Set in the stunning blue-green region of the Northland Coast, this area contains one of the best marine parks in New Zealand, with 144 islands to be explored either by boat or on foot. Visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand's most historic site, famous for the Treaty between the Maori Chiefs and the British Crown. See Treaty House, the carved meeting house, and the world's largest ceremonial war canoe. Charter a boat, take a cruise or kayak through the bay, which abounds in whales, dolphins, seals and penguins. There’s no better way to see the area than from above on a helicopter or light plane. Or if you’d just prefer to relax, there are golf courses, gentle walks, art galleries and day spas for a change of pace.
Thanks to an earthquake in 1931, Napier is one of the purest Art Deco cityscapes in the world. Post-disaster, the city was rebuilt in the styles of the day – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier, a coastal town in the Hawkes’ Bay region, is famous for cool climate wines, fishing and adventure sports. You can also explore the city with an Art Deco bus tour.
The drive from Napier to Lake Taupo is also one of the most beautiful in the land.
Akaroa Harbour (the name is Maori for ‘Long Harbour’) in the South Island Canterbury region is now a cruise ship destination since the earthquakes rendered Lyttelton Harbour less suitable for large vessels. Princess Cruises are regular visitors, along with Celebrity Cruises and Carnival.
Picture a quaint French-inspired harbour town, with a deep, deep blue ocean and the craggy rock cliffs of an extinct volcano, now a deep sea inlet, not far away. The area’s nature tourism industry has thrived since the north-eastern corner of the harbour was approved as a new marine reserve in June 2014. The reserve protects whales, plants, the rare Hector’s dolphin, and many other marine species unique to New Zealand.
Experience the geothermal wonders of Rotorua – hot springs, boiling mud pools, mineral baths, steaming geysers and some of the most amazing silica terraces in the world. Visit New Zealand's best hot water beach at Lake Tarawera, accessible via launch cruise, and relax in the beautiful bubbling mineral spa surrounded by lush vegetation. Or if you prefer, relax in a health spa with all the comforts, such as the Polynesian Spa.
For something completely different, check out bell ringing – either listening or participating if you are experienced – in Wellington Cathedral, followed by lunch at one of the gourmet cafés close by.
New Zealand is famous for adventure travel and there are hundreds of activities guaranteed to get your pulse racing. Skydiving, ziplining, off-road driving, caving and of course bungee jumping, skiing and snow boarding – whatever your preference for thrills you are sure to find it here.
Try Re:start container mall in Christchurch – a popup mall featuring boutique retailers, banks, food carts and great coffee, all housed in beautiful, bright shipping containers.
Fergburger, Queenstown has arguably the best burgers in the Southern Hemisphere, while the re-opened C1 Espresso in Canterbury offers outstanding coffee, lots of gluten-free options, a beautiful open space to sit and free wi-fi. The café fulfils its eco-friendly promise with an electricity generator, organic beehives and both solar panels and a garden on the rooftop.
Swim with wild New Zealand fur seals in the shallow waters of the Kaikoura Peninsula.
Visit Zealandia, a unique eco-sanctuary for New Zealand’s native wildlife near Wellington. A pest-proof fence protects rare and shy species such as kākā (the playful forest parrot), tuatara (a reptilian living fossil), takahē, wētā, tūī and many more. Take a nocturnal tour to observe the shy kiwi bird on the forest floor.
Enjoy beautiful scenery at Kaikoura as well as some unforgettable whale and dolphin watching experiences.
Observe authentic Maori culture on one of New Zealand’s traditional maraes (tribal meeting grounds). In Northland, Auckland, Rotorua and Canterbury, you can take an organised tour to a marae. As well as the traditional Maori welcome, you'll hear Maori speeches and singing, see carved meeting houses, greet locals with the traditional pressing of noses and enjoy a hangi feast cooked in earth ovens.
New Zealand is on a major fault line, and seismic activity, sometimes severe, can occur without warning. The Christchurch earthquake in 2011 demolished much of the city, and some of the island’s hotspots experience frequent tremors. Check with the New Zealand Earthquake Commission for information on preparing yourself for an earthquake, volcanic eruption or tsunami.
Although Christchurch is being repaired, it will take many years to fully recover and in the meantime, many buildings are still damaged and some are unsafe. While these are marked, it is wise not to take unnecessary risks around them.
If you are driving through icy conditions, take care, especially if you are not used to driving through snow and ice. If chains are required, fit them early, or hire a 4-wheel drive so you don’t have to worry. Icy roads can be quite dangerous and accidents can occur. Also beware of avalanches and take note of any weather or avalanche warnings.
Adventure tourism is always risky. Safety standards may not be as rigorous as they are in Australia, and may vary between individual operators. Australians have been injured and even killed in the past while undertaking adventure activities with unsafe operators. Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance for the activities you’re planning and check to ensure that you are covered. You could also consider separate income protection and accident insurance.
In New Zealand, weather conditions can change quite quickly, especially in high altitude areas. Travellers in remote or high areas have been stranded in the past through sudden changes in weather leading to storms and flash flooding. Check forecasts and warnings before setting out.
Going to New Zealand? Get a quote from Worldcare Travel Insurance!
Worldcare Travel Insurance: Worldcare and Allianz Global Assistance are trading names of AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL 245631 which issues and manages travel insurance as agent of Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. We do not provide any advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial status or needs. Before making a decision please consider the Product Disclosure Statement. If you purchase a policy we receive a commission which is a percentage of your premium - ask us for more details before we provide you with any services on this product.
Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance: Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. See Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance Terms & Conditions for details. Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance is provided by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 trading as Allianz Global Assistance.