Things to Do In New Zealand

30 + Things to Do in New Zealand

New Zealand is the land of magic- there is magic in its seas, in hills and all trails and hikes. There is something to do for everyone- for a child, for a travel-enthusiast, for a nature-lover, for a couple on their honeymoon, or for a family looking to spend some quality time with each other. We believe its nearly impossible to list down all the things that one can see in New Zealand. But we also believe that there are certain things that just absolutely cannot be missed!

Here’s a list of 30+ things you can do in New Zealand-

1. Trek to a Volcanic Island

How many countries will offer you the chance to climb to a volcanic island?

New Zealand is home to Rangitoto Island, which also happens to be the country’s youngest island (at only 600 years old!). Save for the native bird families that you would spot here; this island is largely uninhabited. The peace, quiet, and the mesmerizing view over the Auckland islands is the reason so many tourists choose to take up the trek to the island. 

2. Dune Boarding at 90-Mile Beach

This is one of those activities that everyone must engage in, at least once in their life. The 90-Mile Beach offers a chance to boogie board down the dunes of pure white sand. Among other activities is surfing the left-hand breaks. 

Located at the northern tip of New Zealand’s north island, this 90-mile beach offers you uncountable miles and minutes of fun and adventure!

3. Sailing through the Bay of Islands

If you’re looking for something to ascertain your belief in the healing and rejuvenating power of nature, then sailing through the Bay of Islands is just what you need to do. From the face of it, Bay of Islands may seem like just a bunch of deserted islands and secluded beaches. But what it actually is, is a peace sanctuary where you can hire a boat, or a kayak, and become one with the never-ending clear blue waters.

4. See (and eat) the large colossal squid

Te Papa Museum in Wellington houses a 470-kg specimen of a colossal squid that was captured in the Antarctic waters in 2007. We insist you go check out the squid, not just because it really is something unique, but also because we want you to know what you’re signing up for when you visit Giapo (which you absolutely must!).

Giapo, an ice cream chain, known for creating the most unique ice creams in the world, have come up with the Colossal Squid ice cream, which is, literally, the squid ice cream. 

So, first, go see the squid at Wellington’s museum, and then go eat the squid at Auckland’s ice cream parlour!

5. Wine Tasting- can anyone really say no?

Each country has something that tourists remember it by. And New Zealand has many of these things- one of them is the wine. Would you really want to go around New Zealand without tasting its special wine? No, right? Then head to Waiheke Island, which is a day’s trip from Auckland City. It is super accessible by ferry and houses some super amazing award-winning vineyards.

6. Touring the Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is one of the most-visited places of New Zealand. Also called Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, this exquisite place is located on the Coromandel Peninsula. It’s isolated geographical location only adds to its surreal appeal. 

One of the best things about the Cathedral Cove is how one can reach the cove- one can take the route by the sea, through kayaking, or one can walk to the cove. Either way, one is amidst nature, with no noise or distractions. 

7. A Walk to Remember- to Auckland’s Highest Volcanic Cone

A short, but steep walk up the Mount Eden (in Auckland) will land you at the top of Auckland’s highest volcanic cone. If you don’t mind the slightly strenuous walk, you must make this trek to enjoy the almost sacred view of the entire Auckland city. 

8. Diy Spa at Hot Water Beach

We’ve said it before, and we will definitely say it again- New Zealand is awesome! Can you guess why? Well, entirely, and entirely because the country lets you create your own spa! 

The Hot Water Beach in Coromandel requires you to carry your own spade and dig up your own hot water pool, provided you reach there before or after two hours of the high hide.

9. Re Re Rock!

For long, Gisbornites were attracted to the Re Re Rock Slide. Families would flock to this remotely located Rock Slide with props to make this 200-metre slippery ride a smooth one. Body boats, lilos and the like were the favourites. A recent drone video shot in the area caused an internet sensation- the little-known Gisborne attraction grabbed the limelight. For those seeking adventure and thrill in New Zealand, this undoubtedly is one among the hot favourites. 

10. Explore the Maori Culture: 

Can you really say you’ve visited a country without exploring its culture like the locals?

For those wanting to immerse into the indigenous culture of New Zealand there are numerous attractions/options. Tasting a Hangi, seeing how powerful a Haka is, spending the night in a Marae, learning about Maori heritage at Te Papa, getting a green stone carved in Hokitika- are to name a few. For sure one finds oneself filled with an awe for the land and its people whichever way one chooses to learn about New Zealand's past.

11. Paddle your way to the Maori Rock Carvings

 For a little history and much fascination, visit the Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings. You can reach the caves by navigating through the calm waters of Lake Taupo and will not regret doing so once you set your eyes on these carvings.

12. Glow-in-the-dark has reached another level!

The Waitomo caves are famous not just in New Zealand but all over the world for the flow worms that inhabit the caves. The Arachnocampa luminosa (the species of glow worms) are found elsewhere in the country, too, but the Waitomo caves are the most easily accessible to visitors.

13. Watch the Kiwis:

If you’re not too keen on visiting wildlife sanctuaries or zoos, you can wander around the nature trails, forest walks and hikes to spot the much-loved kiwis.

14. Kaikoura’s humpback whales:

This is one activity enjoyed and cherished by tourist groups of all ages and demographics. Through the rich waters of the Kaikoura Canyon, one will find humpback whales on their migratory route from Antarctica. If you’re lucky, you may spot pods of orcas, too.

15. Beach Hopping in Abel Tasman National Park:

Endless clear, blue waters merging with the yellow and orange shades of the sky- this is exactly what the pristine coastline of New Zealand has to offer to you. The Abel Tasman National Park located at the tip of New Zealand’s South Island, has a group of beaches for everyone to explore and relax at. In fact, it has just so much to see that it would actually take you around five days to explore the entire coastal track of the park. Boat tours and kayak rides are very frequent sights in the area.

16. White River Rafting or Jet Boating- which one would you choose?

The Waiau Uwha river, near Hanmer Springs town, is known as the spot of adventures. You can choose the more conventional, family-friendly jet boat ride, or can opt the less-chosen but more thrilling white-water rafting. Both choices, nonetheless, will leave you asking for more, for they’re both experiences to remember. The icing on the cake are the expert drivers and very conversational guides.

17. Uncovering the Castle Hill:

Castle Hill, near Christchurch, gives tourists the option to make their own track to make it to the ethereal hill. Surrounding you will be lush greenery- nature in its true element. It’s a perfect spot to spend a few hours with nature, or with your loved ones, just walking around and enjoying the marvel that surrounds you.

18. The Inviting Moeraki Boulders:

When in the South Island, you cannot possibly leave without visiting the Moeraki Boulders. These boulders have a mysterious but fascinating vibe about them, and hence, attract almost all visitors’ attention. During low tides, its possible to climb up and sit over the boulders. During high tides, though, you can only see fleeting glimpses of these boulders from amidst the waves of the sea.

19. Would you, maybe, wanna swim with the smallest dolphins?

New Zealand is the parent country of Hector’s Dolphins- a (now endangered) dolphin species. Conservators have created a marine reserve at the mouth of the Akaroa Harbour. This safe haven is probably the best and the most convenient place for all tourists to look at and play with Hector’s dolphins.

20. The penguins await you!

Dunedin is home to Little Blue Penguins- the world’s smallest penguins. There are routine tours organized to watch these cute penguins. It’s not just tiny penguins that one can spot, but also the albatross for Dunedin is the only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross!

We’re still wondering just how and when one can have enough of it.

21. Catch a breadth at the Catlins:

The entire point of a vacation is to unwind, to rejuvenate. What better way, and which better place to do it at, other than Catlins- past the majestic waterfalls. This is absolute heaven for all nature lovers. 

Some even call it the South Island’s version of Cathedral Caves.

22. Visit New Zealand’s Castle

Located on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin’s Larnach Castle is the New Zealand’s Castle and one of the oldest buildings in the country. The castle, though famous as a venue for weddings and balls, is open year-round for tourists. If one wants a complete hands-on experience, they can also choose to spend a night or two in the castle. 

23. See the serene Southern Lights:

We’re sure you have heard about the Northern Lights. But, are you ready to see the Southern Lights? Well, New Zealand offers an amazing view of the Southern Lights- away from the hustle-bustle of major cities. There are increasing chances of spotting the southern Lights in remote locations like the Catlins, Steward Island and around Lake Tekapo.

24. Doubtful Sound- heard of it before?

Doubtful Sound is the one place where sound really is doubtful… which means that this is the place where you will find real solitude. This place is not very accessible- this makes it an even bigger advantage for people who just want some quiet time with nature. Spending time in this spot is an experience straight from a fairytale- impressive waterfalls, birdsongs and fresh greenery. 

25. Are you up for New Zealand’s Highest Bungy Jump?

The Nevis Bungy Jump is the most terrifying bungy jump of New Zealand, and for good reason. This jump requires a cable car ride to position the participant in the middle of the Nevis Valley in Queenstown. Once positioned, the participant then is dropped down through 134 metres into the Nevis River.

26. Walk through the Milford Track:

The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s greatest walking tracks. It was once called the ‘finest walk in the world’. This hike is not an easy one but is definitely worth it. The 53.3 km track takes around four days to complete, during which you will cover Fiordland National Park, Lake Te Anau and Sandfly Point. To avoid overcrowding and to make this experience memorable for all, the walker numbers are restricted.

27. Gold-hunting in Arrowtown:

Yes, it is completely okay to be excited and shocked at the subtitle. Arrowtown has a rich history- at one time, the area used to be flooded with miners looking to make their fortune. Now, though, Arrowtown has been replaced a different kind of gold fortune- the leaves of the trees in and around this town turn every shade of yellow and orange- creating a golden landscape of their own. If anything, this is the kind of fortune everyone must experience once in their life. 

28. Wanaka Tree!!

Is it possible for a tree to go upright in the middle of a lake? Why don’t you go take a look on your own while we try to figure out how this is even possible? The Wanaka Tree is located in the western corner of the Wanaka waterfront. While it may not have a rich history behind it, it surely is one of its kind and makes for great Instagram posts!

29. Walk the (iconic) track:

We call the walk through the Roys Peak ‘iconic’ simply because this trail has become such a sensation on the internet. Everyone likes what’s visually appealing, and this trail is definitely much more than that! This walk starts near Wanaka and takes one through 1500 metres of breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka, bays and mountains.

30. Glacier Hiking… Say what?!

While New Zealand is home to several glaciers, the two most famous ones are Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier near the West Coast of the South Island. Recent reports suggest that the rapid deterioration (yes, we feel your disappointment) has led to the closure of the hiking track. But, worry not- you can take a helicopter ride to the top of the glacier and walk on the giant iceberg! Now, that’s something to tell your grandchildren, yeah?

31. The Marvels of Mount Cook:

We’ve talked about so many spectacles of the Kiwi country. But, the one we’re going to tell you about now is certainly going to leave your jaw hanging when you see it. Mount Cook, or Aoraki as it is called in Maori, will leave you speechless and astounded with its snow-dusted peaks. This is New Zealand’s highest mountain and is surrounded by the Mount Cook National Park. There are also several short hikes for you to explore the area around and to bathe in the beauty of the forest.

32. Hop into Hobbiton:

Hobbiton is perhaps the most unique activity one could find in New Zealand! For all of you who are scratching your heads and wondering about what we’re actually talking about, Hobbiton is the real-life movie set that was featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie series. You can relive your favourite movies again and observe and appreciate all the little details that led to the grand experience you cherished on the big screen. This is, perhaps, our biggest recommendation, for all its little details involved.

Hmmm, that was quite a list. Worried about how you will do all of this and more? Well, leave the planning to us. We, at Thomas Cook, only need to know where you wish to go and what you want to do, and we guarantee to give you an adventurous and organized vacation through the beaches, hills and forests of New Zealand!

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