Things to do in New Zealand
New Zealand is well known for its breathtaking scenery, wonderful beaches and exciting adventure destinations. There are a lot of things to do in New Zealand and it can be hard to know where to start. As well as some suggestions for things to do in New Zealand we’ve also got a few tips so you don’t miss a single opportunity to explore our beautiful country!
Top things to do in New Zealand:
- Bungy jumping in Queenstown
- Go canyoning
- Zipline at Rotorua Canopy Tours
- Visit Zelandia
- Raft the Tongariro River
- Take a dip in natural hot springs
- Swim at a New Zealand Beach
- Try a unique Kiwi Invention
- Try some uniquely kiwi food
Top tip #1 – Make a bucket list
There are so many incredible New Zealand must dos, from adventure to relaxation and everything in between. Our first tip is to create your own Ultimate New Zealand bucket list full of things that you just don’t want to miss, then plan your travels around your bucket list so you don’t miss out on anything that you really want to experience.
1. Bungy jumping
New Zealand is home to the worlds first commercial bungy jump in Queenstown so this exhilarating rite of passage is a must for any kiwi bucket list. There are bungy jumps all over New Zealand – choose to freefall off the sky tower, the Auckland Harbour bridge, over stunning Lake Taupo or where it all began in Queenstown.
2. Go canyoning
Canyoning in the Coromandel is one of the unforgettable things to do in New Zealand. Experience abseiling, jumps, waterfalls and water slides as you descend 300m down Sleeping God Canyon. You’ll get the adrenaline pumping and be blown away by the incredible views.
Top tip #2 – Take a road trip
Travelling around in a car, van or camper is definitely the best way to see most of this beautiful country. Not only are you free to take your time and set your own pace as you tick off your list of things to do in New Zealand, but you can choose your own route and get off the beaten track.
You’ll love getting out onto the water in a kayak. There are a lot of awesome adventures that will take you to some pretty unique spots. Our top pick is kayaking around the Abel Tasman National Park through some of the clearest waters alongside lush native bush. There are a lot of great kayaking spots through out our beautiful country. You can kayak across Lake Taupo or visit the stunning Cathedral Cove which is only accessible by foot or by the sea.
4. Zipline at Rotorua Canopy Tours
This is an adventure everyone can get excited about and one of the best things to do in New Zealand, from the little ones to the adults and even the grandparents! You’ll experience New Zealand like never before as your professional kiwi guides take you on this award-winning nature adventure. Choose from two incredible tours and travel through ancient native forest via a network of ziplines, swing bridges, tree top platforms and other features that will blow you away. We guarantee this will be one adventure your family will talk about for years to come.
Top tip #3 – Add a little adventure
Experiencing New Zealand just wouldn’t be complete without some heart racing adventure activities. Even if things like sky diving isn’t your cup of tea there are lots of softer adventure activities that are suitable for all ages and fear levels. Don’t rule out a little adventure!
5. Visit Zelandia
See our beautiful native species and learn at thing or two at Zelandia. It’s the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary and is located just out of Wellington. They are doing some wonderful conservation work and they have the aim to restore the area to the way it was before humans arrived.
6. Tongariro River Rafting
See stunning New Zealand back country with your family on the top rafting experience in the North Island. Tongariro River Rafting is a great family bonding activity and with a minimum age of three it’s an adventure the whole family can get in to.
Top tip #4 – Don’t be afraid to get your hair wet
In New Zealand you’re never more than a few hours from our beautiful beaches and we also have lots of lakes and natural hot springs dotted all over the place. Getting into the water is a must no matter the season.
7. Take a dip in some natural hot springs
When looking for things to do in New Zealand, don’t forget New Zealand’s volcanic activity is responsible for the dramatic landscapes of the country, including the stunning Southern Alps, as well as our impressive volcanoes. One of the best things about this is the hot springs you can find all over the country – with plenty being in Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s geothermal ‘hot spots’.
Some of these naturally heated springs have been harnessed, and used to fill pools with constant fresh hot water. Others are still wild and untamed and are fringed by rainforest and dotted with boulders.
There is nothing better after a long day of ticking off amazing things to do in New Zealand than sinking into naturally hot mineral water and relaxing.
8. Swim at the beach (or just admire the views)
The incredibly varied and ever-changing coastline of New Zealand means that you can find spectacular beaches right around the country (we are an island nation, after all). Different regions and coasts have their own unique elements, from the wild black-sand surf beaches on the western coast off the Auckland region, to the calm, glittering, golden-sand bays of Abel Tasman National Park in the South Island. Plenty of our beaches are also located in wildlife and marine reserves, meaning that you will be sharing them with plenty of our local critters. Look out for penguins, fur seals, weka, piwakawaka and others, to name just a few!
If you are looking to get a taste of surfing, then there are plenty of breaks for all levels of experience. Raglan in the Waikato is New Zealand’s most famous surfing town, with plenty of beaches and breaks to choose from; although Ahipara in the far north would be a close second. In the South Island, St Clair and Kahutara (near Dunedin) are great spots – but make sure to bring your wetsuit, she’s pretty chilly!
Top tip #5 – Try something uniquely kiwi
There are many things that make New Zealand unique. When you’re exploring the country and adding to your list of things to do in New Zealand you’ve got to add some uniquely kiwi things like cultural experience, historical sights or seeing a kiwi. Even more so if your a New Zealander!
9. Try a unique Kiwi Invention
Us kiwis are seen as innovative and creative, something handed down from those who settled the land so far from their homes (and something we like to think we embody here at Canopy Tours!). It is no surprise then that a large number of kiwi inventions have caught the imagination of the world.
Some of these inventions have transformed tourism. If you decide to take the plunge and try one of these things to do in New Zealand like a bungy jump or zoom up a river on a jet boat tour you will be experiencing these awesome inventions first-hand.
10. Taste some Kiwi kai
New Zealand is not short on world-class chefs and restaurants. Names like Josh Emett, Peter Gordon and Simon Gault are instantly recognisable, and their restaurants are on the must-hit list for many foodies. However, there is a very different list of best kiwi foods – these are our ‘kiwi essentials’; and any born and bred New Zealander is likely to get nostalgic eating them!
Kiwi favourites include chocolate from Whittaker’s (voted New Zealand’s Most Iconic Brand), traditional Māori Hangi, and the ever popular meat pies. Sourced from supermarkets, bakeries, or the kitchens of locals, this is the real taste of New Zealand.