We have just arrived at Matakauri Lodge, and boy oh boy, were you right! This place is absolutely spectacular! Thank you so much for pushing us. We could not be more excited, happier, or content!
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Things to Do and See in New Zealand
New Zealand is an absolute paradise, a country of considerable beauty that has managed to find a way to balance its European cultural influences with its proud indigenous traditions. Further, while the culture is fantastic, and you’re likely to spend the rest of your life without ever visiting a city as beautiful and friendly as Auckland, the real draw of a visit to the country is the beauty and striking majesty of the island nation’s wilderness areas. There really is a reason why Peter Jackson chose to film the Tolkien movies in New Zealand, beyond the fact that it’s also his home.
So, what should you do once you’ve seen the Auckland sites and investigated the melding of Maori tradition and British influence that is modern New Zealand? The most popular things to see and do in New Zealand include walking through the Hobbiton set used in the Jackson films, touring the glaciers and waterfalls of Milford Sound or Fjordland National Park on the South Island, taking a tour of the Waitomo Caves system on the North Island, and exploring the vineyards to get a taste of the excellent wines produced there.
The Weather in New Zealand
New Zealand is made up of two main islands and several smaller ones. The topography of the two islands ranges from sea level up to twelve thousand feet, and the climate and weather can vary drastically between the two islands, depending on your elevation. The South Island is farther from the equator and enjoys four distinct seasons, while the North Island is more sub-tropical and has a variety of microclimates.
Most experts seem to agree that the best time to visit New Zealand in terms of the weather is during their summer (which is winter in North America). And though you may get caught in a tropical rainstorm while visiting the North Island, you’ll at least be able to access the more picturesque mountain regions of the South Island during your stay.
New Zealand Transportation Options
The two main cities in New Zealand have well-developed mass transit systems and taxi service available. Some of the smaller towns also have taxi service, but getting from city to city can be problematic without renting a car. Transportation by train is available within the two main cities, but most other train travel in the country is more about the scenery than the destination. The best way to see New Zealand may be to rent a vehicle, and TravelStore can readily arrange your self-drive vacation.
Hotels & Resorts in New Zealand
Just as in most developed countries, the major New Zealand cities have a wide range of lodging options to suit just about any travel budget, from five-star luxury accommodations all the way down to shared-bathroom inns and hostels. However, New Zealand is famous for its luxury lodges, and if your budget allows, we would certainly recommend you consider including at least one (if not more) of these during your New Zealand vacation.
There are many wonderful resorts perched on the doorsteps of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, throughout New Zealand’s South Island.
Unique Adventures and Experiences in New Zealand
Once you’ve toured the glaciers and fjords, seen where Bilbo and Frodo both grew up, and visited a Maori cultural heritage site or museum, you may be wondering what else New Zealand has to offer travelers who are willing to venture off the beaten path. Read on for a few suggestions about unique experiences that await you in the land of the Kiwi.
If you’re the type of person who just can’t wait for summer to be over because ski season will be just around the corner, take heart – you can always travel to New Zealand during their winter for some of the best skiing in the world. Cardrona Alpine Resort maintains a full size half pipe and attracts some of the world’s finest Northern Hemisphere skiers looking for a place to train, or just to have fun when there’s no snow in the North.
Why not stalk the wild kiwi bird on Stewart Island? After all, the kiwi (fruit and bird) is emblematic of the country. The Maori used to hunt them for both meat and feathers, but have stopped now that development in the birds’ habitats has endangered them. You can still see them emerge from the forest at night on Stewart Island, or in one of their other protected areas.
Take in a rugby match during your stay, or one of the other “crazy” activities that the “kiwis” have taken a liking to, such as bungee jumping or zorbing. When it comes to professional sports, though, rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and they have the fans and the teams to live up to it. The country boasts the world’s most decorated team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks.
More About New Zealand
Plan your outdoor adventure or a New Zealand honeymoon with us. Whether visiting the North Island, South Island, or both, you can enrich your New Zealand vacation experience by calling a New Zealand travel expert. We’ll make the dream vacation of getting to New Zealand a reality today. Learn more about vacations in New Zealand.