A First Timer’s Guide to New Zealand
Journey to Middle Earth
A beautiful island country in the southwestern Pacific, New Zealand is a wonderful place to visit especially if you’re heading down there for the first time. The cities are always bustling with friendliness and vigor, creating an atmosphere that emanates a homely feeling wherever you may come from.
The nation it is made up of two main islands, the North and the South. With a head count of more than 4.6 million, the country is very sparsely populated. Here’s a fun fact: New Zealand actually has more sheep than people!
This fascinating country boasts a wide array of activities and has something for everyone, from thrilling skydiving to relaxing shopping. Topped with unparalleled scenery, it’s no wonder the Lord of the Rings trilogy were shot here!
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If you’re a history buff:
If delving into chronology and documentation is your cup of tea, you’ve hit it right with New Zealand! The country is a historical jackpot, with rich cultures and informative museums bound to entertain and pique your mind for hours.
Book a tour at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, arguably the country’s most important historic site, to discover the birthplace of New Zealand. You may also find yourself brought to tears at The Great War Exhibition, a highly rated museum which showcases the devastation of war on the small country and the sacrifices its people made.
Don’t miss out on the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) in Wellington, an essential stop for all history buffs.
If you’re a thrill seeker:
It is no secret that this beautiful country is a great spot for hair-raising and adrenaline-pumping activities. If you enjoy adventure and the outdoors, New Zealand is the perfect place for you. Jump off New Zealand’s highest bungy or experience heart-stopping moments above the country’s stunning landscapes by skydiving. If free-fall isn’t for you, soak in the untouched beauty of Fox Glacier, through a flying fox helicopter hike.
New Zealand is also known to have one of the world’s best caving systems. While you are there, grab the chance to explore the inner machinations of the underground scenery and go caving!
If you’re an aquaphile:
The nation has an abundance of water activities available for families and aquaphiles! If you’re feeling rather adventurous, get some river-induced adrenaline rush by rafting or jet boating.
There are also many superb diving spots in the islands, regardless of how experienced you are in the water sport. Expect to see spectacular marine species such as great white sharks, dolphins, seals, manta rays, sea dragons and beautiful reefs.
Be sure to save some time for kayaking in the crystal clear blue waters. It is an amazing way to explore the tranquil caves and islands. After which, wrap up the evening by relaxing on the clear beach at sunset while munching on some fresh seafood. Certainly a great way to unwind!
If food is what completes a trip for you:
You’ll find that New Zealand isn’t at all boring when it comes to the culinary arts. Light up your taste buds by exploring the culinary delights each region has to offer. If you’re a wine-lover, book yourself a gourmet wine tour and visit award-winning vineyards (and get yourself a souvenir while you’re at it!).
Don’t forget that New Zealand is an island country after all, so the seafood options are beyond divine. Have yourself some delicious crayfish in Kaikoura, bluff oysters in Southland, or do a seafood cruise where you can try varieties of local seafood.
Other than seafood, coffee also is an important part of a Kiwi’s diet and the coffee lovers will go out of their way for their quality caffeine fix. Although there is no lack of cafes with high quality coffee in New Zealand, the most coffee-obsessed city has to be Wellington. It has the highest concentration of cafes, thus earning its nickname of the “Coffee Capital”.
If you love the wildlife:
If you love flora and fauna, you will definitely be impressed by what New Zealand has in store for you. There is a large variety of things to see and do, and in just a single day you will be able to explore quite an amount of the nation’s wildlife.
Flower-lovers, look no further because the best attraction site for you is the Gardens of International Significance, home to the country’s best gardens. And if dolphins and whale watching is something you’d like to cross off your bucket list, you’ll find a diverse variety of the species in Auckland and Kaikoura. These locations are also wonderful for photography!
If shopping is your secret confession:
No trip is complete without some retail therapy. If you’re a self-confessed shopaholic, remember the names Queen Street, Parnell, Cuba Street and Lambton Quay.
If you’re after something a little more unique, you’ll find some of New Zealand’s most beautiful creations at House of Wood in Hokitika.
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Tripsle me to New Zealand!