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Why New Zealand should be on your list of places to visit in 2024

New Zealand should be on your list of places to visit in 2024 for its natural wonders, Maori culture, adventure sports, and culinary delights. From exploring national parks to experiencing traditional Maori performances, there is something for everyone in this breathtaking country. Here are the key takeaways:

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the Fiordland National Park and witness the remarkable Milford Sound
  • Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for stunning views
  • Visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington to immerse yourself in Maori culture
  • Try adventure sports like bungee jumping and skydiving
  • Indulge in New Zealand’s culinary delights like lamb and wines

The Natural Wonders of New Zealand

Exploring the Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is a true natural wonder, offering breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife. Known for its deep fiords, the park also boasts stunning alpine lakes, towering waterfalls, lush rainforests, and diverse flora and fauna. One of the must-do activities in the park is hiking the Lake Marian Track, a 10-kilometer trail that leads you to the most breathtaking alpine lake. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. If you’re up for an adventure, you can also try kayaking in Milford Sound, which allows you to get up close with the wildlife and experience the beauty of the sound from a different perspective. Don’t miss the chance to go on a Milford Sound cruise, where you can marvel at the majestic fiords and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. With so much to explore and discover, Fiordland National Park is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

If you only have limited time in New Zealand and are looking to do some hiking in the North Island, make it this one. You will not regret it. The hike can be done as a day trip straight from Lake Taupo with a roundtrip shuttle bus. Expect to spend at least 2 nights at Lake Taupo if you wish to do the hike.

Looking for a complete travel guide to the Tongariro Crossing? The Ultimate Hiking Guide To The Tongariro Crossing.

Witnessing the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand are a mesmerizing natural wonder that should not be missed. As you venture into the caves, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking sight – thousands of tiny glowworms illuminating the darkness like a starry night sky. These bioluminescent creatures create a magical ambiance that is truly unique. The caves are filled with intricate limestone formations, adding to the enchanting atmosphere. Exploring the caves is like stepping into a different world, where nature’s beauty takes center stage.

If you’re planning a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, here are a few tips to make the most of your experience:

  • Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking and climbing through the caves.
  • Bring a camera to capture the stunning glowworm display, but remember to turn off the flash to preserve the natural lighting.
  • Join a guided tour to learn more about the caves’ history and the fascinating life cycle of the glowworms.

Visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders.

Discovering the Remarkable Milford Sound

Take a cruise in Milford Sound and be in awe of this massive fiord. Spend a few days in Marlborough Sound to hike, take a cruise along the Sound, and go on a wine tour– this is one of the best wine regions in the country!

  1. Mount Cook National Park
    • Walk the Hooker Valley Track
    • Tackle Sound!

No trip to New Zealand is complete without a visit to the (unofficial) “8th Wonder of the World” – Milford Sound! Milford Sound is an incredible fiord offering scenery that I have never seen elsewhere in the world. To me, visiting Milford Sound shouldn’t be a few-hour activity, in fact, if you truly want to experience Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park you’re going to need a little more time! The road to Milford Sound from Te Anau has some pretty amazing places to visit! To see the highlights you’ll need at least a full day! Don’t worry, I have the perfect way to see it all below, but first, here are some important tips:

  • Book an organized tour to visit Milford Sound for a hassle-free experience.
  • The tour will take you on a full-day journey, including several photo stops along the Milford Road.

Take a cruise in Milford Sound and be in awe of this massive fiord. Spend a few days in Marlborough Sound to hike, take a cruise along the Sound, and go on a wine tour– this is one of the best wine regions in the country!

  1. Mount Cook National Park
    • Walk the Hooker Valley Track
    • Tackle Sound!

In Milford, there are lots of different kayaking tours. If you’re a keen kayaker then a half-day kayaking tour could be the best for you. However, if you’re like me and just want to experience it all then this cruise and kayaking tour with one hour of kayaking is perfect! Besides cruising through the impressive scenery and passing by waterfalls, this tour also stops at the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory where you’ll get up close with wildlife. Don’t worry about bringing food, a picnic lunch is provided! This was by far one of the most memorable experiences I had in New Zealand!

Take a cruise in Milford Sound and be in awe of this massive fiord. Spend a few days in Marlborough Sound to hike, take a cruise along the Sound, and go on a wine tour– this is one of the best wine regions in the country!

  1. Mount Cook National Park
    • Walk the Hooker Valley Track
    • Tackle Sound!

Visiting Milford Sound is a must-do when in New Zealand. The breathtaking scenery and unique experiences make it a truly unforgettable destination. Whether you choose to take a cruise, go kayaking, or explore the surrounding areas, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible time. So make sure to include Milford Sound in your travel plans and prepare to be amazed!

Immerse Yourself in Maori Culture

Attend a Traditional Maori Haka Performance

When visiting New Zealand, attending a Traditional Maori Haka Performance is a must-do experience. The traditional Māori haka is a powerful war dance that showcases the pride, strength, and unity of the Māori people. It is a captivating display of culture and tradition that will leave you in awe.

During the performance, you will witness the performers stomping their feet, slapping their chests, and chanting in a rhythmic and synchronized manner. The intensity and energy of the haka are truly mesmerizing.

Important Tip: Make sure to pay close attention to the facial expressions of the performers, as they play a significant role in conveying the emotions and meaning behind the haka.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Māori culture, Rotorua is the perfect place to immerse yourself. In addition to attending a haka performance, you can also visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, where you can explore exhibits that showcase the rich history and traditions of the Māori people.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to witness a Traditional Maori Haka Performance during your visit to New Zealand. It’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression and give you a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culture of the Māori people.

Visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington

When visiting Wellington, a trip to the Te Papa Museum is a must. Located on the city’s spectacular waterfront, this museum offers a fascinating insight into New Zealand’s rich history and culture. With free general admission, it’s a great way to spend a few hours exploring the exhibits and learning about the country’s heritage. From interactive displays to immersive experiences, the Te Papa Museum has something for everyone.

While at the museum, be sure to check out the Maori cultural exhibits. These displays showcase the art, traditions, and history of the Maori people, providing a deeper understanding of their culture. You can even attend a traditional Maori Haka performance, where you’ll witness the power and energy of this ancient dance.

For those interested in New Zealand’s natural wonders, the museum also features exhibits on the country’s unique flora and fauna. Learn about the diverse ecosystems and conservation efforts that make New Zealand such a special place.

If you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your visit, the museum’s gift shop offers a wide range of Maori arts and crafts, as well as books and other memorabilia. It’s the perfect place to find a unique memento of your time in Wellington.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply curious about New Zealand, a visit to the Te Papa Museum is a must-do when in Wellington. Immerse yourself in the country’s rich culture and heritage, and leave with a deeper appreciation for all that New Zealand has to offer.

Experience a Hangi Feast

When visiting New Zealand, a must-have experience is attending a traditional Hangi Feast. This unique Maori culinary tradition involves cooking food in an earth oven, known as a Hangi. The food, which typically includes meats like lamb and chicken, as well as vegetables, is wrapped in leaves and placed on hot stones in a pit dug into the ground. The pit is then covered with earth and left to cook for several hours, resulting in a delicious and tender meal.

During the Hangi Feast, you’ll have the opportunity to taste the flavors of traditional Maori cuisine and learn about the cultural significance of this cooking method. It’s not just about the food, but also about the communal gathering and sharing of a meal. The Hangi Feast is a celebration of Maori culture and a chance to connect with the local community.

To make the most of your Hangi Feast experience, here are some tips:

  • Arrive hungry and ready to indulge in the abundance of food.
  • Take the time to learn about the different dishes and their cultural significance.
  • Engage with the hosts and fellow guests to learn more about Maori traditions and customs.
  • Show respect for the food and the process by savoring each bite and appreciating the flavors.

As you savor the flavors of the Hangi Feast, you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also gain a deeper understanding of Maori culture and the importance of food in their traditions.

Learn the Art of Maori Carving

If you’re interested in learning about the rich Maori culture and their traditional art forms, a visit to New Zealand is a must. One of the fascinating aspects of Maori culture is their intricate wood carving. The Te Puia school, part of the NZ Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (NZMACI), offers courses in wood carving where you can learn the techniques and skills passed down through generations.

During the course, you’ll have the opportunity to work with skilled carvers and create your own unique piece of art. From learning about the different types of wood used to understanding the symbolism behind each carving, this experience will give you a deeper appreciation for Maori art and culture.

If you’re looking for a hands-on and immersive way to learn about Maori carving, the Te Puia school is the perfect place to start your journey. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, the instructors will guide you through the process and help you create a masterpiece that you can take home as a memento of your time in New Zealand.

Adventure Sports and Thrills

Bungee Jumping in Queenstown

Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, and for good reason. It offers a wide range of thrilling activities that are sure to get your heart racing. One of the most popular activities in Queenstown is bungee jumping. Imagine standing on the edge of a ledge, overlooking the stunning landscape of Queenstown, with the majestic Mt. Aspiring in the background. The adrenaline starts pumping as you take the leap and freefall towards the ground. Queenstown offers different options for bungee jumping, with jumps available at varying heights. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned thrill-seeker, there’s a jump that’s perfect for you. So, if you’re looking for an exhilarating experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime, bungee jumping in Queenstown is a must-do activity.

Skydiving over Lake Taupo

Skydiving is a thrilling activity that should be on every adrenaline junkie’s bucket list. And where better to experience it than in Queenstown, New Zealand? With its stunning natural beauty, including the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu, and the lush green landscape below, the views during your 30-60 seconds of freefall will be absolutely breathtaking. You have the option to choose between tandem jumps at 9,000 feet, 12,000 feet, or 15,000 feet, depending on your desired amount of time in the air and budget. Make sure to book your preferred option in advance to secure your spot for this unforgettable adventure.

If you’re looking for more heart-pounding activities in Queenstown, consider trying out jet boating. With numerous rivers and lakes in the area, you’ll be treated to incredible views as you speed through the water. It’s a thrilling and exhilarating experience that will leave you wanting more.

For those seeking an even higher adrenaline rush, bungee jumping is another popular activity in Queenstown. Leap off a platform and feel the rush of freefall before the bungee cord brings you back up. It’s an adrenaline-pumping experience that will test your courage and leave you with an incredible sense of accomplishment.

If you’re not a fan of heights but still want to experience the thrill of adventure, consider white water rafting in Rotorua. Navigate through the rapids of the Kaituna River and feel the rush of adrenaline as you conquer each wave. It’s a fun and exciting activity that will get your heart racing.

In summary, Queenstown is the ultimate destination for adrenaline junkies. Whether you choose to skydive, jet boat, bungee jump, or white water raft, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience filled with excitement and breathtaking views. So, pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in New Zealand.

White Water Rafting in Rotorua

White water rafting in Rotorua is an exhilarating adventure that will get your heart racing and your adrenaline pumping. The Kaituna River, located just outside of Rotorua, offers some of the best white water rafting in New Zealand. With its fast-flowing rapids and thrilling drops, it’s a must-do activity for adrenaline junkies.

As you navigate through the rapids, you’ll be surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including lush forests and towering cliffs. Keep an eye out for native wildlife, such as birds and fish, as you make your way down the river.

If you’re new to white water rafting, don’t worry! There are experienced guides who will provide you with all the necessary equipment and safety instructions. They’ll ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.

After an action-packed day of rafting, you can relax and unwind at one of the hot springs in Rotorua. The city is known for its geothermal activity, and soaking in a natural hot spring is the perfect way to soothe your muscles and rejuvenate your body.

So, if you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure in the heart of New Zealand, white water rafting in Rotorua is a must-do activity. Get ready to experience the thrill of conquering the rapids and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Ziplining through the Rotorua Redwoods

Ziplining through the Rotorua Redwoods is an exhilarating adventure that allows you to soar through the ancient native forest of New Zealand like never before. This must-do experience, voted TripAdvisor’s #11, offers a thrilling journey through the treetops, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. As you zip from one platform to another, you’ll feel the rush of adrenaline and the excitement of being immersed in nature. The Redwoods Forest Park in Rotorua is the perfect setting for this adventure, with its stunning and majestic trees that create a magical atmosphere. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a nature lover, ziplining through the Rotorua Redwoods is an activity that should not be missed during your visit to New Zealand in 2024.

Indulge in New Zealand’s Culinary Delights

Taste the Famous New Zealand Lamb

When it comes to culinary delights, New Zealand is famous for its lamb. The country’s lush green pastures provide the perfect environment for raising high-quality, flavorful lamb. Whether you prefer it grilled, roasted, or in a hearty stew, New Zealand lamb is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

  • Grilled Lamb Chops: Sink your teeth into tender, juicy lamb chops that have been marinated in a savory blend of herbs and spices. The smoky char from the grill adds an extra layer of flavor.
  • Roast Lamb Leg: Indulge in a classic Sunday roast with a succulent leg of lamb. Slow-roasted to perfection, the meat is tender and infused with rich flavors.
  • Lamb Curry: Warm up with a fragrant lamb curry, packed with aromatic spices and served with fluffy rice or naan bread.

For the ultimate lamb experience, head to one of New Zealand’s renowned restaurants that specialize in lamb dishes. You’ll be treated to expertly prepared meals that showcase the best of New Zealand’s culinary expertise.

Pro Tip: Pair your lamb dish with a glass of New Zealand’s finest red wine for a truly unforgettable dining experience.

Sample the Nation’s Finest Wines in Marlborough

Marlborough is a gorgeous place to go wine tasting. Did you know that the Marlborough wine region is one of the best wine regions in New Zealand, perhaps even in the entire Southern Hemisphere!? Well lucky for you, going wine tasting is one of the best things to do in Marlborough. There are a ton of great wineries, you could probably go on multiple wine tours and still not hit them all! We took this wine tour that hit 5 of the best wineries in the region, and I must say, I was quite impressed. The tour was limited to 11 people, which was great because we were able to move seamlessly without having to wait for a big group, and we had a nice minibus to enjoy the scenery as we drove around the region. Marlborough is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, but you’ll also find plenty of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. This tour includes a lunch stop (at your own expense) and a chocolate tasting on your way back to Picton, so it’s really treat after treat on this tour!

Try the Traditional Hangi

When visiting New Zealand, trying the traditional Hangi is a must-do experience. Hangi is a traditional Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. It’s not just about the food, it’s an integral part of Maori culture and heritage. The process involves marinating the food in a mixture of herbs and spices, then wrapping it in leaves and placing it on top of the heated rocks. The food is then covered with earth and left to cook slowly for several hours, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes. The Hangi feast typically includes a variety of meats, such as lamb, pork, and chicken, as well as vegetables like kumara (sweet potato) and pumpkin. It’s a communal dining experience that brings people together to share a delicious meal and learn about Maori traditions. Don’t miss the opportunity to try this unique culinary experience during your visit to New Zealand!

Savor the Creamy Pavlova Dessert

The creamy Pavlova dessert is a must-try when visiting New Zealand. This fluffy meringue dessert often comes with whipped cream, cut fruit, and contention. Its light and airy texture combined with the sweetness of the meringue and the freshness of the fruit make it a delightful treat for the taste buds. The Pavlova dessert is believed to have originated in New Zealand, although there is some debate with Australia claiming its invention as well. Regardless of its origins, it has become a beloved dessert in New Zealand and is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in this iconic dessert when you visit New Zealand!

Indulge in New Zealand‘s Culinary Delights

Don’t Miss Out on the Adventure of a Lifetime in New Zealand!

New Zealand is a destination that should be at the top of your travel wishlist for 2024. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural experiences, and thrilling adventures, it offers something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films or simply seeking to explore breathtaking natural wonders, New Zealand has it all. From hiking trails that will take your breath away to immersive visitor experiences, there’s no shortage of excitement and discovery. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in New Zealand!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the must-visit natural wonders in New Zealand?

Some of the must-visit natural wonders in New Zealand include Fiordland National Park, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, and Milford Sound.

What cultural experiences can I have in New Zealand?

You can attend a traditional Maori Haka performance, visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, experience a Hangi feast, and learn the art of Maori carving.

What adventure sports and thrills can I enjoy in New Zealand?

You can go bungee jumping in Queenstown, skydiving over Lake Taupo, white water rafting in Rotorua, and ziplining through the Rotorua Redwoods.

What culinary delights can I try in New Zealand?

You can taste the famous New Zealand lamb, sample the nation’s finest wines in Marlborough, try the traditional Hangi, and savor the creamy Pavlova dessert.

Is New Zealand expensive to visit?

New Zealand can be relatively expensive to visit, especially when it comes to accommodation and transportation. However, there are budget-friendly options available.

What is the best time to visit New Zealand?

The best time to visit New Zealand is during the summer months of December to February when the weather is warm and ideal for outdoor activities.