I have done quite a lot of posts now about my time in New Zealand, but I thought it would be useful to do a post about my 5 favourite things I did. This was actually really difficult, because I did so many amazing things and I absolutely loved my time in New Zealand but after much deliberation I have decided that if someone could only do 5 things in New Zealand, these would be the 5 I would recommend.
Trekking Franz Josef was unlike anything I have ever done before and I think it is a great example of the amazing geographical features that exist in New Zealand. The trek was hard work but it was so worth it and it was definitely an unforgettable experience.
This might be cheating, because I am about to talk about a few things I did on the Coromandel, but as you could do them all in one day I decided it was allowed. Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove were both absolutely beautiful. It’s also nice to see the north of the North Island because the scenery is so different from the South Island, and I think it’s important to see how diverse the country is.
Te Puia was without a doubt one of my favourite experiences. This was an evening in Rotorua at the XXX park. We met Maori people who showed us around their land. There are two geysers and lots of geothermal features like mud pools to explore which were absolutely amazing. We also got to take part in a traditional Maori tribal meeting with performances and dancing followed by an amazing meal which had been cooked underground by the heat of the geothermal rocks. The evening finished with us learning about the school that they have set up which teaches traditional Maori crafts and art. The school is funded by tourists coming to visit the site, so it’s really nice to see that some of the money you have paid is being reinvested into keeping Maori culture alive. It really was an amazing experience.
This is probably a given, but Milford Sound did not disappoint. The scenery was absolutely breath taking both at Milford Sound itself, and also on the drive there from Queenstown. This is a truly unmissable part of New Zealand (but, please remember to get petrol before you leave so you don’t end up almost breaking down and needing to get emergency fuel, minutes before the only road out of the area closed for two weeks due to snow! I am speaking from experience.).
Napier is a truly one of a kind place. From the beautiful 1920s buildings to the wonderful wine region surrounding the city, this was one of my favourite stops. Try and go in February for their annual art deco festival which brings in visitors from around the world looking to step back in time.