Things to do in New Zealand

by | Jan 13, 2022 | New Zealand Travel

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:

  1. Bungy jumping in Queenstown
  2. Go canyoning
  3. Kayak
  4. Zipline at Rotorua Canopy Tours
  5. Visit Zelandia
  6. Raft the Tongariro River 
  7. Take a dip in natural hot springs
  8. Swim at a New Zealand Beach
  9. Try a unique Kiwi Invention
  10. 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.

things to do in New zealand queenstown bungy
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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.

Things to do in new zealand canyonz
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3. Kayak

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.

kayak able tasman new zealand
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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.

things to do in new zealand rotorua
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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.

zelandia new zealand
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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.

things to do in new zealand rafting
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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.

Thermal pools Rotorua deals
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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!

Ngarunui_Beach
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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.

things to do in new zealand jet boat
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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.

hangi new zealand
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