Sightseeing from a small plane or helicopter will give you the ultimate view of New Zealand’s spectacular geography.
You’ll be able to count the volcanic cones that are scattered across the face of Auckland; appreciate the immensity of Lake Taupo, a super volcano that’s just biding its time; and glimpse the beautiful glaciers that tumble down from the peaks of the Southern Alps.
Flying without the assistance of an engine is something that everybody should do at least once in a lifetime. It’s quiet, except for the sound of the wind, and it provides you with a whole new perspective of the world below.
There are two types of gliding experience available in New Zealand. Classic gliding in a two-seater glider (sometimes called a sailplane) and hang-gliding.
Is it time to make the big leap? Sky diving is one of those things that many people say they’re going to do "someday". Maybe that day is going to happen during your New Zealand vacation.
On a tandem skydive, where you’ll be strapped onto the front of a qualified jumpmaster, there’s plenty of time to admire the scenery on the way down. You can expect up to 60 seconds of free fall, followed by several minutes of peaceful floating before touchdown.
Off Road Driving Adventure
A wonderful by-product of New Zealand’s agricultural heritage is the comprehensive network of back-country roads and tracks. Some are gravel, some are dirt and others are not much more than a sheep trail up the hillside.
Off-roading in New Zealand could be anything from a chauffeur-driven safari in a luxury Land Rover to a self-drive scoot around the forest on a quad bike. Experiences vary enormously according to where you are in the country. In Northland you can traverse colossal sand dunes on Ninety Mile Beach; Waikato four-wheel-driving could be a blast in a rally car or a quad bike farm tour; Marlborough might see you chasing the good life on a high country sheep station; and Canterbury could mean an alpine adventure in the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Controlled descent is an enthralling way to interact with the landscape. And the great thing about abseiling, also called rappelling, is that it’s quite easy to learn. After a few lessons, you’ll be slipping down the rope like a master.
In some cases, abseiling is a mode of transport - a way to reach an unknown world. This is certainly the scenario in Waitomo, where it’s necessary to drop 100 meters down a huge tomo (hole) in the earth to reach the Lost World.
In the 1980s, kiwi entrepreneurs AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch started the world's first commercial bungee operation, with a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near the South Island alpine resort of Queenstown. Since then, bungee jumping has become the thrill of choice for thousands of travellers.
Operators around the country can help you to make the leap of faith from a variety of bridges, rail viaducts, specially constructed platforms and stadium roofs. There are various ways to personalize your jump - try partial immersion in water, a tandem jump or a night jump. New Zealand’s highest jump involves an awesome 134 meter plunge (440ft or 8 seconds of free fall) from a gondola suspended above a canyon.
For the world’s mountaineers, New Zealand is well and truly on the map. The Southern Alps were Sir Edmund Hillary’s training ground for his historic Everest climb in 1953. With 30 peaks taller than 3000 meters, and Aoraki/Mount Cook scraping the sky at 3753 meters, there’s no shortage of challenging summits to conquer.
However, most travellers don’t come to New Zealand with a suitcase full of crampons, carabineers and ice picks. That doesn’t mean mountaineering is out of the question. If you’ve always wanted to join an expedition and knock off a summit or two, or complete a mountain trek like the Ball Pass, experienced climbing instructors and guides are ready to help.
Cycling and Mountain Biking
When you come to New Zealand, chances are you’re looking forward to getting close to nature and saturating your senses in the scenery.
On two wheels you can cover a lot of ground and still see, hear and smell the natural world around you. With paddocks of sheep, acres of vines, rivers, mountains, lakes, the ocean, ancient forests, steaming sulphurous cauldrons and boiling pools of mud, there’s always something happening just on the other side of your sunglasses.
Whether you’re planning to make golf the focus of your holiday, or simply want to keep your hand in with a quick half-day on the greens, you’ll enjoy the scenic beauty and public accessibility of New Zealand’s golfing landscapes.
A great round of golf feeds the mind, the body and the soul. The magnificently designed courses cleverly test all ability levels and will certainly keep you thinking. You’ll be exercising in the clean fresh air and breathtaking panoramas of snow-capped mountains, lakes, forests or seascapes will provide the nicest kind of distraction.
Whether you’ve never felt snow before or you’re permanently in powder, New Zealand offers ski adventures that will keep you begging for "just one more run".
In the North Island there are two commercial ski fields (Turoa and Whakapapa) on Mount Ruapehu, an active volcanic cone.
In the south, the Southern Alps offer a large choice of ski fields with spectacular alpine scenery and lively resort towns for fun at the end of the day. The Remarkables, Cardrona, Treble Cone and Coronet Peak fields are centered on the resort towns of Queenstown and Wanaka. There’s also a Nordic skiing area near Wanaka, with 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails. The Mount Hutt field in Canterbury has the longest ski season in the country.
Super pipes, rails, boxes, hits and off-trail powder freedom are waiting for you on New Zealand’s stunning snowfields.
Whether you’re a complete novice or a hardened boarder in search of big air, you’re welcome on the slopes. Dedicated terrain parks offer a full range of challenges that are sure to test your courage.
When you stop to catch your breath, the scenery will completely fill your head. The North Island fields are on a live volcano and the South Island mountain ranges look out across green lowland valleys and clear blue lakes.
Getting out on the water is a big part of the New Zealand experience. As an island nation they have a non-stop coastline, and the mountainous interior provides hundreds of inland waterways that run to the sea.
There are islands, harbors, sounds, gulfs and beaches to be discovered and rivers, lakes, fiords and glaciers waiting to be explored.
You can hire a punt on an urban river; relax for days on a houseboat, motor yacht or sailing vessel; be your own captain or hire an experienced professional crew.
Exploring New Zealand’s magnificent coastline by paddle power is an exercise and pure enjoyment. You can discover the coastal regions of national parks. You can paddle around islands and along fiords. You can even paddle a traditional Maori waka.
With around 15,000 kilometers of coastline and hundreds of offshore islands, New Zealand offers divers a vast and diverse underwater landscape.
A network of substantial marine reserves protects an abundance of marine life in clean, clear waters. You can dive wrecks, drop-offs and sub-tropical reefs; explore huge kelp forests, swim with school fish or clown around with the seals.
Many of the popular spots are easily accessed from the mainland coast or you can take a boat to a remote reef or island. For something new, try the serenity of kayak diving or a descent after dark.
Rafting From a quiet drift through the forested wilderness to a white-knuckled, wide-eyed journey down turbulent rapids, rafting covers the full adventure spectrum.
The mountains of New Zealand’s interior feed a myriad of fast flowing rivers that run through the forests to the sea. Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters, while grade 5 is regarded as an extreme sport. Trips ranging from a couple of hours to five days are led by qualified rafting guides who comply with established safety codes. All gear and special clothing is provided.
There are several areas of New Zealand’s coastline that are ideal for sailing adventures. Sheltered harbors open out to inshore cruising grounds dotted with picturesque islands, and there are popular coastal journeys with harbor-like bays conveniently spaced less than a day’s sail apart.
You can charter a vessel and sail her yourself or opt for a skipper and crew. Skippered voyages range from an afternoon tea and sightseeing sail on the harbor to several days on an ocean-going maxi racing yacht.
In New Zealand you’re always close to the sea, and chances are there’s a great surf break not far along the coast.
If you’ve thought about learning to surf, but never found the time, a New Zealand holiday is your perfect opportunity. Sign up for lessons at one of the surf schools and you’ll arrive back home with a whole new set of skills.
If you already know how to surf, there are beach, reef, point and river-mouth breaks that will keep you busy for hours.
Windsurfing and Kite Surfing
Harnessing the energy of the wind to skim across the water is a very satisfying way to get close to nature, and it’s also a huge amount of fun. New Zealand’s stunning coastal and lake side scenery makes this sport all the more enjoyable.
Whether your preference is to explore calm inland waterways, chop jump across a harbor or wave sail off the face of a roller, there’s a perfect location waiting for you.
Board instructors are available at most of the popular windsurfing areas, which include the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin.
Unlike its close cousin paragliding, parasailing is an airborne adventure that absolute beginners can enjoy without having to be strapped to an instructor.
Parasailing involves being towed behind a fast moving boat while you're attached to a parachute. When the driver accelerates, you ascend into the air from a launching platform at the back of the boat. It's a flying experience that promises blockbuster views of the surrounding area and enough adrenalin to keep you buzzing for the whole day. Most people choose a flight to 800 feet, but you can fly as high as 1200 feet. Getting dunked in the water is optional.
Arts and Crafts
Having the time to browse art galleries and craft studios is one of the joys of travel. In New Zealand you get the added bonus of an art-rich indigenous culture to discover.
Traditional Maori crafts include weaving, carving and te moko (tattooing). In Rotorua you can watch highly skilled Maori wood carvers and flax weavers at work, and there are many quality galleries where you can purchase your own taonga (precious treasure) to take home.
In certain parts of New Zealand - Nelson, Waiheke Island and Coromandel for example - there are high concentrations of resident creatives. Their work is for sale at art shops and weekend markets, and some welcome visitors into their studios.
If you get the opportunity, rolling up your sleeves to create your own artwork is a deeply satisfying experience. Whether it’s a bone carving, an oil painting or a hand-finished ceramic, your self-made masterpiece will become one of your most prized souvenirs.
Art galleries are the window to New Zealand’s soul. They reflect something of where they’ve been and where they’re going.
In major public art galleries - found in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin - you can browse historic collections that take you back to the 1800s, when the country was undergoing its most significant transformation. Modern works are also featured - keep an eye out for works by Hotere and McCahon, two of the most acclaimed contemporary artists. Public galleries focus on regional artists, but they also have impressive national and international collections.
Dealer galleries can be found throughout the country, and they represent a chance to take home an enduring reminder of your New Zealand holiday. Most galleries are more than happy to arrange safe shipping for your treasure. You should also look for road signs advertising artists’ studios - you’ll get to meet the artist and you might have the chance to watch art in the making.
From the very first days of settlement, amateur actors and actresses have been a feature of New Zealand society. In Auckland, Wellington and Nelson, small companies of players sometimes performed to assist charities such as the ‘Widow and Orphans' Fund’ or the ‘Suffering British Subjects in India’. During the mid-1880s, when British regiments were stationed there, garrison theatres were built and soldier-actors staged many plays.
The 20 years between the world wars saw the emergence of amateur theatre as it is still produced today. Repertory societies appeared in most of the country’s towns and cities. While not all of these societies are still operating, it’s worth checking out the entertainment pages of any local newspaper for details about current productions.
A number of professional theatre companies have emerged in recent years, particularly in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. Their productions range from children’s pantomimes through to the bravest experimental works.
Whether you're an amateur or a professional, New Zealand is a photographer's paradise. Mountains and fiords, wild beaches and mysterious forests, farmland and wilderness, wildlife and nightlife - you'll find an incredibly diverse range of targets for your lens.
In summer the landscape is bathed in warm, golden light and the evenings are long - in the far south it doesn't get dark until 10pm. Bleached grass contrasts strongly with vivid blue skies and deep green forests.
Autumn announces its arrival with dramatic displays of yellow, gold and red. Although New Zealand's native forest is evergreen, trees planted by early settlers put on a grand display along roadsides and rivers.
When winter arrives, the Southern Alps wear a cloak of snow. Mornings and evenings are painted with purple, pink and mauve. Mountains, glaciers, mist and icy rivers will keep you enthralled.
Spring is spritzed with rainfall. Fern fronds unfurl in the forest, daffodils brighten parks and gardens, waterfalls are full to bursting and wildlife colonies welcome new arrivals.
A specialized photography tour will give you the time and encouragement you need to capture New Zealand's remarkable beauty and distinctive culture.
With more than 9,300 kilometers of coastline, New Zealand knows all the moods of the sea. On the east coast the Pacific Ocean plays along bays and beaches where white sand, surf and calm harbors provide enormous scope for fun. On the west coast the Tasman Sea, notoriously wild, breaks against rugged cliffs, weathered rocks and long, soulful stretches of black sand.
If you’re an ocean-loving person, there are road journeys that will keep you in touch with the sea every step of the way. Northland has the Twin Coast Discovery Highway, a touring route that includes both the east and west coasts. In the far south, the trip along the Catlins coast is famously photogenic. Taranaki’s Surf Highway 45 is a west coast experience for people who want to find some of the best surf breaks in the country.
Pack your sandals, shorts and sunblock, and always be prepared for spontaneous picnics. Wherever you are in New Zealand, you’re never far from a day at the beach.
New Zealand has an incredibly rich and dynamic history and culture. It is thought that only the birds lived there before around 1400 AD so all of the human history is fairly recent. Maori heritage in particular is as much about the here and now as it is about the past. Yes, you can learn a lot about this amazing culture by visiting many of the museums and art galleries but you can also do so simply by pulling up a chair and sharing a quiet moment with someone who will quite likely be able to trace their lineage (whakapapa) back to the very first canoes to ever land in New Zealand.
From the stirring emotion of the Haka to the thriving and often whacky, kitsch and eccentric art known as Kiwiana – Zealand’s culture, arts, music and history are not simply locked away in museums – they’re everywhere you look.
If you are thinking about visiting with your family, you can be confident that New Zealand has a wide range of activities to keep your children happy.
New Zealand's parks and large areas of un-spoilt wilderness are ideal places to expand your children's appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching, fruit picking and wildlife centers and zoos are just some of the choices available.
If you are visiting the larger centers, you will find a range of themed attractions including Rainbow's End (Auckland), Splash Planet (Hastings), Marine Land (Napier) and the International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch). Te Papa, New Zealand's interactive national museum, has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including Story Place, a haven for small children.
Most family restaurants have children’s' menus and high chairs. Many cafes also have high chairs, and a toy basket to amuse babies and toddlers is becoming increasingly common in both cafes and shops. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks. Adventure play lands such as Chipmunks or Lollipop's Play lands are always popular with the very young — these can be found in most main centers.
If you’re a pleasure-seeking traveler you could navigate your way around New Zealand on the food and wine alone. Every region has its specialties. In the far north, its award-winning cheeses, sub-tropical fruit and the freshest fish. In Rotorua you can try the unique Maori cuisine, the hangi; smoky food cooked in an earth oven. In Central Otago, lamb partnered with a beautiful pinot noir will have you reaching for superlatives while, in Marlborough, you can savor some of the world’s best sauvignon blanc matched with local scallops or green-lipped mussels.
In the restaurants and cafes the chefs have embraced these local foods and they play with the flavors producing a very distinct Pacific Rim cuisine.
That love of food is not just limited to restaurants. You’re just as likely to find it in people’s houses, on their barbecues and definitely at the wine and food festivals. These festivals bring together the best of a region’s delicacies – the food and the wine – and people come from all over to drink, taste, laugh and listen to music. And if you want something a little different, the West Coast’s Wildfoods Festival might be what you’re looking for, whether it’s wild pork or venison or, indeed, a crunchy huhu grub.
If you want to understand what makes New Zealand tick, visit museums wherever you go. Finding out the why, where, how and who in any town or city adds an extra layer to your travel experience.
Each of the major museums has its own specialties. Auckland Museum is known for an impressive collection of Maori and Polynesian artifacts; Te Papa in Wellington offers a very modern, and often interactive, learning experience; Canterbury Museum has a strong focus on Antarctica; Otago Museum in Dunedin takes an in-depth look at the natural and social history of the South Island. The provincial cities also have plenty to show you - check out Puke Ariki in New Plymouth and the wearable art museum in Nelson.
Small museums also deserve your attention, because they’re often eccentric and surprising. Kauri trees, coal and gold mining, cable cars, caves, toys, volcanic eruptions, army equipment, boats, trains and planes - the subject matter is wonderfully diverse.
New Zealand is a young country. A thousand years ago man was not there. It was a land of forests, mountains and beaches, untamed and untouched.
If you want to discover the natural soul of New Zealand, there are no better places to go than the spectacular National Parks. The National Parks are the real gems of this country, preserving the natural heritage, the forests, the wildlife and the landscapes, close to – and in some cases, exactly – as it was before man was there.
There are 14 National Parks throughout New Zealand; Te Urewera, Whanganui and Egmont in the North Island, and Abel Tasman, Kahurangi, Nelson Lakes, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, Fiordland, Paparoa, Arthur's Pass, Aoraki/Mount Cook in the South Island. There's also Rakiura National Park in Stewart Island. Each one will take you on a different journey through the wonders of nature.
North Island National Parks
Te Urewera National Park, between the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, is famous for its remote, rugged forest and lakes. Includes the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk and contains a full complement of North Island native forest birds (except weka).
Tongariro, the first national park in New Zealand and closest to Auckland is a dual World Heritage area recognizing its important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features. A place of extremes and surprises, from herb fields to forests, from tranquil lakes to desert-like plateau and active volcanoes. Features the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk.
Whanganui National Park protects the Whanganui River running from the mountains in the central North Island to the Tasman Sea. Tramping tracks through wild lowland forests and river trips down the mighty Whanganui are popular activities. The area has a unique history and Maori culture is an important part of the park experience. The Whanganui Journey is part of the Great Walks network.
Egmont National Park on the North Island’s West Coast is dominated by the 2518m high volcanic peak of Mt Taranaki (also known as Mt Egmont). A challenging climb offers spectacular views or there are more relaxing walks through verdant forest to waterfalls, wetlands and excellent viewpoints.
South Island National Parks
Abel Tasman, Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes National Park are all within a few hour’s drive from Nelson at the top of the South Island.
Abel Tasman National Park is known as the finest coastal walk in the country with golden beaches and sculptured granite cliffs surrounded by diverse native forest. It also has a mild climate and is a good place to visit at any time of the year. There is an inland track and the Abel Tasman Coast Track Great Walk.
Kahurangi National Park covers the West Coast at the top of the South Island. It protects wonderfully diverse natural features including untracked wilderness and a wonderful network of tracks exploring wild rivers, high plateau, alpine herb fields and coastal forests.
Nelson Lakes National Park protects the northern-most Southern Alps. The park offers tranquil beech forest, craggy mountains, clear streams and lakes both big and small.
Westland, Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks form the South-West New Zealand World Heritage Area preserving unique geology, rare flora and fauna and a wonderful history.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park extends from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps to the rugged and remote beaches of the wild West Coast. It is an area of magnificent primeval vistas - snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests, tussock grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands and beaches.
Mount Aspiring National Park, straddling the southern end of the Southern Alps around Queenstown/Wanaka region is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers. The views are endless and unforgettable. The three largest of 100 glaciers in the region flank Mt. Aspiring itself.
Fiordland National Park covers the remote south-west corner of New Zealand and is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. It is an area where snow-capped mountains, rivers of ice, deep lakes, unbroken forests and tussock grasslands produce a landscape of exceptional beauty. Some of the best examples of animals and plants, which were once found on the ancient super-continent of Gondwana, still exist there. The Kepler, Milford and Routeburn tracks are Great Walks highlighting different aspects of this spectacular park. The Hollyford Track lies at the northern boundary with Mount Aspiring National Park.
Paparoa National Park on the West Coast is perhaps most famous for the Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Dolomite Point, near the settlement of Punakaiki. Luxuriant coastal forest, limestone cliffs and canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, are all packed into one national park.
Arthur's Pass National Park straddles the main divide in the heart of the Southern Alps between Canterbury and the West Coast. A park of contrasts, with dry beech/tawhai forest in the east, luxuriant rainforest on western slopes, and a historic highway and railway running through the middle.
Aoraki/Mount Cook in the center of the South Island is New Zealand's great alpine park. It has the highest mountains and the largest glaciers. Aoraki/Mount Cook Village and all visitors to the park are dwarfed by the immensity of the landscape that surrounds them.
Rakiura National Park makes up about 85 percent of Stewart Island/Rakiura. Situated only 30 kilometers south west of Bluff, between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south, it could well be in another part of the world. Visitors can explore pristine beaches, sheltered inlets, and coastal forest, and see seals, penguins, kiwi, weka and many other birds. There are also opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating, cruises and scenic flights. The Rakiura Track is a one of the Great Walks.
New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific Ocean and the country runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. There are two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, with a third smaller island in the south, Stewart Island.
New Zealand’s geographical position has resulted in a unique landscape and an unrivalled variety of landforms. In a couple of day’s drive, you can see everything from snow-topped mountain ranges to sandy beaches, lush rainforests, glaciers and fiords, and active volcanoes. These environments lend themselves to many outdoor pursuits such as skiing, diving, hiking, kayaking, horse riding and sailing.
New Zealand is an un-crowded country. It has a diverse multi-cultural population of just 4 million people and a rich history. Maori were New Zealand’s first settlers, arriving there about 1,000 years ago. It was first discovered by Europeans in 1642 but it wasn’t until 1769 that it was colonized and claimed by Britain. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, establishing the country as a nation.
In any holiday, a percentage of your time will be spent shopping. From browsing resort town boutiques to wandering around artsy-craftsy markets, it’s a way to wind down after adventure activities or kill time before a restaurant booking. Maybe you’ll have a list of people to buy gifts for, or maybe you just want to find something special for yourself. Either way, you’ll discover that souvenir shopping here goes way beyond tea towels and tee shirts.
In the Souvenir Shops
Shops that are purpose-built for souvenir shopping often sell New Zealand-made products that you simply won’t find in ordinary stores, for example, possum merino knitwear which is from the fur and wool of two introduced species that thrive in New Zealand (brush tail possums and merino sheep). Possum-merino yarn is light, soft and very resilient. It looks beautiful, doesn’t pill and holds its shape. Another souvenir shopping specialty is sheepskin footwear. You’ll find slippers and boots for all ages in almost every color of the rainbow.
Wood, Glass and Jade
Whether you love the shiny purity of art glass, the down-to-earth beauty of wood or the translucent gleam of jade, talented artists will tempt you with their creations.
Handmade wooden photo albums are hugely popular with travellers - the perfect way to display your holiday pictures. Bowls, puzzles and candleholders are some of the other things that look good in wood. Wood studios that use native timbers such as kauri, rimu and totara can be found throughout the country. In particular, try to visit the shop associated with the Matakohe Kauri Museum in Northland. On the west coast of the South Island, look for the House of Wood in Hokitika.
Hokitika is also the place to shop for New Zealand pounamu (jade), because it’s sourced from the local rivers. Master carvers work the stone to craft jewelry and beautiful ornaments. Pounamu has special significance for New Zealand’s Maori people; in times past they used it to make tools, weapons and adornments.
Glass art has forged a strong culture in Nelson, where the Höglund art glass studio is based. Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg Hoglund have worked together as a team for more than three decades to create glass artwork that has earned them worldwide praise. You’ll also find art glass studios in Rotorua, Hokitika, Taupo and Geraldine.
While you can shop for New Zealand designer clothes in the UK, Europe, Japan and USA, the experience is more satisfying down here. Take Karen Walker, for example. Her clothes sell all over the world, but in Auckland and Wellington you can flick through the racks at a genuine Karen Walker store.
There are many other local designers to discover on your New Zealand holiday. Dunedin is home to Nom D - a label known for its dark, wittily somber look. Laurie Foon, with her Starfish label, epitomizes Wellington’s passion for fashion. In Auckland you’re on the home turf of Trelise Cooper, Zambesi, World and Workshop - each one fabulous in its own way.
One accomplished New Zealand designer has not succumbed to the lure of the city - Annah Stretton’s business in based in Morrinsville, a country town between Auckland and Hamilton. Here you can shop at her outlet store and enjoy the menu at her fashion-friendly eatery, Café Frock.
New Zealand’s very own premium skincare brand, Evolu, has a special focus on botanic therapies that are simple yet potent. You’ll find the Evolu range of face and body products at airport duty free stores, department stores and Life pharmacies. When you get home, the Evolu online shop will come in handy.
Living Nature is another botanic-inspired New Zealand beauty brand. Made with no preservatives or parabens, Living Nature products feature ingredients that are unique to NZ, such as manuka honey, totara extract and harakeke (flax) gel.
New Zealand Flavors
Although your own country’s border controls could limit the food products you take home, some things are unlikely to cause problems. Wine, for example. New Zealand’s wine regions are spread from Otago in the south to Ahipara in the North and each has its specialties. Tuck a few bottles into your luggage or, even better; get the wineries to freight cases straight to your home address.
Extra virgin avocado oil, plain or infused, is another treat to take home. Look for it in specialty food stores and on supermarket shelves. Also, keep an eye out for New Zealand manuka honey - it has amazing medicinal properties, particularly the brands that have a UMF (unique manuka factor) rating.
If you’re in New Zealand long enough to tune into the culture, you’ll find out about ‘kiwiana’ - everyday icons that have become part of who we are. Some classic examples of kiwiana that will fit easily into your luggage include loudly-checked Swanndri clothing, paua shell knick-knacks, Redband gumboots (as worn by countless Kiwi farmers) and the infamous ‘Buzzy Bee’ - a very noisy pull-along toy for toddlers. And if you’re cruising around a book store, hunt down the Edmonds Cookbook - the ultimate reference source for kiwiana eating.
Arty Weekend Markets
Art and craft markets are an opportunity to find something that’s one-of-a-kind. Usually, you’ll be dealing with the craftsperson who made the article, so you can ask questions about materials and techniques. Look for carving, fabric art, glass art, clothes, jewelry, pottery, photography, painting and wood art.
Markets to visit:
Queenstown - Saturdays on the lake front.
Nelson - 9am to 1pm in the Montgomery Square Carpark.
Christchurch, Arts Centre Weekend Market 10am - 4pm every Saturday and Sunday.
Wellington, cnr Cable & Taranaki Streets, Thursday to Sunday.
Hastings, Civic Square, Saturday 8am to 1pm.
Napier, Sound Shell on Marine Parade, Sunday 8.30am to 1.30pm.
Auckland, Aotea Square Markets, Friday and Saturday 10am to 6pm.
Auckland, Otara Market in Newbury Street, Saturday 6am to noon.
Kerikeri, Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market Books & More carpark off Hobson Ave, Sunday 8.30am to noon.
Sport is a national obsession in New Zealand, so be sure to pack your competitive spirit.
The climate and geography make the country a natural arena for all kinds of adventurous sporting pursuits - fishing, hunting, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding and much more. Every year several multisport endurance races lure competitors from all over the world - the Coast to Coast, which traverses the South Island, is the most well-known. Taupo’s annual Ironman triathlon is another fantastically scenic challenge.
As you probably know, they are also very big on winter team sports - rugby, netball, rugby league and hockey. If you’re a rugby player, and you’ve always wanted to train in the land of the All Blacks, there’s a great opportunity waiting for you in Rotorua.
The most popular summer spectator sport in New Zealand is cricket, especially the one-day games at international level. Other popular summer sports include sailing, motor racing, softball, tennis and horse-racing.