01 Oct Travel Tip Tuesday – Destination Inspiration – New Zealand
Destination Inspiration: New Zealand. You know you’ve always wanted to go, right? New Zealand is a captivating country that truly has something for everyone – from wine aficionados to wildlife enthusiasts! Imagine hiking a glacier in the morning, hitting the beach that same afternoon, then ending your day eating world-class cuisine. In New Zealand, that is a very doable day. Be sure to put Mount Cook National Park on your list and see where the legendary Sir Edmund Hillary trained to ascend Mount Everest. You’ll have 4 million very friendly people to make your stay more memorable. With that, here are five great reasons to start planning a trip to New Zealand.
The scenery is out of this world. New Zealand is spectacularly breathtaking: if you’ve seen the movie, The Lord of the Rings, then you know this alone is reason enough to visit. Mountains, rugged coastlines, pristine lakes, fjords, and volcanoes offer plenty to feast your eyes on. Explore the waterfalls and area wildlife of the famed Milford Sound by kayak or boat. For a unique phenomenon, visit the Waitomo glowworm caves, lit naturally by thousands of glowworms.
There are so many adventures to choose from. In a country with such diverse terrain, you can only imagine the opportunities to fulfill your adrenaline rush. New Zealand is the commercial birthplace of bungee jumping. If that’s not your thing, there are still plenty of tame and other not-so-tame activities to enjoy, from hiking and skiing to kayaking and surfing. Head two hours out of Christchurch to experience Class 5 whitewater rapids. For something more tame, take a Hobbit tour and visit Frodo country. The charming town of Matamata and its Hobbit homes was a site of filming for The Lord of The Rings movie. Don’t forget being down under is just that: the seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere, so if you want to ski, plan your trip from mid-June through early October.
The wine is world class. Take advantage of world-famous wine with Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay as the top regions. Located at the north-east tip of the South Island, Marlborough is the region that put New Zealand wine on the map – specifically sauvignon blanc. For a true gem, check out the Cloudy Bay vineyard. You can stay quite busy sipping your way through wine country, but if you don’t have time, there are many top-notch restaurants in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch serving local wines that pair well with fresh-caught seafood.
Wildlife makes up 95% of the population. You’ll find unique wildlife from the nocturnal kiwi bird (it’s not just a fruit) to the world’s smallest penguin (blue penguin) along with an abundance of marine animals, lizards, and insects to satisfy the nature lover in you. With no land predators, except for birds of prey, birds have evolved into a mix of flightless birds and melodic forest birds. As a result, you may find that many birds in New Zealand are likely to come to check you out when hiking in the forests as they don’t see you as a threat. Go on a wildlife-spotting tour to see penguins – there are 6 different species in the country.
Kiwi hospitality is outstanding, Last but definitely not least, the people and culture, which is predominantly European and Maori-influenced. The Maori culture is rich and varied, and includes traditional and contemporary arts. Traditional arts such as carving, weaving, kapa haka (group performance), whaikorero (oratory) and moko (tattoo) are practiced throughout the country. Wherever you go, you will find people are incredibly welcoming. Who knows, you may end up going back again to visit your new ‘Kiwi’ friends.