New Zealand. The country that people dream of travelling to for years, making its way onto many a travel bucket list for its magnificent landscapes and range of exciting adventures to be undertaken. But it’s not all adventure and thrills, for the Southwestern Pacific country is brimming with a wide selection of activities to be undertaken, places to explore, wine to be sipped and culture to discover.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for a trip to this stunning country, then read on for our five reasons to visit New Zealand when the rules allow.
History and culture
History can be best learned through the geography of a place and also through the people that have lived there throughout the centuries, and New Zealand is one of those places where both have a lot to offer. Though it has a relatively short human history in comparison to other countries, it is certainly a rich and varied one.
From the Polynesian settlers, who developed the distinct Māori culture some 700 years ago to the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman, who happened upon the country in December 1642, to present day, there’s a lot to uncover. Head to the Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington for a more in depth look at the history of this wondrous place.
From majestic mountains to glistening lakes and great glaciers to breath-taking coastlines, it’s safe to say that the scenery New Zealand displays is a big draw for visitors here. You can choose how you want to spend your time in the great outdoors, whether that’s relaxing at the beach, taking a thrilling helicopter ride around some stunning locations, bungee jumping, abseiling, kayaking, heli-skiing, hiking, road-tripping and the like, there are so many ways to explore the surroundings.
If you fancy a challenge then take on one or more of the nine Great Walks, which are spread around the North and South Islands and also in Fiordland National Park or settle down at night and look at the sky for a dazzling display of the stars from Wellington’s Carter Observatory, Auckland Stardome or Mount John Observatory in Tekapo.
Entertainment and nightlife
A lot of emphasis is put on the scenery of this beautiful country, and it’s clear to see why, but that’s not all it has going for it, as once you have experienced the thrills of nature, you can head out and experience the thrills of the nightlife and entertainment across the board.
Queenstown, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington are all places that should make it onto your list for their range of clubs, bars and casinos, and while you may think that New Zealand is not necessarily known for its casinos, there are some great establishments to visit while you’re there.
SkyCity Casino in Auckland includes an extensive range of table games and slots in its location in the 328m Sky Tower, while Dunedin Casino expertly blends the old a new in its smaller setting following a recent revamp, and the SkyCity Casinos in Queenstown and Hamilton are worth a visit too. Of course, you don’t have to leave your hotel to enjoy some entertainment as you can check out the latest CasinoDeps sites for some online fun or head to your five-star hotel’s bar for a cocktail or two with your fellow travellers.
Wine and vineyards
Wine lovers will be in wine heaven here, and even if you’re not an aficionado of this nectar, you will surely enjoy days spent touring sprawling vineyards in beautiful locations and tasting some of the world’s finest New World wines as you relax in the sunshine. Flavourful Sauvignon Blanc and mellow Pinot Noir are big players here, but certain Merlots, Chardonnays and Rieslings can be a big hit too, while sparkling wines follow the Champagne model and often taste just as good. Mission Estates in Hawkes Bay and Cloudy Bay in Marlborough are popular vineyards to visit to sample some renowned wines and enjoy the blissful surroundings.
A real-life film set
You don’t have to be the biggest Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit fan to visit Hobbiton – Matamata, but it helps if you have an appreciation for the books or films as it’s a pretty special place to visit when you travel to New Zealand. Delve into the world of Bilbo, Frodo and friends and enjoy a guided tour of the film set, which depicts life in Hobbiton. And as you head out and about around the country, you may recognise many scenic spots which have been used as a backdrop in a variety of other films over the years including Karekare Beach in The Piano, Mount Taranaki in The Last Samurai, and Wellington and Lyall Bay in King Kong.