New Zealand has become known as the place to go if you’re looking for an extreme, adrenaline packed thrill. From sky-diving, bungee-jumping and ice-climbing, to surfing, canyon-swinging and white water rafting, New Zealand really has it all to offer!
Now I know what you’re thinking.. these activities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and you’d be right. So beyond extreme sports, what does New Zealand have to offer?
New Zealand is a country packed full of outstanding natural beauty. Landscapes and climates can change rapidly across these lands and these changes can be seen by simply travelling what are relatively short distances considering the contrast. It’s for this reason that the very nature of New Zealand makes it a true haven for all those nature lovers, hikers and the like.
One example of what it is I’m trying to convey can be seen in the South Island. The Abel Tasman National Park has a distinct Mediterranean feel about it when you visit, with golden beaches and plenty of sun. The National Park is located at the North of the South Island. Now, just half way down the South Island is another area of distinct natural beauty, a wilderness dotted with Fjords and Mountains. These two areas couldn’t be more contrasting and yet are in relatively close proximity.
New Zealand is truly a walker’s paradise. It has some truly spectacular sights to behold and its tourism industry is perfectly geared up to get you there. Using anything from a coach to a helicopter, you can get to New Zealand’s best destinations.
New Zealand is famous for its fascinating wildlife, especially in relation to sea life. A short distance from the coast you are able to experience seas full of whales and pods of dolphins. One very popular location to set off whale watching from can be found on the East coast of South Island, in Kaikoura. From Kaikoura you can take whale watching tours to see a variety of different whales that live in the area, including Sperm whales which dive deep down into the oceanic ridges and surface periodically. In addition to whales you might even spot Dusky dolphins, which are great fun to watch and are well known for their aerobatics!
In Akaroa, also in the South Island, you will find the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Akaroa’s dolphins are Hector’s dolphins and are extremely friendly. You will also find nature cruises of the harbour area available. Of course, there are in fact plenty of opportunities to see whales and dolphins around the coast of New Zealand, so it’s worth enquiring if you find yourself near to any coastline.
One last highlight that I wanted to mention is penguins. You might not have realised, but you can actually see penguins in New Zealand! In fact, New Zealand is home to three varieties of these captivating birds. You can find the korora (little blue penguin), hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) or Tawaki (Fiordland crested penguin) in various locations on New Zealand’s South Island.
New Zealand has a lot to offer visitors in terms of culture. You can get a better understanding of the historical and natural culture that underpins New Zealand by visiting the wonderful Te Papa national museum in Wellington.
Maori settlers were the original colonists of New Zealand. Their culture is everywhere, from art and tattoo to legend and customs. You can get a sense of traditional New Zealand Maori culture by visiting one of the many Maori events especially created to teach tourists about their community’s distinct culture. New Zealand is clearly proud of their Maori heritage and it is an incredibly interesting topic for any visiting tourist.
New Zealand has made a name for itself over the years as a place where great wines are created. Due to the country’s varied climates, a wide variety of wine can be produced and to excellent results. For visitors, there’s the opportunity to visit some notable vineyards which can be a truly interesting experience. This means it’s even possible to visit vineyards in the famous Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay wine regions but be careful you don’t get too hooked on to the top quality wine like Greywacke or Huia! New Zealand wines are exported all over the world and can be found in the UK too. When you get back you can find a great selection available whether you’re popping into your local supermarket or an online wine specialist.
Lord of the Rings
The movie versions of the Lord of the Rings books quickly found themselves develop a mass of fans worldwide. This movie trilogy was filmed in New Zealand and features a lot of breathtaking scenery. Naturally, fans of the films have flooded in their droves to New Zealand to catch a glimpse of their favourite sets. This has created a great boom for tourism in New Zealand and many tours can be found for the movie buff who wants to see Mt Doom or glance upon the Shire.
Needless to say New Zealand is a rich and vibrant destination for any type of traveller, there really is something for everyone.