My New Zealand favorites

27110_1382494920813_5468589_nTwo friends of mine are going to New Zealand a little later than us and since I’ve been there before, they asked me for things to do and places to visit. I checked my notes and did some research to make sure the things I remember still exist and here they are, my personal favorites:

North Island

Tongariro Crossing

I actually never did this, because of wheather conditions and bad timing, but I’ll definetely do it this time! The volcanic landscape is supposed to be amazing! You can walk half of it and back or you can get dropped off and picked up by a shuttle.

White water rafting

I’m not a water person. Thinking about sitting in a rubber boat that jumps the rapids and floats between very sharp looking rock formations doesn’t normally do it for me. But since the Crossing was off and my friend and I were looking for things to do to fight the jetlag, I tried it anyway and it turned out to be a lot of fun!

Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland

There is a lot of volcanic and thermal activity in New Zealand, especially on the North Island. Much of it can be experienced in the area of Rotorua which is a small, very touristy town I woudn’t recommend staying in. But Wai O Tapu is really impressive: see neon green lakes, a geysir, steaming water, red stones and smell the ever present sulphur.

Paragliding

Oh I love to remember this flying experience! I stood at the edge of Te Mata Peak and looked down on endless green hills. Suddely I was lifted up in the air and gliding peacefully over the world. If you go to Hawke’s bay at all and the wheather is fine – do it!

Te Papa Museum Wellington

If you’re fed up with outdoor activities or if it is raining, go to Wellington. It’s a nice little capital with one of the most entertaining museums I’ve ever visited!

Favorite accommodation

Turangi: Riverstone Backpackers

South Island

Crayfish

If you happen to like seafood you have to stop at one of the nice crayfish stands along Highway No. 1 between Picton and Kaikoura. Watch the waves roll in and enjoy half a crayfish with Aioli and lemon!

Christchurch

I love Chistchurch! I love it’s laid back inhabitants, the good coffee, the buskers on every square and the fact that the sea is right there and the mountains are just a short drive away. The perfect city for me. A lot must have changed since the earthquake. I don’t know what it looks and feels like today.

Arthur’s Pass

Arthur’s Pass is one of the few ways to get from east to west, but it also offers many decent hiking trails, beautiful scenery, the rare Kea (don’t feed it!) and some nice hostels.

Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier

Have you ever walked through a blue shimmering ice tunnel? You can do this on both of the glaciers on the west coast. Be sure to book the full day tour for this unique experience!

Glowworm Forest

Very close to Fox Village is this little forest which is full of glowworms at night. Do the Minehaha walk when it’s dark, but don’t forget to take your flash light!

Sea Kayaking

In the Abel Tasman National Park where golden beaches are met by turquoise water and lush rainforest, you can hike for hours, but you can also hire a kayak and set out on the water to explore.

Favorite accommodation

Arthur’s Pass: Rata Lodge

Greymouth: Noahs Ark

Those are my personal favorites. There are countless things to see and do. This list will be updated when we’re back from our next trip. But many of my great New Zealand adventures didn’t happen on a booked tour. They happened because I met the right people at the right time!

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