New Zealand, one of the southernmost countries in the world, is famous for its striking landscape. Aotearoa — the traditional name of New Zealand in the native Maori language — is a must-visit destination for those who love the nature and outdoors. Such is the beauty of its landscape that the country has featured in a number of major blockbuster movies which have fairytale settings. The country offers endless options for many types of outdoor activities. In this blog, we make a list of 9 such activities which will allow to explore and enjoy the ‘country of the long white cloud’.
- Visiting Milford Sound
Milford Sound is a fjord that is located south west of the South Island of New Zealand and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. This stunning landscape — judged as one of the top travel destinations in the world in an international survey — attracts nearly a million visitors every year. It is known as Piopiotahi in the local Maori language. The best time to visit the place is just after the rains. Milford Sound has 2 permanent waterfalls but hundreds of seasonal waterfalls appear after the rains. In fact, with 6400 mm of rain every year, Milford Sound is one of the wettest inhabited places on Earth. There are many outdoor activities that one can engage in when visiting this fjord.
- Riding the Nevis Swing
The Nevis Swing is an attraction for the adrenaline junkies. At a height of 160 m above the ground, it is the largest swing in the world. The Nevis Swing suspends you at a height of 120 m above the ground — the length is longer than a rugby field. After release, you are swing through the air at a speed of 120 km per hour — certainly not for the faint-hearted! But that is not all — the Nevis Swing actually has a number of options of how you want to swing and if you want to in tandem.
- Prawn Fishing
If you are on the outskirts of Taupo, take a lazy afternoon off to visit the Huka Prawn Park. The park has a wide range of activities but it is prawn fishing that it is most famous for. Visitors are given a long bamboo stick with a tiny hook to catch the prawn. You are also given some bait and a pail to put your lucky catch in. You can choose where you want to fish — the wooden piers or from a boat. You can even laze on the grass by the waterside. The best part is that you are allowed to cook and eat the prawns that you catch!
- Climbing the Volcano in Rangitoto Island
The Rangitoto Island is located just off the coast of Auckland and is a popular destination for tourists because of the large volcanic crater that dominates its landscape. Take a ferry to the island and then take the hour-long hike to reach the top of the crater which is filled with lava fields and bushes. You will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the surroundings, which include numerous islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Those who are a little more adventurous can try to trek the lava caves that are present at the base of the crater.
- Skiing at Cardrona
Perched between the towns of Wanaka and Queenstown is the snow-wrapped Cardrona — one of the best places to ski in New Zealand. The site attracts snow and ski enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. The place is home to Olympic and X Games athletes who practice in these snow slopes. Cardrona has something for everyone, so even if you are not much into skiing, you can visit Cardrona and simply enjoy the stunningly beautiful landscape away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are a few accommodations available near the ski resorts for those who want to stay overnight.
- Soaking in a Natural Thermal Pool
They say that in New Zealand you are never far from a naturally heated thermal pool. Due to the geothermal landscape of New Zealand, the country is dotted with numerous natural thermal pools. The waters of these pools are rich in minerals and are said to have a healing effect on the body. While some of the pools are privately owned and you have pay to enter, others are found in the wild and are absolutely free. Depending on which part of New Zealand you are in, you can choose the hot spring that you would want to visit. Some of the most popular thermal pools and springs in North Island include the Te Aroha Mineral Spa in Auckland, the Lost Spring near Whitianaga, Polynesian Spa in Rotorua, and the hot pools of Lake Taupo. In South Island, the hot springs are fewer in number and can be found at Hanmer and Westland.
- Caving at Waitomo
The Waitomo Caves are located in the northern King County region of North Island. In the local Maori language, the name Waitomo means ‘water through a sinkhole,’ an apt name for this underground cave system which is very popular with the visiting tourists. While some visitors prefer just visiting the main caves or walking around those, the more adventurous and thrill seekers opt for the narrower caves where one has to crawl to enter the caves. However, the highlight of the site is the Glowworm Caves and the underground cathedral. Guided tours are available to visit these caves where glowworms twinkle like stars in a clear night. The tour ends with a boat ride. Other guided activities available at the Waitomo Caves include black water rafting, tubing, zip lining, and climbing.
- Visiting the Land of the Hobbits
Located in Waikoto in North Island is the actual movie set that was used as the village of the Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and the Hobbit movies. Spread over 14 acres, this set wasn’t meant to last, but the huge success of the trilogy started drawing visitors and it was soon transformed into a major tourists site. Today, one can take the 2-hr guided tour of this set. Popularly known as ‘The Shire,’ this movie set is amidst a beautiful lush countryside that adds to its serene charm.
- Hiking and Swimming at Cathedral Cove
The Cathedral Cove is located along the north eastern coast of North Island. To best explore this picturesque site, take the hour-long walk from the northern end of the Hahei Beach. You will be passing through the top of the cliffs during this walk. The train will then descend to the cove where a giant rocky archway welcomes the visitors. This cathedral-like archway gets the place its name. Once you are at the cove, simple laze in the soft rays of the sun or take a swim in the crystal clear waters.
Originally posted 2017-03-15 06:13:46.