1. Milford Sound Cruise
The Milford Sound is one of the most majestic and impressive places you will ever visit. I would recommend booking your tour with a company that has smaller boats for a day trip through the Milford Sound as the smaller boats get closer to the waterfalls and take you further out.
When we visited we were so glad we chose a tour on a smaller boat as it meant that we got to see a pod of dolphins – something the bigger boats didn’t get to experience as they had already headed back to the port.
2. Walking the Abel Tasman National Park Coast Track
The Abel Tasman National Park track is one of the most rewarding multi day walks in New Zealand. The walk is one of the easier multi day tramps in New Zealand, but you still need to be relatively fit in order to walk for 3+ hours a day on the track whilst carrying a backpack.
The Abel Tasman National Park is home to some of the most stunning beaches in New Zealand and you will be able to cool off after a long walk in the Tasman sea.
You can also kayak along the Abel Tasman coast – either by hiring your own kayak from a local hire company or by taking a guided tour.
3. Driving through the Mackenzie Basin (Twisel / Lake Tekapo / Omarama)
Hire you own vehicle, whether that is a camper van, a car, or a 4 x 4, and drive through New Zealand’s ‘Mackenzie Country.’
Lake Tekapo is home to quite possibly the prettiest church on earth (Church of the Good Shepard), and the stunning blue of Lake Pukaki will leave you lost for words.
4. Walking the Tongariro Crossing
The Tongariro Crossing is one of the best day walks in the world – passing by stark volcanic scenery including active volcanoes and volcanic lakes. The walk is 19.4km and it will take you between 6 – 8 hours to complete, although factor in an additional 2 – 3 hours if you plan to climb Mount Ngauruhoe.
The walk is a ‘through’ trip rather than a round trip, so one of easiest options is to book a minibus to/from Taupo – bookings can be made at the isite.
We walked the Tongariro Crossing 3 years ago now, although we couldn’t walk any further than the Emerald Lakes due to volcanic activity, so we would both love to return and walk the crossing again.
5. TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown)
Queenstown is the adventure centre of New Zealand and after you have finished jet boating, sky diving and bungy jumping, you should take a ride on the Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu. The Earnslaw is an 103 year old iconic steamship that chugs across Lake Wakatipu a handful of times each day.
You can jump off the Earnslaw at the other end of Lake Wakatipu and explore Walter Peak High Country Station – take a farm tour, a horse trek, or stay for dinner.
6. Enjoy the nightlife on Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour
Auckland has a vibrant nightlife scene, take a walk along the harbour and stop for a meal and some drinks in one of the waterfront restaurants.
7. White Water Rafting down the Buller Gorge
White water rafting is one of my favourite adventure activities, and rafting down the Buller Gorge was a thrilling experience. The river is a grade 3 – 4 and beginners are able to experience the river with the assistance of a professional rafting company.
We spent half a day rafting with Ultimate Descents who provided us with well-fitting wet suits and shoes, along with an experienced and knowledgable guide.
8. Camping under Mount Cook and exploring the trails around Mount Cook
If you are in a camper van (or camping in a tent), there is a DOC campsite at the base of Mount Cook with some great walks on offer. The campsite itself has hot showers, flush toilets and a shelter for cooking.
We spent a night at this wonderful campsite and walked the Hooker Valley Track (3 hour return) to the Mueller Glacial Lake.
9. Gazing up at the night sky at the bright stars and milky way
Milky Way, New Zealand by Chrisjtse @ Flickr
New Zealand has an amazing night sky due to low light pollution. On my first visit to New Zealand, I recall eating dinner on the deck and as we sat chatting afterwards in darkness, I gazed up at the sky and saw the milky way. It was such a magical sight, having grown up in the UK, I had never seen the milky way so clear and bright.
10. Catching a glimpse of the wildlife
The ability to ‘stumble upon’ wildlife in New Zealand is vast. I love the fact that I can wander down to the beach and see seals playing in the water and seal pups frolicking in the rock pools. I saw dolphins in the wild for the very first time when visiting Milford Sound, and only a couple of weeks ago, I saw some Orca whales cruising only meters from the beach (I recorded my reaction on snapchat – add me to see more adventures by searching ‘travelbllgr‘)