There are some holidays, locations and itineraries that you won’t even consider because of one factor – time. Either you can’t imagine how you’ll stuff in all that you want to do in the short time you have to spare, or you wonder if you’ll go out of your mind with boredom and too much time to spare. This is true of all holidays, but especially international holidays. All that effort, and will the location of your choice meet your expectations? If it’s New Zealand, the answer is a resounding yes. New Zealand is the kind of land that is blessed with beauty, graced with warm and welcoming smiles and gifted with incredible diversity. Be it the local Māori culture, the stunning national parks, the brightest of cities and the sweetest of small towns. From the vast and sprawling mainland to the tiny, scattered islands off the coast, New Zealand has much to offer. So, how much time can you surrender to New Zealand? A week or a few? Let’s find out.
It’s understandable if you don’t have too much time to spend – work, family and other commitments gobble up a lot of your free time. Can you really fit New Zealand into the time you can spare? Yes, if you’re smart about your plan and choose your activities accordingly. It’s going to be impossible to fit every part of New Zealand into one vacation, but you can always come back for more. For now, we’ve listed some of the places you cannot miss on your first trip to New Zealand.
Auckland: If you’re looking for a city with both character and charm, Auckland is it. The largest international airport is located in Auckland, so chances are you’ll land here before moving to your next location. So, what can Auckland offer? If you’re looking to take a leap of faith, Auckland has some incredible bungee jumping spots, namely Sky Tower and Harbour Bridge. Make sure you visit its spectacular beaches, like Piha, Bethells and Karekare. Go from fine dining, to the casual chomp at the city’s lively food scene. Weekly markets, art galleries and a sailing trip at the glorious harbour will make this trip a special one.
Hobbiton Movie Set: If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you cannot miss the Hobbiton Movie Set. Guided tours, fantastic banquets and incredible movie trivia – this is your chance to immerse yourself in the wonder of the Shire.
Rotorua: If you’re fascinated by Māori culture, then Rotorua should be a part of your itinerary! Attracting over 3.3 million visitors every year, Rotorua gives you a glimpse into the traditional life of New Zealand, with traditional shows and a Māori hangi feast. Furthermore, this is a stunning place of geothermal activity, lakes and is the home of the famous Zorbing adventure activity. Wrap up the entire experience with a soak at one of the cities world-famous Polynesian spa.
Waitomo Glowing Caves: Think you’ve seen everything you need to? Think again! Waitomo’s caves come alive with the blue-green twinkle of thousands and thousands of glow worms. Sail into the massive caverns of the Waitomo cave network where the dark is lit up, just like a starry sky at night.
Queenstown: Calling all adrenaline junkies! Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world. Skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, ziplining, paragliding, canyoning, skydiving, Heli Skiing, River surfing, jet boating – you name it, Queensland has it.
Arrowtown: If you’re visiting Queensland, you may as well stop at its equally famous cousin – Arrowtown. Where Queenstown teems with excitement, Arrowtown is all about history and heritage. The historic parts of the town have been well-preserved, and give you glimpses into a fascinating past – especially the discovery of Gold in the Arrow River. Step back into the present for a meal at one of the many cafes or restaurants or a live music concert at the local pubs. This is a chance to catch your breath after the rush of Queenstown, and to appreciate the older stories of the land.
Milford Sound: New Zealand isn’t shy about its beauty and Milford Sound is a prime example of that. Thundering waterfalls, majestic mountains, lush rainforests, rare wildlife and birds (including the only alpine parrot in the world), the view of the fiord from the water – everything here is designed to make your jaw drop. This is a worthy addition to your trip itinerary and will definitely be time well spent.
Franz Joseph Glacier Valley: New Zealand has served travellers with a variety of landscapes – beaches, mountains, fiords, wide plains, lush and tangled jungles. Now its time to add glaciers to that list. Take a glacier walk over the pristine white ribbon that is the glacier, explore the surrounding rainforest of Westland and even explore the lovely coastline in the area. Forests, glaciers and the coastline in one visit – how’s that for efficient?
Christchurch: Charm takes form in Christchurch. The iconic street art, the massive botanic gardens, the quiet Avon river, the eclectic collection of art at the Christchurch art gallery, the bustle of New Regent Street and the historic Isaac Theatre Royal are just some of the reasons to stop at Christchurch. The surrounding Arthur’s Pass National Park and the glimmering turquoise Lake Tekapo will make it so much harder to leave this part of New Zealand.
There are multiple must-see spots in New Zealand – the country is a treasure chest of incredible experiences. Whether you’re here for a week or more, New Zealand will keep offering you experience after experience to draw you in. That being said, narrowing down what to do can be difficult. That’s where we come in!
We understand that time on a holiday is like currency – it needs to be well spent. Your ideal stay in New Zealand can range from 9 nights / 10 days to 19 nights / 20 days. So, you can plan a quick getaway for a shorter winter vacation or a longer one for the summer – it’s entirely your choice. If you want to include more in your trips, curate your itinerary to suit your tastes, after all, this is your holiday!