People have different reasons for visiting New Zealand. Maybe they want to hike through the country’s diverse landscapes, learn more about the unique Maori culture or tackle one of the many adrenaline-inducing sports that originated in the country. In fact, there is such a huge variety of things to see and do in New Zealand, that planning a trip there can become quite overwhelming. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the must-do activities that are completely unique to the country.
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Ten Amazing Experiences You Can Only Do in New Zealand
Learn More About The Maori Culture
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Arriving from Polynesia in the 13th century, the Maori people were the first to discover the spectacular islands of New Zealand. They brought with them just the supplies they could carry in their canoes as well as a unique and fascinating culture. Still radiating through the county today, visitors can learn about the Maori’s unique traditions almost anywhere in New Zealand. Why not spend the night at the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua; visit the fascinating exhibitions at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington; or time your visit with the Pasifika Festival held in Auckland for some of the best ways to learn about the Maori’s traditions.
Spot a Kiwi Bird In The Wild
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As the country’s national icon, no trip to New Zealand would be complete without seeing the elusive kiwi bird. Being a nocturnal species, visitors can hunt for a kiwi by joining a night tour through the Waipoua Forest or on Stewart Island. Unfortunately, being an endangered species, kiwis are incredibly hard to spot in the wild and chances of finding them in their natural habitat are slim. Luckily, there are plenty of Kiwi conservation sanctuaries where you can catch a closeup view of this unique bird.
Hunt For Lord Of The Rings Set Locations
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New Zealand’s popularity as a touristic location boomed when Peter Jackson decided it would be the place to give life to Middle Earth in the epic film trilogy of The Lord of the Rings (LOTR). Jackson used filming locations on both the north and south islands, leaving a legacy of LOTR hot spots to be discovered. Follow Frodo’s journey from his front door at Bag End, Hobbiton to the cracks of Mount Doom, otherwise known as Tongariro National Park.
Go Zorbing in Rotorua
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Originating in Rotorua and Paihia, zorbing is one of the newest crazes to take over the adventure sports scene in New Zealand. Essentially, zorbing involves climbing inside a giant cellophane ball and rolling down one of New Zealand’s many hills. For those who want an even more unique experience, why not try wet zorbing when the ball is filled with a bucket of water, guaranteeing a slippery ride.
Visit The Glow Worms At Waitomo Caves
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Apart from a few remote locations in Australia, visiting the glow worm caves is an activity unique to New Zealand. There are several different places where you can witness this spectacular event, however, the Waitomo Caves are by far the most popular. Here, visitors can join a short boat tour through to the caves to the spot where the worms are plentiful. Watch the pitch-black caves light up with thousands of tiny glow worms. Alternatively, visit the Waipu Caves that are located three hours north of Auckland, for a less crowded and off-the-beaten-track experience.
Sample the World-Renowned Fergburger in Queenstown
Fergburger was a simple, family-run fast food joint in Queenstown before it gained worldwide popularity for its delicious burgers. In fact, hungry punters can be seen queuing outside Fergburger’s doors at almost any time of the day, including at 4 AM. Located in the heart of Queenstown and with more than fifteen different burgers to choose from, you won't be able to resist visiting Fergburger at least once during your visit.
Be The First in The World To See The Sun Rise
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The city of Gisborne is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island and claims to be the first city to see the world’s sunrise each and every day. If you are up for the challenge, climb the 700 stairs of the East Cape Lighthouse for the most spectacular view of the sunrise. If you don’t fancy the long climb at 6 AM, then drive over to Wainui Beach, a four-kilometer stretch of sand with plenty of secluded sand dunes to watch the day roll in.
Carve A Piece of Jade Stone
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Traditionally collected by the Maori to carve into tools and weapons, New Zealand’s jade stone has become some of the most sought after jade in the world. Hokitika, on New Zealand’s south island, is one of the best places to visit if you want to find a piece of your own. Why not join a tour along the Arahua River to hunt for the precious stone before returning to a local workshop and carving it into a unique souvenir to take home.
Spend The Night In Milford Sound
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Sitting in a remote location just off New Zealand’s south island, Milford Sound is considered to be one of the most scenic landscapes in the country. A cruise across its waters will reward visitors will plunging waterfalls, looming mountain ranges and a high chance of spotting dolphins, seals and possibly even whales. Those who have extra room in their budget should consider spending the night at the Milford Lodge. Mid-afternoon, when the hoards of tourists die down and the boats disappear, the silence of the fjord is truly awe-inspiring.
Sip On A Locally-Produced Sauvignon Blanc
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New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc wines have become world-famous for being some of the best that money can buy. Taking a wine tour around one of New Zealand’s many wine regions will give you the chance to sample some of the best of the best. As the first region to produce crisp Sauvignon Blancs, Marlborough is a must-visit during your time in New Zealand. However, don’t forget to visit the up-and-coming wine regions too such as Nelson, North Otago and Canterbury.
If you're searching for a country where you can tick off some of those bucket-list items, look no further than New Zealand. These are just ten of the hundreds of unique experiences that you can have when you take a trip to this spectacular country.