When TripAdvisor named New Zealand as the second best destination in the world for travel experiences, we were not surprised. Well, perhaps a little surprised that it didn’t come first, but Aotearoa is truly one of the most spectacular destinations in the world, and if you are looking to book a Winter 2018 or Spring 2019 holiday, we think NZ should be your number #1 choice.
With two islands to explore, endless sightseeing activities, and all the outdoor adventures you could possibly dream of, New Zealand is the perfect holiday destination for those who like to stay active, but there are plenty of places where you can just kick back, relax, and enjoy a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, and so you can do as much or as little as you like.
So, what should you be looking out for when planning your New Zealand Self-Drive Holiday? Well, you will have to plan your itinerary carefully if you are to fit everything in, but here are 10 Top Travel Experiences that you simply shouldn’t miss (in no particular order)…
- Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, South Island
Explore this magnificent World Heritage Site by boat, sea kayak or scenic flight, and indulge in the breathtaking scenery, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic fjords.
- Bay of Islands, North Island
Just a three-hour drive from Auckland, the Bay of Islands belongs on every New Zealand travel itinerary. With over 140 islands, it is the perfect location for sailing, water sports activities, marine life watching, and day dreaming.
- Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, South Island
The adventure capital Queenstown has much to offer the active traveller. During the winter months you can ski to your heart’s content, and in summer, you can swim in Lake Wakatipu, go jet boating, white water rafting, hiking, biking, bungee jumping and much, much more. The problem is, Queenstown is so beautiful that you may not want to leave – ever.
- Rotorua, North Island
Home of New Zealand’s boiling mud pools, steaming hot springs, and explosive geysers, Rotorua is rich in geothermal wonders and Maori history, but there’s a lot of sulphur around, and that makes it a tad smelly!
- Marlborough, South Island
If you love New World Wines, you simply must visit Marlborough. Some say this region produces the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world, and while Stellenbosch in South Africa would certainly challenge them for that title, I would be inclined to call it a tie.
- Kaikoura, South Island
A charming coastal village known for its exceptional seafood and abundance of sea life, Kaikoura is a must-visit for foodies and wildlife enthusiasts alike. There is also great hiking to be had in the area, so if you overindulge in freshly caught crayfish and mussels, you can easily walk it off!
- Coromandel Peninsula, North Island
On a clear day the colours here are quite simply breathtaking. You’ve got the turquoise ocean, the brightest blue skies, golden beaches, and an abundance of greenery that all blend together seamlessly like a picture-perfect postcard.
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers, South Island
What with global warming, it can be hard to find a glacier these days, but on New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll find two of them right next to each other. Well worth a visit, you can explore on foot (don’t forget you waterproofs) or take a guided hike through the frozen ice caves.
- Abel Tasman National Park, South Island
The perfect place to relax for a few days, the Abel Tasman National Park boasts the most incredible hiking routes, stunning rock formations, and the most magnificent panoramic views. Ideal for photographers, there’s plenty of wildlife and bird life here, and it’s one of the sunniest parts of NZ.
- Mount Cook National Park, South Island
It would be a shame to go all the way to New Zealand and not visit its highest peak – Mount Cook. A stunning destination for hiking, bird watching, photography, and stargazing, this incredible national park never fails to impress.