It has been a tough decision but I’ve made a list of my must-do activities for New Zealand! There is of course so much to do in every destination however these are the things I always go back to when I’m reminiscing about the good times of my trip…
- Glow worm caves at Waitomo – this was the first real ‘wow‘ moment I had, no amount of Google Imaging can prepare you for seeing the caves in person – the most accurate way I could describe this is as a magical fairytale cave! I chose to do Black Labyrinth rafting which I found to be the perfect mixture of adrenaline (jumping backwards off of a waterfall into an inflatable ring) and relaxation (floating in the rings around the caves, lazy river style). It really was so stunning and like nothing I’ve ever seen before – no photos I have will do it justice so you will just have to take my word for it and take a look for yourself 🙂
- There is the option of Black Abyss or Black Odyssey rafting for the more adventurous travellers – these include extras such as zip lining, abseiling and ladder crossings!
- Maori village overnight stay at Rotorua – there’s a reason this has been voted Kiwi Experience’s best activity for the past few years – this is an absolute must-do! We were shown around by a senior person of the Maori community, this included being educated on the rich culture and history of the Maori people which was fascinating. We then played some traditional games and were treated to a delicious buffet-style roast dinner (this was much appreciated after so many days of pasta/bread/backpacker food!). The evening was great, we were shown an amazing haka along with many more aspects of Maori culture such as poi dances and folksongs. After the evening activities, we spent the rest of the night using the on-site bar, jacuzzis and sat by the fire pits so it was pretty much the perfect night!
- Westport beach party – Westport is a quirky little town, it is a bit like time travelling back to the 70’s but that’s not to say it isn’t a fun stop! Unless you’re into surfing I wouldn’t recommend spending more than one night there. When travelling on the Kiwi Experience bus, everybody goes to a bonfire on the beach for a few drinks and one of the group took a speaker so there was music and everybody was just in great spirits for the night – it’s a fun way to get to know your bus pals better and meet other passengers who you might not have spoken to before as the atmosphere is very chilled and low-key.
- Wanaka boat trip – I really wasn’t expecting much from Wanaka as I’d heard that it was just a boring pit stop town before Queenstown. This was not the case at all! It was a beautiful ski town and I would’ve loved to spend more time there. We went on a boat trip which we booked through the bus and I would highly recommend this. The best part was jumping off the side of the boat into the freezing Lake Wanaka!
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing – what an epic hike! This 8 hour, 20km+ hike provided the most stunning views I have ever seen and will never forget. I completely underestimated how challenging parts of this would be – I stupidly thought it would be more of a hilly walk so my Adidas Stan Smiths didn’t quite cut it, which I found out the hard way! I descended the route to the Emerald Lakes on my bum which was highly embarrassing but I’m sure it provided some better-equipped hikers with some amusing moments. An old German man actually lent me his hiking pole about half way down as he pitied me that much, what a sorry sight I was..! Anyway, moving on from my hiking failures… I really can’t recommend this activity enough, it’s an absolute must-do – even if you just want to get those iconic photos for the Insta likes!
- If the weather is decent and you have arrived early enough, you can choose to do the additional path up Mount Ngauruhoe. This isn’t nicknamed Mount Doom for no reason – imagine hiking up the side of an almost vertical volcano but underfoot is like climbing on sand! I didn’t do this myself but the photos I saw from friends who braved it were amazing, so if you dare, go for it!
That’s it for my Top 5 New Zealand Activities – the list could go on and on but I need to stop somewhere! What are your favourite NZ activities? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @evierosetravels.