New Zealand is a country known to a lot of people, who wouldn’t? If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings movie you may have a fair idea on where this country is, or at least it sparked your interest to locate it in the world map. Aside from the movie of course, New Zealand is popular for so many things that every tourist or traveler cannot ignore this country in the southern hemisphere. A vacation in New Zealand is surely up there in everyone’s bucket list and the one’s who are lucky to cross this awesome place in their bucket list are well of course those who live there and those who really made it their goal to visit this fantastic place. All is not lost for those of you who weren’t able to visit this place but still is planning to cross this out in their bucket list, you just need to save up and really plan your travel to avoid any inconveniences, this includes looking for the most suitable flights to New Zealand.
New Zealand, particularly Auckland has a lot to offer, however if you do not plan your visit well then you might miss out on what may be the most important places and things to do in Auckland. Lucky for you though, we have listed the possible things to do in Auckland so that you may not have to build your own list. A small disclaimer, although this is quite a long list, we might still have missed some things that you can or should do while you are in New Zealand, just in case we did, please do not forget to suggest via the comment box below.
The First Thing To Do In New Zealand
What is the first thing to do in New Zealand well aside from landing at Auckland airport of course is to head from the airport to Auckland. If you do not have anyone fetching you at the airport you can go to the Auckland Central Business District area via the skybus, you do not have to worry on which time of the day you will be arriving at Auckland airport, the Skybus is in operation 24/7.
Once you have reached Auckland central business district and assuming that you have already booked your hotel prior to your arrival then all that’s left now is to explore the different New Zealand points of interest.
Here are the things you can do in Auckland:
- Taste The Most Incredible Ice Cream In The World
You can start your gastronomic journey in New Zealand with a dessert, specifically with an ice cream. But not just any ice cream because this ice cream is considered to be the best ice cream in the world! Where can you find the best ice cream in the world? Where is it located in New Zealand? The best ice cream in the world is Giapo Ice Cream and it is found at 12 Gore street, Britomart in Auckland New Zealand. Owned by Giapo Grazioli and his wife Annarosa, from its humble beginnings together, they turned Giapo into more than just an ice cream shop. By taking the traditional Gelato and adding several unconventional twists. At present, Giapo is challenging people’s expectations for ice cream. Through its R&D Kitchen, scientific triumphs and breakthroughs are achieved. For example, they were able to make chocolate glow by using bioluminescent bacteria. However, even with these scientific breakthroughs what is consistent about Giapo is the fact that every ice cream that comes out of their kitchen are truly delicious. Giapo’s vision is to turn Ice cream into something more, he aspires to invent novel and wonderful experiences to turn the most popular dessert food in the world, into something truly extraordinary. If you are traveling here, eating the best Ice Cream in the world should be on your list of things to do in Auckland. Eating this ice cream is more than just a wonderful journey of taste in your mouth but also an equally visually stunning adventure.
- Visit a park that sits on a volcanic cone
Cornwall Park is one of the breathing places for residents and tourists alike from a busy city in Auckland. Cornwall Park is located within New Zealand’s Maungakiekie volcano or also known as One Tree Hill. The volcanic minerals made the soil so rich that this park is now home to over 8000 trees. It is also because of the presence of these trees that Cornwall park is also the home to about 30 species of birds. For first time tourists, a visit to Cornwall park is an introduction to the rich natural resources and heritage of Auckland. The wide land area of this park provides for a myriad of activities. If you are into taking some relaxing nature walks or jog, you can take one of the many trails in Cornwall Park. A breathtaking view always keeps tourists and residents in awe of the wonders of nature, and in Cornwall Park you are rewarded with such view when you hike at the summit. If you plan to relax and just take it all in then you can just find a spot and sit down.
- Climb a Volcano or Two
One of those things that New Zealand has lots of are volcanoes. In the City of Auckland alone, there are about 50 volcanoes, this is because Auckland is built around a volcanic field and some of these volcanoes could be considered as Auckland points of interest. Reaching the summit of the volcanoes will reward you with an awesome view and it will surely make you realize that the 40-minute climb is all worth it. Among the volcanoes that you should definitely climb is Mount Eden. This volcano is the highest of all the mainland volcano and reaching the summit will give you an awesome view of Waitemata Harbor and a 360° View of the City of Auckland. To climb Mt. Eden or also known as Maungawhau you either walk or bike going to the summit, use of motorized vehicles have been prohibited to observe the respect that the place deserves as well as to prevent congestion of traffic. Close to Mt. Eden is the Auckland Domain – Pukekawa this volcano is one of the oldest in New Zealand and it offers more than a spectacular view of the surroundings once you are at the summit. This volcano also is home to the Auckland museum not to mention the fact that the park surrounding Pukekawa is the oldest park in New Zealand.
- Go Wild… for Wildlife
Flights to New Zealand would never be complete without having a glimpse of its abundant wildlife. Especially when you’re on a trip with your family, kids will surely enjoy having a field trip to the zoo. One of the most premier animal attractions that is perfect for this activity is the Auckland Zoo. It has the largest number of animals, exotic and native ones alike, in New Zealand. These members of the animal kingdom also have a wide roaming space which is a good thing for wild animals. Aside from leisure, the parents can also use this opportunity to make it a learning experience for their kids. Another way to discover the wildlife that you can add to your Auckland itinerary is by visiting the Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary. It is perfect for bird lovers and those who just love the outdoors in general. The conservation project located on Tiritiri Matangi Island which is in the Hauraki Gulf, is dubbed as one of the most exciting and important projects by the Department of Conservation. This two hundred twenty-hectare island which was once stripped of its bushes, is now sixty percent forested and inhabited by different by different species such as the kiwis, tuis, and South Island takahes among others. It boasts a hiking trail that adds to the excitement. As you go along the trail, not only will you enjoy forest bathing, which reportedly helps in reducing blood pressure, stress levels, and decreases the risk of heart attack among others. This conservatory is one of the places you can readily walk among the rare species and appreciate the beauty that is naturally present in our surroundings.
- Lighten up your World inside a Giant Neon Lamp
There’s a song that goes: “You would not believe your eyes, if ten million fireflies lit up the world as I fell asleep.” and if you can’t imagine what it would look like to be surrounded with ten million fireflies, don’t fret, because while you might not be able to watch that much fireflies in our sitting, the next best thing can be found in Auckland. One of the best things to do in New Zealand is watching thousands of glowworms illuminating a cave ceiling. A few miles south of Auckland, the Waitomo Glowworm Cave is a natural spectacle that many want to experience. You can go to the Glowworm Grotto through a boat ride, and then once you’re in the cave, you will feel as though you just walked right into a lava lamp. The Arachnocampa luminosa, is a fungus species that is unique in New Zealand. Maori call them the titiwai, which means lights that are reflected on the water. These glow worms’ light comes from an organ that is equivalent to the kidney of a human. The distinction of this organ from the organ of other insects is that the glowworm’s can produce blue-green light with it. When going into the cave, photography and videography of any kind are allowed, which can be a bummer, but it makes the experience extra special.
- Take on a Gastronomic Adventure
Food is always part of any travel experience, you really would not be able to truly visit a country if you haven’t tried any of their local dishes. So much for eating at different global franchise fast food, to truly experience a place you have to sample the delicacies of the country you are in. If you happen to visit New Zealand, you are really in for a treat because every dishes in this country is influenced by their culture. Since New Zealand is in the Pacific rim, seafood is truly one of the most abundant foods being served in this country. Not to mention of course their cheeses and lambs. You can also experience traditional Maori dishes and even forage for your own ingredients. Get to pick the bounty of the forests like the Piko-Piko or the Fern, Wood Ear mushrooms and whatever nature would provide during the season. This gastronomic adventure is not only an adventure for your taste buds but for you as well. While you forage for the ingredients of a traditional Maori dish you will also discover the beauty of New Zealand’s forests and bushes. Just like the adventure of flavors in your mouth as you taste a traditional Maori dish you also dive into an adventure as you explore, discover and forage for the ingredients. If you think foraging is already a full adventure, you are mistaken, because the traditional cooking process in itself is also a must see and experience. Before the arrival of the colonizers the Maori people had no cooking utensils, however, they were able to master the art of cooking with heated rocks in a pit oven or what is known as Hangi. The Hangi process includes the digging of the oven pit, heating of cooking stones and the laying down of the food for cooking and then covering it all up with soil to lock the heat, moisture, and flavor in. Although the steps may be simple enough in making a Hangi it is still something that you must do or experience if you are in New Zealand.
- Follow the Wine Trail
What is an excellent gastronomic experience without a great bottle of wine right? It’s a good thing that because of the richness of the New Zealand soil, vineyards are thriving in the different parts of New Zealand. In fact, the vineyards, wine, and wineries are so popular and well connected that you can actually follow the wine trail in New Zealand. It will take you several days to follow the wine trail from Napier to Blenheim. The Wine Trail is not only about visiting the wineries though, it is also about visiting, discovering and exploring beautiful places along the way. You can visit museums, taste local dishes and of course, the highlight of them all visit the different vineyards and wineries that New Zealand has to offer. One of the most popular places in the wine trail that you certainly must not miss a visit at Wairarapa, one of the most popular destinations for wine lovers because of the fact that this is where some of the world’s finest Pinot Noirs come from.
- Take in the beauty of the Night Sky
If you’re a fan of taking in the celestial bodies in the night sky, this is one experience you should never miss when you happen to grab flights to Auckland. The planetarium you went to during your field trip would not even come close to this one because this is the real thing. If you live near the city, it can be hard seeing the starry vistas because of light pollution. The glow from the lights can dim the distant heavenly bodies such as stars, and although we can see the moon because it’s close and big enough to be seen with the naked eye, you won’t be able to see the full potential the night canvas can offer you without the stars. Enter the Great Barrier Island. You can go to this island by riding a plane or a car ferry and you’re set for the day. During the morning, the island is perfect for nature lovers because of the untouched flora and fauna it has. You can appreciate wildlife, swim, surf, or kayak on its magnificent beaches. As the sun sets, it becomes one of the only three Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world because it is located at the far end of the Hauraki Gulf, without a reticulated supply of electricity and only relies on solar and generator power. This means that the island only has little to no light pollution, making it the perfect place to stargaze. Dark Sky Ambassadors, called the Good Heavens, arranges tours wherein they guide the guests through basic Astronomy and get them acquainted to the southern night skies. You can learn about the stars, constellations, planets, and other deep sky objects. This experience is perfect for those who loves learning about what is beyond our planet, and at the same time want to go off-grid to just enjoy solitude with the vast universe even just for a few hours. Just a reminder though that because the island enjoys no light pollution and wants to stay that way, they do not allow taking out sources of white light such as phones and torches.
- Get Lost in an Island that Was Once Lost
Rotoroa Island was once “lost” this is because the island was off-limits to everyone. The island was once a place of isolation for some who are under alcohol and drug rehabilitation under the care of the Salvation Army. Today, because of the efforts of some local philanthropists who leased the island from the Salvation army for 99-years. This island off the Waiheke island’s east coast is now a heritage and conservation estate. When you are in this island you can rediscover the island’s past especially during the times when it was an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center. Visit the chapel with 48 steps, where each step symbolizes the process of recovery from addiction. You can also tour the jail, schoolhouse and the cemetery which were already existing about a hundred of years ago. After taking a heritage walk, you can also do a nature walk along the islands’ different trails or maybe just do a leisure walk in one of the islands’ beautiful beaches. You can also relax with your family by enjoying a picnic by the beach and a fun and relaxing swim may also be added to your day’s itinerary.
- Experience Life in “Middle Earth”
For Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie fans out there experiencing life in “Middle Earth” would be an exciting experience. Well if you do not know yet, the movie was shot in New Zealand and the “Shire” is actually the Hobbiton Movie Set. Get to experience the life the hobbits in the Shire as you explore the Hobbiton Movie Set. The best part about it is that you can enjoy a drink or two at the famous Green Dragon Inn Bar or even sample the delicious dishes that The Shires Rest Cafe can offer. For a true Lord of the Rings fan, a tour of New Zealand is already a tour of the beautiful Middle Earth.
- Get Drunk in Adrenaline with Bungy
If you’re the kind of person who is looking for an experience that will put your adrenaline glands into overdrive, you probably already know that one of the best things to do in New Zealand is bungy jumping. If you hate cliffhangers, this is the place where you can take the jump. Thrill seekers can do some heartstopping activities such as bungy jumping in the famous Auckland Bridge. They can also scale the bridge for a fully-guided tour and appreciate a 360-degree panoramic view of Auckland. Taking a leap of faith 53 floors down a skyscraper is also something you might want to try. Lastly, if you only want to conquer your fear of heights or just want to know what it feels to be on top of the world, sky walking at the top of New Zealand’s tallest building might be something you want to put on your bucket list.
If you are dreaming or planning to have that New Zealand Holiday or just simply want to explore this beautiful country. The best way to explore it is to visit or experience the best that New Zealand has to offer, starting with these 11 exciting things to do in New Zealand.
Did we miss any exciting things to do in New Zealand? Share them via the comment section below.
- Taste The Most Incredible Ice Cream In The World