As border closures continue, many New Zealanders are rethinking their holiday plans. What better time to take advantage of the variety of natural beauty right there in Aotearoa? Here is our list of the best destinations for a holiday in New Zealand.
The glowworm caves of Waitomo are a breathtaking experience. First explored in 1887 by local Maori chief Tinorau Tane and an English surveyor named Fred Mace, it was discovered the local caves were dotted with Glowworms. Since then tours have been run exploring the depths of the caves. There are three caves in the vicinity and tours are offered for all 3. They are quite popular with tourists, and worth a look for locals as well. The tours start from $55 for adults and $25 for kids. It is also an option to do a self-guided walk, although access to the caves is limited.
The quirky capital of our country is not often thought of as a holiday destination – but has a lot to offer! Wellington is known as a foodie haven. One hot spot is the Press Hall – the former headquarters of Wellington Newspapers Group. It is now home to 10 eateries of various cuisines. This blog post is a great summary of the best restaurants in town. Other highlights include riding the historic Wellington cable car, visiting the Zealandia eco-sanctuary and enjoying 360 views from the top of Mount Victoria.
If you have a taste for adventure, this might be for you! Not for the faint of heart, the Poukai crossing is a waling trail that takes on average 3 days to complete. It can sometimes become impassible in winter – so best to avoid during this time. The track will take you through montane forest, beneath towering lava columns and along the red waters of the Kokowai stream. The start of the track is roughly 30km south of New Plymouth. It’s a one-way trip, so you’ll need to organise transport for the way back.
Many people have rediscovered their love of nature during the lockdown. While many activities that were part of our daily lives have changed, going for a hike is one of the most enjoyable ways to social distance. Have a look at this blog post about the 10 Great Walks of New Zealand.
Twin Coast Highway
Taking a road trip holiday in the north of New Zealand is a great idea for summer! The twin coast highway extends from Auckland north to Cape Reinga. Sometimes referred to as “the Neglected Far North” this drive will take you through picturesque countryside. Slow down and take in the sights of the Giant Sand Dunes on the way to Cape Reinga. Stop off at the Bay of Islands for some fishing at the untouched beaches.
See the world’s largest Kauri tree in Opononi. The beauty of driving rather than flying is you can see all the beautiful sights along the way.
Rotorua is famous the world over for its geothermal activity – and for good reason. The geysers and mud pools make Rotorua a unique travel destination. The city itself is situated in the remains of an ancient volcano, which is also the cause of the modern-day geothermal wonders. Visitors can soak in hot springs, visit bubbling pools of mud and witness explosive geysers.
The area also features 17 lakes, known as the lakes of Rotorua, where fishing and water-skiing are popular. Rotorua is also a historical town with many museums and a bustling cultural strip – earning it the nickname “Rotovegas”.
Late spring and early autumn is the peak tourist season, so plan your trip accordingly.
Known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is also the most popular tourist destination in the country. Hosting 2 million visitors per year, the town is well equipped to entertain. As New Zealand loses international tourism, now is the best time to visit! You can try bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding – the list goes on! The natural beauty of the area also lends itself to hiking, biking, and kayaking. Undeniably, however, Queenstown’s main attraction is the skiing and snowboarding on some of the world’s best ski fields. Among accommodation options are lodges in the ski resorts, accommodation in town close to the nightlife, and farm stays. Whilst the best time to visit is winter, Queenstown is great all year round, depending on what you are looking for in a holiday.
Central Otago is New Zealand’s most inland region. Featuring mountainous regions, friendly townships, and a burgeoning arts scene. Central Otago is great for nature lovers. Littered with camping sites, biking and hiking trails, the region embraces the outdoors. You can find many biking trails as well as guided bike tours. You can also find many cellar doors and wineries in the area, with Pinot Noir a local specialty. Another unique attraction is the Shaky Bridge, a suspension bridge from the gold rush era.
The rocky countryside is definitely worth a visit, you’ll feel like you are in another world!
The town of Dunedin is famous for its Scottish heritage. Tourist attractions include the carved sandstone cliffs of tunnel beach, carved by years of saltwater and strong winds. The unique Victorian and Edwardian architecture of the city as well as it’s large student population lends the place a bohemian air. Discover trendy bars, niche restaurants, and the hidden street art in every corner of the city.
Dunedin is also close to the Otago peninsula, home to rookeries of great Albatross.
The West Coast of the South Island is home to the Fiordland region, aptly named for its 14 fiords jutting into the 215km of coastline. The breathtaking mountain ranges surrounded by the ocean can be explored via boat cruise. You can spot bottlenose dolphins as well as New Zealand fur seals in the waters. Located in Fiordland is the most famous peak, Milford Sound, standing 1692 metres above sea level. The region is also known as the walking capital of the country, with many people choosing to explore the natural beauty on foot.
Along with Milford sound, Doubtful sound is a lesser-known attraction. At 421 metres deeps, it is the deepest of the fiords and features many waterfalls as well as colonies of Fiordland crested penguins.
Accommodation options include backpackers, camping for the budget-conscious, as well as bed and breakfasts and farm stays.
Now is the best time to be travelling within our beautiful country. You’ll be helping to support the local tourism industry, as well as enjoying a holiday without having to fight the crowds. If you need a loan to get you started on your adventure, get in touch with the team at Swoosh Finance NZ