Things to do in New Zealand

THINGS TO DO IN NEW ZEALAND


OUR TOP NEW ZEALAND ACTIVITIES

Hike the heaphy track

This 80km walking trail showcases New Zealand’s wide-reaching biodiversity with even gradients, broad river bridges and well-maintained, heated huts allowing access to Kahurangi National Park all year round. Ancient beech forests, limestone cliffs and alpine plateaux ensure Heaphy is a haven for hikers as well as birds with cuckoos, kingfishers, kiwis, kakas and Swedish blue ducks all known to inhabit the trail. It takes around five days to complete without having to rush and mountain bikers can expect to do it in half this time, although access is restricted to winter months (May-Sep). Hiking Heaphy in its entirety is fine for those in good health and the five hour drive back to Motueka is the perfect excuse to take in the Buller Gorge without having to walk 80 klicks all over again.

Exceptional bird watching

On these remote specks of land, albatross, penguins and shearwaters can be found in their thousands alongside petrels, terns and teals. Grab your binoculars and botany book before boarding a research vessel and sailing to the Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands, to name but a few of the locations that you’ll encounter on an absolutely exceptional bird watching cruise.
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Go geothermal

Just 30km south of Rotorua, these are a must for travellers wishing to get up close to some incredibly surreal, and safe, volcanic activity. Well-designed tracks and an excellent visitor centre enhance the experience with regular talks and natural displays helping to put New Zealand’s proximity within the Pacific Ring of Fire completely into context.

Get paddling

Guided kayaking tours will take you along New Zealand’s shoreline and into sheltered inlets, fjords, lakes and river-forged valleys, with Abel Tasman National Park and the shallow waterways of Okarito Lagoon, on the west coast of South Island, offering just a couple of paddling points to get you started. Following the course of the River Dart as it flows through Mount Aspiring National Park is another great location for kayaking tours with inflatable ‘funyaks’ inviting a unique and laid back perspective of the forests and mountains flanking both sides. If you’re looking for rapids, the Rangitaiki and Mohaka rivers, on North Island, offer a slightly faster pace with grades ranging from beginner to technical as well as chances to go white-water rafting in between boulder-filled canyons.
Photo credits: [Heaphy Track: peterhallwright] [Birds: amanderson2] [Greyser: Beau Giles] [Kayaking: missbossy]

Written by Chris Owen
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