforgettable and authentic New Zealand experience.
New Zealand’s South Island is a nature lover’s paradise, an incredibly diverse destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or culture, you’ll find it all on this beautiful island. New Zealand’s South Island offers an unparalleled combination of natural beauty and thrilling adventure activities.
For the Adrenaline Junky – Bungy Jumping
The adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, is home to the world’s first commercial bungy jump, the AJ Hackett Bungy, where you can take the leap of faith and experience the rush of adrenaline as you jump off the historic Kawarau Bridge.
Queenstown also offers a variety of bungy jumping options, from the traditional bungy jump to the Nevis Bungy which is 134m high and the highest bungy in New Zealand, to the tandem bungy jump for those who want to experience the thrill with a friend. The bungy jump operators in Queenstown are known for their safety measures, and the staff is well-trained and friendly.
In addition to bungy jumping, Queenstown also offers a wide range of other adventure activities like skydiving, paragliding, and jet boating. So, if you’re looking for a thrill, Queenstown is the place to be.
Nature’s Wonders Argo Tour in Dunedin
The island also has a unique tour that combines both nature and history, the Nature’s Wonders Argo 8-wheel drive tour in Dunedin. The Argo tour takes visitors on a thrilling ride across the Reid family farm to see Blue Penguins and New Zealand Fur Seals’ breeding habitats, and possible sightings of the Yellow-eyed Penguins. This tour will provide incredible coastal, nature, and wildlife views.
Blue Penguin Colony Evening Viewing, Oamaru
The Blue Penguin Colony evening viewing is located in Oamaru, a small town in the Waitaki District, known for its Victorian architecture and rich history. The Blue Penguin Colony is the only mainland colony in the world where visitors can see the penguins coming ashore at dusk in a natural setting.
The evening viewing tour starts with a short presentation about the penguins and their habitat, followed by a guided walk to the viewing platform, where visitors can see the penguins as they come ashore after a day at sea. The tour guide will provide information about the penguins’ habits and habitat, and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the conservation efforts that are in place to protect the penguins. Please note that photography and filming are not permitted during the evening viewing.
Queenstown Skyline Luge
The Skyline Luge is a unique and thrilling activity that takes place on the top of Bob’s Peak, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Visitors can take a scenic gondola ride to the top of the mountain and then ride the luge down the winding tracks.
The luge is a three-wheeled cart that is controlled by the rider using a steering mechanism. The tracks have a variety of twists and turns, and riders can choose between the scenic track, which offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, or the advanced track, which is more challenging and has tighter turns.
The luge is suitable for riders of all ages, and helmets and safety briefings are provided before the ride. In addition to the luge, visitors can also enjoy other activities such as the Skyline Gondola, the Skyline Restaurant, and the Skyline Queenstown Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar.
The Queenstown Skyline Luge offers a unique way to enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and lakes and is a great activity for families and groups.
South Island Conclusion – Beauty, Nature, and Adventure Collide
Overall, New Zealand’s South Island offers an unparalleled combination of natural beauty and thrilling adventure activities, from bungy jumping and the Skyline Luge to Blue Penguin Colonies and breathtaking nature. Truly an incredibly diverse destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or culture, you’ll find it all on this beautiful island.