Fun things to do in New Zealand

  • Akaroa Harbor
    Akaroa Harbor
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  • Indian Char Bagh Garden
    Indian Char Bagh Garden
    by Tom_Fields
  • Mission Bay Fountain
    Mission Bay Fountain
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Most Viewed Things to Do in New Zealand

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    TRY GLIDING - Matamata Airfield.

    by kiwi Updated Mar 17, 2013

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    GLIDING TRIAL FLIGHT.

    Enjoy the exhiliration of flight without the noise and vibrations of an engine. A truly worthwhile experience, and you can easily take photos out the canopy of the lovely terrain below. Once you have released from the towplane, flight becomes vibration and noise free and you are up there with the birds!! Having no engine is a real plus, as you will see :-)
    Check the GlidingMatamata website and view thru the webcam on their homepage.
    *THIS IS CONVENIENTLY LOCATED BETWEEN AUCKLAND AND ROTORUA*

    Trial flights cost $NZD120; $180 & $300 as at 2013.
    They fly Sat/Sun and Wednesdays, and public holidays.

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    New Zealand Road Trip

    by Merebin Written Feb 26, 2013

    New Zealand is a great country to explore by car - especially if you're Australian, as the Kiwis also drive on the correct side of the road! Roads are generally good and hiring your own vehicle makes it easy to get off the beaten track and explore some of the smaller towns and nature areas that can be difficult to get to by using public transport. The scenery is spectacular enough to make even the longest of drives a pleasure.

    TIP: Check out the availability of car hire for hiring older vehicles. It can be much cheaper than hiring a brand new car.

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    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking

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    Cruising on Milford Sound

    by Merebin Written Feb 25, 2013

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    Winding your way down the steep roads that lead to Milford Sound it is clear that you are in for an adventure. Boats are dwarfed by the majestic peaks and waterfalls that surround the sound. Seals splash and play in the waters as you are left to ponder your own small insignificance in the much grander scheme of things. Awe inspiring.

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    Visit Kawhia

    by angiebabe Updated Feb 10, 2013

    Kawhia is a settlement on the Kawhia harbour on the west coast of the NOrth Island.
    Being a little out of the way with a road that goes over a hilly pass with quite a lot of cornering more people might tend to go to Raglan which is only half an hour from Hamilton or to South Auckland such as Piha or Tuakau or over to the East coast beaches of Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Thames and those further southward.

    We took the opportunity to attend the advertised Kai Festival at Kawhia while wanting at the same time to enjoy the scenery as it was quite a few years since I had last been there.

    Driving from Matamata I took a back road near Cambridge down to Te Awamutu and over to Pirongia and not far from there was the turn off of the main road 42 km to Kawhia.
    It really is a beautiful road taking you past green farms of rolling hills and native bush such as ponga ferns. Views of Kawhia harbour came into sight from the top of the hill and there was a view point made there for cards to park as well as a couple of picnic benches. The sky was clear so the light around made the grass on the hills look very green and the water in the harbour in the distance look beautiful bluey green. The drive on down along the shore was beautiful too and worthy of stopping at various places for photos.

    The Kai festival had a lot of people in attendance with men and women and children in Maori costumes and singing and dancing traditional Maori music. There was a wide range of foods available - particularly foods from the local seass such as paua, mussels, sea urchin and fish. We bought a meal of mutton bird - which often comes from Stewart Island - watercress, pumpkin and potatoe with maori bread. My mother did not like hers at all - and mutton bird is known to require a particular liking for the taste...

    I made conversation with a local who said the festival is mainly for locals but of course open to anyone who would like to take part - she was glad that the turn out was so good. This was held on a grassy area near the wharf so the local kids and families had soon moved to the water and beach.. The wharf is really popular for jumping off into the water, back up the sand bank and back onto the wharf to jump off again! the sand around these parts of the west coast are famed for their export of iron sand to Japan for processing - and here in Kawhia the sand is also black iron sand.

    From here we drove off to Ocean beach for beautiful views from the top of the dunes that one has to climb to access the beach...its also here down on the beach where hot water comes up through the sand so its famed for taking a spade to dig a spot to sit in the hot water!

    We chose to take the turn off to go back to Matamata via Otorohanga to Te Awamutu and then Cambridge road..beautiful views over Mt Pirongia enhanced by the evening light - you can also take the road to the Waitomo caves along the way here or down to the beach of Mokau - where the movie The Piano was made. There is also a gravel road through to Raglan not far after leaving Kawhia and along this gravel road are the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls.

    The affects of the afternoon light and sunset on the waters as the road took us back along the shores and bays of Kawhia harbour was just beautiful - couldnt resist stopping in several places to take more photos - and saw a few cranes and hawks in the process.

    Related to:
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    • Beaches

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    Art Gallery

    by carolynllew Written Feb 6, 2013

    A wonderful Art Gallery in an historic house "Fairholme" originally lived in by Thomas and Alice Baigent
    Fine Art Prints by Murray Hedwig
    Very friendly owners, both artists who know a lot about the area despite moving from Christchurch only 6 months ago.
    They are happy to help you find Gorge Creek walk...

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    • Architecture
    • Road Trip

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    Hobbiton!!

    by angiebabe Written Jan 4, 2013

    Well the majority of the world must surely know that the very popular trilogy of the Lord of the Rings and the recent Part 1 of the 2 part The Hobbit have been very proudly made here in a number of locations around New Zealand!!

    The location of the Hobbits village and shire in the storyline was decided upon after an aerial search by the also very proudly kiwi director Peter Jackson to be an area a few kms out of the Waikato town Matamata

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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    Auckland - beautiful city around Auckland harbour

    by angiebabe Written Dec 20, 2012

    Auckland is a beautiful city of about 1 million population spread out over a wide area around a beautiful harbour and water ways

    ...a slower paced city that has been becoming increasingly cosmopolitan over the years with its beautiful long summer days and nights being great for being outdoors

    ....many cafes and restaurants in lovely spots amongst the foliage and flora such as pohutukawa or kowhai, glorious when in bloom during spring and summer, that is native to NZ and prolific around Auckland, with beautiful views of old Victorian houses, beautiful beaches or water views or the islands or volcanoes that give the city character

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    Polynesian Spa

    by thegirlfromnewy Written Aug 6, 2012

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    My friend booked a spa experience and it included entry into the more expensive pools so I paid to use them as well. The sign board when you enter the spa advises that only approx 10% of visitiors use these pools so i was expecting a lovely quiet, relaxing experience.
    Upon entering we found a bus load of tourists already in the pools running from pool to pool in their underwear (not even bathers) and shouting across the pools. Definately not relaxing.

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    Tamaki Maori Village

    by thegirlfromnewy Updated Aug 6, 2012

    We did the Tamaki village and hangi dinner. Our bus driver was very entertaining, the village tour was informative and interactive. My favourite part was the hangi dinner, seeing where it is cooked and then getting to try it... yummmmm!
    We booked this tour through our hotel the afternoon of and paid on the night. Tour included pick up and drop off :)

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    Zorbinggggggggg

    by thegirlfromnewy Written Aug 6, 2012

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    We did the intermediate aqua zorb and whilst it was terrifying I am SO glad I did it. You have the opportunity to purchase photes at the end and even get a free picture to upload to Facebook. Staff very friendly.
    Note- BYO towel or you will need to buy one

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    Go on great day- and half-day hikes

    by Kakapo2 Updated Apr 24, 2012

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    Every now and then somebody asks for great half- and full-day hikes in New Zealand. So now I post a list here, so I do not have to retype it every time the question pops up in the VT Forum.

    I will mark the hikes which are along the main tourist tracks with stars; the others are a bit too far off these tracks if, for example, you have only three weeks in New Zealand.



    North Island

    ***** The Tongariro Crossing Track surely is the most spectacular day hike in NZ.

    **** Once you are there, you could also take the chairlift up Mt. Ruapehu and then walk to the crater lake and back.

    - (Mt. Tarawera is the only one you cannot do on your own, only guided tour and have to pay for it - Maori land.)

    - Walk to the northern tip of Coromandel Peninsula

    - Mt. Taranaki (Egmont) - would be a five star walk but you will struggle to include it in a 3 week itinerary

    **** City-to-Sea Walk in Wellington (Island Bay to Karori)

    - Near Napier: Te Mata Peak and the walk to the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers (for the latter you have to get information about the tides, as you can only walk to the colony at low tide)



    South Island

    **** Abel Tasman Coastal Track (take water taxi to one of the northern beaches and walk down south to Marahau, so you do not have to hurry to a water taxi pick-up point later in the day)

    *** You can also walk a day or several hours at Farewell Spit, veeeery lonesome

    - Day hike into the Heaphy Track from the southern end (from Karamea; Kohaihai Bridge)

    - Nelson Lakes National Park: There are several great day walks, best up to the St. Arnaud Range, as no transportation is needed; with boat transport great hike to Angelus Hut and lake

    **** A day on the crater rim in the Port Hills above Christchurch (details on my Christchurch page)

    ***** Take ferry from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour, walk up Mt. Herbert and back (day hike from Christchurch)

    ***** (For Summit Walk on Banks Peninsula (starts/ends as Mt. Herbert walk) you would need transportation to the start/end at the Hilltop Tavern; you could take the morning bus named Akaroa Shuttle which could drop you off there)

    **** Another fabulous walk from Christchurch: Take bus to Gondola, get up there or walk up Bridle Path, from there to Evans Pass, Godley Head, Boulder Bay, Taylor's Mistake, Sumner, bus back to Chch city centre

    ***** Walk on one of the two West Coast glaciers (guided tours only!). If you are fit you should choose Franz Josef Glacier. (More info on my West Coast page)

    **** Copland Track as a return day hike from the West Coast (The entire hike is for very experienced hikers only)

    *** Alex Knob Walk with great views of West Coast and Franz Josef Glacier (access from glacier access road)

    ***** From The Divide (on the Milford Road) to the Key Summit and a bit further into the Routeburn Track and back (see my Milford Sound page)

    - Several good walks from Glenorchy (northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, 45 min from Queenstown), also at Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Skippers Canyon

    ***** From Mt. Cook Village: Mueller Hut, Hooker Valley - and finish off with a short walk to Tasman Lake which is full of floating icebergs

    ***** Lake Tekapo - Observatory - along the ridge, then down to the lake and from there back to the township

    *** Kaikoura Coastal Walk

    *** There are plenty of great day hikes in Arthur's Pass National Park,
    also from Hanmer Springs, Mt. Somers, to Mt. Sunday (castle location in Lord of the Rings), etc. etc.

    **** Fantastic walks in Mt. Aspiring National Park (from Wanaka), for example to Rob Roy Glacier. There are a few five star walks with splendid views, for example the walks starting at Diamond Lake (to Lake Wanaka viewpoint and Ridge Track).

    You can check details - and find more hikes you will have no time for LOL - on this website:

    http://www.doc.govt.nz



    * My star rating is focussed on great views and landscapes, not the scale of the mountains.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Gondola Ride to Port Hills

    by kharmencita Written Apr 12, 2012

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    To be at the Top of the World is always something amazing for me. So i didn´t miss riding on the Gondola way up to the upper part of the Land. With my Family it was perfect because we did lots of fun joyriding.

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    Fishing at Avon and Heathcote Rivers

    by kharmencita Updated Apr 12, 2012

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    On my visit i saw lots of young people going fishing at the Avon River and Heathcote Rivers. As one of the outdoor activities fishing is considered one of the favorite means to spend their leisure time while relaxing on the water grounds. Christchurch is surrounded by lots or rivers, lakes so that this makes it a paradise for hobby anglers.
    You can go fishing all the year round here and the access to both rivers are not hard to find.

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    360 Discovery Cruises

    by Tom_Fields Written Mar 28, 2012

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    Auckland's harbour is one of the most beautiful of any city. The 360 Discovery cruises include sightseeing cruises, trips out to Coromandel town, island cruises, and more. Mine was a basic narrated harbour tour, lasting about two hours. This is another good way to see a lot of the city in a fairly short time.

    The boat is comfortable, with plenty of seats and a modest snack bar.

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    Auckland Domain

    by Tom_Fields Written Mar 28, 2012

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    Surrounding the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a vast urban park known as the Auckland Domain. With miles of hiking trails, this is one of the city's foremost outdoor attractions. Be sure to visit the Wintergarden Complex, consisting of two greenhouses, formal gardens, and a fernery.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Zoo
    • Hiking and Walking

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New Zealand Things to Do

kiwi's Profile Photo

There is so much to do and something for everyone. Adventure sports, more relaxed activities and many water based adventures.

Lots of tracks for tramping (hiking) either day trips or...

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