New Zealand is a country of outstanding natural beauty full of attractions and activities that provides an extremely convenient and nearby escape to a European-style alpine climate that can be accessed within a mere few hours' flight from Australia. Stunning topography of the country, with its ruggedly beautiful mountainous areas combined with some of the best snow fields and ski conditions in the world alongside some of the purest bodies of water make NZ an extremely attractive place to visit for Aussies looking for something different without a huge investment of time and money.
Departing from the east coast of Australia, one can expect to reach the major airports in New Zealand within the span of approximately three hours (depending on initial city of departure.) The country is made up of two main islands, as well as a number of smaller islands, which are separated by a body of water called the Cook Strait, with the south island being the largest of the two and also home to the Southern Alps, which contain many of the highest mountains in NZ including Mount Cook.
Most of the activities, attractions and things to do in New Zealand are thus based around taking advantage of the spectacular natural features and incorporating them into an experience with an emphasis on the unique nature and scenery which give the country a character all of its own. Coinciding with this, New Zealand also has a huge range of distinctive wildlife that add to its level of individuality, the most famous of which is the Kiwi, a flightless bird that has become a national symbol of the country. Marine animals can also be found in abundance, with a huge amount of the world's whales, dolphins, porpoises and fur seals able to be found within the waters surrounding New Zealand.
Thus, when planning a trip to New Zealand and asking oneself what to do in NZ, most of the answers will involve experiences that highlight the environmental side of the country, with activities such as whitewater rafting, skydiving, bungee jumping, skiing, and foresting experiences like hiking are a huge drawcard - not to mention whale watching being one of the most popular tourism-based activities in New Zealand's economy. In addition, the choices for what to do in NZ will also depend on your base town of choice - Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington all offer their own individual highlights, with many of the other smaller destinations each offering their own individual charm as well. The top regions to visit in New Zealand include:
New Zealand's largest city often forms the landing destination for Aussie visitors flying to NZ, and Auckland serves as a great springboard from which to experience many of the activities and attractions that New Zealand has to offer.
Have a look below at the list of great Auckland holiday deals in New Zealand according to customer feedback and research.
Cruises of Auckland's best highlights - Given that New Zealand is an island nation surrounded by some of the most picturesque waterways in the Pacific, it is natural that a huge number of cruise options to take in all its varying features abound. Auckland's port serves as a busy departure point that is also the gateway to many of the surrounding regions key attractions; whether experienced by sailing, cruising for a relaxing dinner on the waters, or visiting one of the many nearby islands such as Waiheke, the number of cruise options is vast and provides an option for almost everyone who is looking to get out on the open waters.
Day Tours - New Zealand has so much scenery on offer that it can be overwhelming attempting to plan a journey to determine the best way to see all its highlights from scratch; thus the option to travel on comfort aboard one of a fleet of state-of-the-art luxury coaches to sit back, relax and enjoy the lovely landscape stress-free is always a popular option. Many of the tours that depart from Auckland include entry and guided tours through some of New Zealand's most renowned attractions, and all offer informative and entertaining commentary delivered by experienced driver-guides to provide an element of background and history to the proceedings.
Christchurch, situated on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, is also the largest city on the island and famed for its gardens and other elements of natural beauty. Its close proximity to the mountain range of the Southern Alps means that many popular ski fields can be found in the region, as well as a casino, large international-standard hotels and an international airport make Christchurch a great base from which to experience a variety of New Zealand activities. Check back for more things to do in Christchurch coming soon.
Located in the South-west of the large South Island of New Zealand, Queenstown is a resort town located next to the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, providing a panorama that gives stunning views of both the crystal clear waters and majestic nearby mountains. A hotspot for visitors seeking adventure sports and ecotourism, activities such as skiing, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, mountain biking, fly fishing and more are all heavily participated in. Snow sports are a heavy focus of Queenstown's visitors, and draws thousands of tourists each year looking to travel at the main mountain ski fields that populate the area. Some of the top activities and things to do in Queenstown include:
Shotover Canyon Swing - Built on the edge of the Shotover River, New Zealand's Queenstown Canyon Swing is one of the world's greatest that aims to take advantage of nature's gift of gravity by letting you leap from a launch platform atop the 109m cliff edge. The swing will let you accelerate for 60 metres of free fall just metres from the face of the cliff while reaching speeds of up to 150km per hour as the canyon's rocks rush towards you - before the ropes swing you smoothly past. With a selection of jump styles available that allow for all scales of adrenaline junkies, there is something for everyone.
Canyoning Queenstown - The mighty rock formations and their hidden paths, trails and tracks along with cascading waterfalls and abundant flora have made the sport of canyoning a highly popular recent addition to the range of activities to do in Queenstown. Descend into canyons, plunge into pools, ride down cascading chutes, abseil down cliffs and swim down narrow passageways, all while guided by experienced operators with an impeccable, unblemished safety record.
Ziptrek EcoTours - These zipline-based tours will let you zip over some of the most scenic geography in New Zealand while offering stunning views of the landscape around Queenstown. A series of breathtaking zipline tour adventures high above beautiful Queenstown that will let you hang out in magnificent huts amongst the trees, breathe in pristine mountain air, and glide through the treetops on a series of lines that are designed to provide you with spectacular views. Your knowledgeable guides will manage all the technical aspects while you enjoy these entertaining and educational tours with an environmental focus.
Skydiving - With the great natural scenery on display down below along with amazingly clean air and clear skies, the Queenstown region of New Zealand provides the ideal countryside location to take part in a skydiving experience. The drop zone, located at the base of the famous Remarkables mountain range, provides a stunning backdrop over which to plummet from several thousand feet.
Horse Riding Adventure Tours - The beautiful and rugged alpine country of the Queenstown area can be fully appreciated up close, and travelling by horseback only serves to add to the natural experience. A relaxing and scenic way to tour the scenery without tiring out the legs or being confined to a stuffy tour bus, you'll be able to soak up the myriad flora, wildlife, river gorges and impressive landscapes that combine to give Queenstown its identity as an alpine resort destination that is increasingly renowned worldwide. Multiple settlements, treks, creeks and passes are on offer to ride to, with each providing a variation on the overall tour theme.
New Zealand's capital city is also the second largest in terms of population after Auckland and is located on the south westernmost tip of the smaller North Island of NZ. Tourism has been growing substantially in Wellington over recent times, with cruise tourism in particular experiencing a major boom due to its coastal location. With many cultural attractions, compact nature, award-winning restaurants as well as popular tourist attractions like Wellington Zoo and Zealandia (a.k.a the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.) Check back for more things to do in Wellington coming soon.