Travel New Zealand
AOTEAROA – LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD
Backpacking and Wilderness Adventures New Zealand
New Zealand is every traveller’s dream – full of amazing backpacking tours and wilderness adventures. The country takes adventure tourism experiences seriously, after all, it is here in Queenstown that bungy jumping was invented.
Expect everything on our range of New Zealand adventures from snow-capped mountain peaks, crystal clear lakes and roaring rivers, to golden sand beaches and rugged remote coastlines – all made famous by the Lord of the Rings movies.
Travelling in New Zealand has a special place in the hearts of many adventure travellers. Who knows you might even see some Hobbits.
AucklandAuckland is New Zealand's largest city holding nearly one-quarter of the entire population. It is also one of the most spread out cities in the world making exploring difficult. However it is a beautiful city hugging the shores of its harbour and nestled between the hilly landscape sculpted by over 20 extinct volcanoes 0 the move obvious perhaps being Rangitoto which sits in the middle of the harbour. Make the most of your time in Auckland but getting just out of the city for areas such as Waiheke Island for its wine tasting and beaches, the Waitakeres for its natural bush lands and wild black sand West Coast beaches, or grab a bike and cycling around the bays for a summer ice-cream in one of the many bars and cafes.
CoromandelThe township of Coromandel itself is the gateway to the peninsula where artists and alternatives have made their home amongst the beautiful beaches and mountainous rainforests. Join the slow-down crowd and enjoy life sipping a late coffee in one of the fabulous cafes.
Coromandel BeachesThere are too many fantastic beaches along the Coromandel coast to mention. Hahei is known for its pink sand and underwater marine sanctuary, Whangamata for its fantastic surf, and Hot Water Beach for it's yup you guessed it - hot water! Dig a hole in the sand and make yourself a natural spa pool. Don't miss the opportunity to take a hike or sea kayak to the iconic Cathedral Cove.
HobbitonThis is perhaps the most famous village where no one lives in the whole world. Hobbiton is the original movie set of the Shire, where the Hobbits live, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Complete with a sheep farm, the hobbits' small homes, The Mill and the Green Dragon Inn, where you can have a real Hobbit ale.
RaglanRaglan is an amazing small beach full of arts and crafts in a really laid back environment. Raglan is also known in surf world for having arguably the longest left hand break in the world. It is the perfect place to learn to surf. In the harbour sea-kayaking and paddle boarding are really popular summer activities.
RotoruaRotorua may look normal when you drive through the streets, but once you get close, you can almost feel the ground bubbling under your feet, and you can certainly not escape the sulphur smell penetrating the air. Rotorua is alive with geo-thermal activity - bubbling hot mud, shooting geysers, and natural hot springs. Get your self immersed in a mineral hot pool and replenish your skin and your soul. Rotorua is also one of the hearts of traditional Maori culture in New Zealand. Explore the Buried Village and experience an incredibly rich cultural rooted in family and giving.
TaupoLake Taupo is the caldera of one of the largest volcanic eruptions to hit this planet. There are some that attribute the extinction of the dinosaurs to that eruption. In the summer the lake and it's name sake township are a playground for boating and water activities. To the south the Tongariro National Park provides a mountainous backdrop which is covered in snow in the winter.
Tongariro National ParkThe Tongariro National Park comprises of 3 active volcanoes: Tongariro; Ngauruhoe; and Ruapehu. In winter it is a playground for mountaineers and snow skiers. In the summer the full-day Tongariro Crossing hike is considered on of the best one-day walks in the world. One side of the park is lush native New Zealand forest while the other side is a stark bitter alpine desert. The scenery is stunning and certainly Peter Jackson thought so when he cast Mount Ngauruhoe as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Whanganui National ParkThe spectacular Whanganui River winds its way 290km through the Whanganui National Park carving itself through steep natural bush covered slopes and lunar like landscapes. It is the perfect playground for one-day and multi-day hiking, mountain biking, horse-trekking and kayaking.
WellingtonNew Zealand's capital city might take some ribbing from the rest of the nation but Wellington is hive of culture, history and nature. The food and cafe scene is amongst the best in the world (in fact Wellington is regularly rated as one of the top 3 cities in the world to live) and more recently the craft beer culture has explored. Visit the Te Papa Museum, take a cable car over the city, wander the seafront at Oriental bar or just grab one of those amazing beers and watch the world go by in a Cuba Street cafe. But hold on to your hat as the name Windy Wellington did not come about from the hot air from the resident politicians. The Cook Strait between the islands and the Southern Ocean are right there knocking on the harbour door.
PictonPicton is the gateway to the South Island for those arriving on the Cook Strait ferry. It is a quaint small harbour town nestled around the water edge. The harbour famously changes colour with the seasons and weather. Relax in one of the many cozy cafes, head out in to the Marlborough Sounds for a dolphin safari, go sea kayaking or visit the floating maritime museum.
MarahauMarahau is also the main gateway to Able Tasman National Park for your sea-kayaking or hiking adventures. Meaning windy in Maori, Marahau is a natural beauty, with a delicious beach at high-tide while at low-tide locals dig for pipis and clams to cook on the BBQ.
NelsonSunny Nelson is a popular city close the golden beaches of the Able Tasman National Park and the surrounding artisan villages like Takahe. There is a real artistic vibe in the city with great restaurants, craft beer and wine. Take a walk to the top of Botanical Hill to the "centre of New Zealand" for beautiful views of all of Nelson and Tasman Bay.
KaikouraThe name Kaikoura actually means "food from the sea" in Maori. And the coastal town of Kaikoura is plentiful for sea life - from birds to whales, dolphins, and seals. Located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean a deep water warm current stocks the shores with plenty of smaller fish that attracts the large ocean dwellers.Whale watching is the most popular activity but we highly recommend swimming with the wild dolphins or seals as even more fun!
ChristchurchThe central city of Christchurch was virtually completely flattened by an earthquake only 10 years ago. The rebuild has been astounding and today it is a modern vibrant city. Buzzing cafes and bars, mix with pedestrian areas in a unique combination of traditional English heritage and amazing modern architecture more akin to a Northern European city. The central city is flat making it the perfect place to explore by bike or electric scooter.
WestportWestport is the gateway town to the Wild West Coast. It has experienced its fair share of boom and bust as the economy centres largely around gold and coal mining in the surrounding hills. In the region around Westport try jet boating or white water rafting in the mighty Buller River or visit the rugged Cape Foulwind with views into the Tasman Sea.
PunakaikiThe coastline of Punakaiki is a natural phenomenon. Dense natural rainforests run down to a rugged coast made famous for the Pancake Rocks and blowholes. The Tasman Ocean is hard on the limestone cliffs carving out the rock in strata like pancakes.
Franz JosefFranz Josef feels like it is slowly being squeezed by the rainforests on the sides of the mighty southern alps into grasps of the Tasman Sea and the Southern Ocean. It is a lovely village perched almost precariously between the snow-covered high Alps and the wild West Coast. A hike to the receding Franz Josef Glacier is a must-do visiting New Zealand or choose the option to take a helicopter further up to explore the ice. Other hikes around the area are equally spectacular. If time permits a visit to the Okarito seal-colony on the coast is well worth the visit. New Zealand's glaciers are the faster receding glaciers in the world. Franz Josef glacier has retreated almost 10km in the last 30 years.
Fox GlacierLike Franz Josef the township of Fox Glacier is also nestled between the Southern Alps and the coast. A little more sleepy than its neighbour, Fox Glacier township has a relaxed atmosphere surrounded by beautiful natural walks toward the coast or an awesome hike up to the Fox Glacier headwall. An early morning trip to Lake Matheson for an Insta-moment to capture the glass-like lake with the reflections of the huge Southern Alps. Did you know the Southern Alps are longer than the French, Italian, Swiss and Austrian alps combined.
Aoraki Mount CookAoraki (sky-piercer) is the Maori name for Mount Cook which at 3,764 meters above sea level is New Zealand's highest mountain . The mountain stands out above all others as it sits at the head of the uniquely coloured Lake Pukaki. The light blue colour comes from the glacier moraine washed in to from the receding glaciers. An absolute must do is a hike into the Tasman Glacier terminal lake. It feels like time has stood still as icebergs sit motionless in the glacial waters - one just expects a dinosaur to go wandering across the skyline. There is the option to take a boat trip up close to the glacier headwall and icebergs. There are so many amazing hikes in the area including the beautiful Hooker Valley. In 1991 Mount Cook lost 10 metres in height as 14 million cubic metres of rock feel off the North Peak.
MakaroraMakarora is a naturally beautiful landscape of alps and valleys. It is the perfect place to explore the Mount Aspiring National Park either by jet boat up the Wilkins River, or by helicopter or light plane. A hike into the famous Blue Pools is really worth it - and we challenge you to take a swim in the freezing mountain waters.
QueenstownQueenstown is one of New Zealand's fastest growing cities. Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu it is the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world - home to bungy jumping, every form of rope swing, bridge jump, or mountain top descent. If there is something to jump, swing, dive, sail, jet boat or fly off - Queenstowners do it! Bring your wallet as there is a never ending array of adventure activities, international fashion shops and amazing bars and restaurants to blow any budget! There are so many cool hikes in the region including a climb up the highest mountain in the area - Ben Lomond. Take the skyline gondola up Bob's Peak and keep walking, but not before a few luge runs and then a crazy downhill mountain bike descent! There is simply never enough time to "do" Queenstown!
WanakaWanaka is the relaxed sister city to its boisterous neighbour, Queenstown. The lovely township sits in the sun beside a large lake which is perfect for summer water sports. To the north is the Mount Aspiring National Park which is named after the "Matterhorn of the South" - Mount Aspiring, New Zealand's second highest mountain, popular with mountaineers.
Milford SoundRegularly named as the world's top travel destination Milford Sound is a stunning fiord where cascading waterfalls tumble down the sides of soaring cliffs in to the deep dark sea below. In fact Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the eight wonder of the world. It is a full day trip from Queenstown if you are not staying in nearby Te Anau. Take a boat cruise past the towering Mitre Peak and into the sound or if time allows try an overnight kayaking trip. At the underwater observatory you can see the black corals that grow close to the surface of the Sound.
Lake TekapoLake Tekapo is the third of the big alpine lakes (Ohau and Lake Punakiki being the others) stretching along the Southern Alps. All three have amazing different blue colours - caused by the different rock flows from the alps into the lakes. Lake Tekapo boasts a stunning eye-catching turquoise colour. Right by the lake is the famous little Church of the Good Shepherd which is perhaps one of the most photographed icons in New Zealand.
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