New Zealand is legitimately known as an outdoor paradise, offering both winter and summer activities to feed adrenaline junkies and satisfy those looking for a leisurely stroll in the midst of nature’s wonders. If you’re planning a visit or if you can count yourself amongst the fortunate locals, the following activities deserve a prominent place on your bucket list.
For Those Not Afraid of the Dark: Waitomo Caves
Also known as the Glowworm Caves, Waitomo has been a leading attraction for over 125 years. It combines both a serious physical challenge and stunning natural beauty that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll be jumping into the depths of an underground lagoon, abseiling, black water tubing, – essentially fulfilling the adventurer’s side of you at every twist and turn.
The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co has split the tours according to your thirst for exploration meaning that you can push yourself to the limits while your more timid companions can take the lighter route. No matter which option you go for, you’ll be left with an experience worth writing home about.
For the Watersports Junkies: Waiheke Island
If you’ve ever dreamt of kayaking to a backdrop of incredible scenery, catching fish so big you’ll barely be able to pose for the picture, scuba diving in crystal clear waters, and finishing the day off with a premium bottle of local wine, Waiheke Island could not come closer to perfection.
It’s no surprise that this little slice of paradise is popular with both tourists and locals alike. It’s not uncommon to see companies out on team building exercises around the island, while adventure companies provide adrenaline junkies with their fix. The claim that Waiheke Island has everything is 100% genuine.
For a True Challenge: Franz Josef Glacier Hike
Named after the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, this glacier hike will have you feeling like Edmund Hillary and Heinrich Harrer rolled into one. The ideal experience for the intrepid explorer, it’s not for the faint of heart. The full-day hike will have you donning crampons, exploring the ice caves, and shuffling down ice walls that hark to scenes out of Games of Thrones.
The trip lasts a total of five hours and includes a helicopter ride to the locations otherwise not available to the witness of man, tuition from experts in the field, as well as an adrenaline high you won’t soon forget. If that sounds like just a little bit outside your comfort zone, you can also opt for more leisurely walks and treks in the same area.
For When Your Energy is Finally Sapped: Hobbiton, Home of the Hobbits
The real Middle Earth can be found in Waikato, in a setting that left the editing team without much need for CGI. The second Middle Earth trilogy has led to the home of the hobbits undergoing a complete renovation, to the point of being a truly living and breathing village.
The previous iteration still had the rolling hills and jaw-dropping landscape, but now visitors also get a true representation of what they were treated to on the silver screen. The gardens are meticulously kept, the exterior of the houses will have you expecting Frodo waiting around the corner, while the recently opened Green Dragon Inn welcomes you for a well-deserved beverage.
While the walks around Hobbiton aren’t exactly action-packed, this is nevertheless a great place for a light walk for when your body is licking its wounds from the aforementioned activities! It’s not just a tour of a former film set, but a bonafide Middle Earth experience you don’t want to miss.