The New Zealand Adventure Top 10 Wish List

The next adventure looms large! Land of tattooed warriors, toothy sharks, snowy peeks and scurrying small fluffy birds. Sounds like something out of Alice In Wonderland, right? Wrong! This is New Zealand.

 

Planning my must see sights for the land of hobbits is proving rather difficult. The journey, once 4 weeks, has now become 50 days. My New Zealand map pins have gradually fallen pregnant and had babies. The research has slowly taken over my life. So, I’ve decided to give myself a slap, dip the bug in a cold bucket of water and finally get my must sees written down.

 

There are a few things to bare in mind for all those choosing to read this article 1. I never consider my limits 2. Being a student for many years my wallet is tighter than a Egyptian finger trap and 3. I love animals. Don’t panic. I mean in a strictly non intimate weird way of course.

 

Anyway, enough with my ramblings, on with the show. With such a vast amount of beauty and exciting adventures to undertake this list may grow while I’m over there, but for now this is my New Zealand Adventure Top 10 Wish List:

 

    1. This natural wonder looks pretty damn amazing! Picture this, you descend into the depths of the earth. It’s damp, dark and silent. Every step is a triumph to your unbroken bones. You’d expect such a journey to be part of a hideous nightmare you yearn to be awaken from. Unexpectedly the cave ends and above you stands the midnight skyline beautifully illuminated. Sparkling diamond like stars stretch out as far as the eye can see. Only your not outside. You’re still in the cave! How come? The majestic ceiling you see before you has been totally created by tiny worms! Yes worms! Not earth worms unfortunately, but these bad boys are way cooler. Their butts glow and give off one of the most spectacular scenes on planet earth. Any creature with a behind as great as this deserves to be on anyone’s top 10 list of New Zealand.

      glowwormcaves new zealand
      Glowworm Caves Waitomo, New Zealand

 

    1. Da dum. Daaaa dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum DADADAAAAAAAAAA! Lets put it this way, the film made a more than a slight impact on movie goers. This master piece constructed by a Hollywood symphony caused a lot of distress throughout my life, as for many of you I’m sure. It certainly kept me out of the sea for most of my youth and still makes dipping in the deep an uneasy experience. Feared, respected, admired, the Great White Shark has to be one of the worlds most iconic symbols. It’s one animal that cannot fail to thrill. You feed an elephant, awestruck! You witness lions hunting, thrilling! You rub noses with one of the seas most intimidating hunters, gut wrenching excitement! How could this not be on your top 10 New Zealand wish list list. One of the best spots for diving with them is the southern tip of the south island, being home to thousands of these toothy terrors throughout the summer months. I did my research and found the best expedition location is Invercargill and the company with all the reviews is Shark Dive NZ. All the feedback states the professional and caring nature of this charter made their experience unbelievable. You don’t need to bring anything other than cameras and the biggest kahunas you can muster. Shark diving NZ! Sign me up! http://www.sharkdivenz.com

      Invercargill Shark Diving
      Invercargill Shark Diving, New Zealand

 

    1. My research for adventure takes a slightly different turn to most. A lot of the time when a place pops up on a search engine, article or review all I base my decision on is the photographs people have posted. Most would consider this a bit naive, as a picture doesn’t give you in-depth information about a place. But Milford Sound has to be the biggest exception to this opinion. Every single image you see of this place cries out heaven on earth. As you approach, the towering peeked valley before you dives vertically down into deep dark waters teaming with a whole host of wildlife including whales, seals and mini penguins. The lush greenery flourishes everywhere only to pettier out on the rocky summit slopes of this lost world. Words don’t do this location justice. It has to go on the list. There are many ways you can enjoy your visit to Milford Sound. Excursion companies offer hikes, kayaking, biking, boat tours, whale watching, even BBQ’s! The list goes on and on. Most of these companies run from either Queenstown or Te Anau and can be easily booked online. Having already sampled a number of testing activities at this point my plan is too try something social and more relaxing. The BBQ bus provides transport, hiking, food and a whale watching boat ride. Its reasonably priced and has great reviews. However, if I hadn’t already been kayaking this activity would have definitely been my top choice. The Milford Sound three day hike has some breath taking scenery also so, if you’re considering a longer visit, check that out. http://www.milford.net.nz

      Milford Sound National Park
      Milford Sound Fiordland, New Zealand

 

    1. The last nature oasis before you hit the antarctic is a small island on the southern tip of the country. It has become a New Zealand sanctuary of how the island used to be before man decided to reek havoc. This islet is the last stand for many endangered species native to New Zealand, including the flights Kakapo parrot. Many other species roam free, like the iconic kiwi, and as a result Stewart Island is one of the best places to mingle with wildlife. The island also contains camping, great hikes and extreme water sports. Ferry’s run daily from the mainland, Invercargill, for 40 dollars. Well worth a stop of for anyone visiting the South Island. https://www.stewartislandexperience.co.nz

      kiwi
      Stewart Island, New Zealand

 

    1. One of the saddest stories I came across during my top 10 search was the Franz Josef Glacier. Over the past several years this magnificent low level glacier has gone from a storming white monster to a miniature dirty ice cube. A slight exaggeration some may say but non can deny the speedy decline of this wonder means it is likely to completely disappear over the coming decades. Finances mean I will not be taking on the widely acclaimed glacier Heli Hike http://www.franzjosefglacier.com/our-trips/glacier-heli-hike If you have the budget my suggestion is to undertake the icy tunnels and blue water ponds of this victim of global warming before it’s too late. I will, however, be hiking to the foot of this glacier as park authorities permit solo treks without safety equipment, as long as you stay off the ice. Another New Zealand captivating experience that can be tacked on to this stop over is the Franz Josef Wildlife Reserve; where you get to actually handle reared baby kiwis! The reserve gives a guided tour where you can see these under-threat loveable birds up close and personal. For myself, I will be seeing kiwis at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, who have a smashing day tour package which glimpses the crusade to save these little gems http://www.willowbank.co.nz

      glacier
      Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

 

    1. Extreme Sports Capital Of The World, a bold statement; but well deserved. New Zealand has always been known by adrenalin junkies across the globe as being one of the best places to risk your life needlessly. At the heart of this madness is Queenstown. It’s home to an array of activities guaranteed to make you scream, shake, cry, laugh and puke. There’s the AJ Hackett Bungy, home to the original bungy jump. Hang-gliding, skydiving, power boating, white water rafting, canyoning, the list is endless. I even managed to stumbling across some sort of boat come submarine shark called Hyrdo Attack! That’s right, utter madness. I’m always keen to take part in anything that seems shocking to the average person so I will definitely be finding an extreme sport to partake in at this cool little city.

      bungy jump
      Queenstown Extreme Sports, New Zealand

 

    1. No visit to this Pacific island would be complete without sampling the historic native culture of the Maori. This once fierce warrior tribe, with its rich methodology, language, craft and art, was first discovered by Europeans in the 17th century. Tamaki Maori Village allows visitors to sample customs, be entertained by performances and learn what it means to be Maori. The trip lasts roughly 4 hours which includes transport, food and a variety of engaging activities. One thing Ive learnt from my many years playing rugby however is NEVER disrespect a Maori. Trust me, you may think its a harmless excursion, but if you do you may end up needing that all inclusive medical insurance after all. http://www.maoriculture.co.nz

      maori village
      Tamaki Maori Village, New Zealand

 

    1. Alright, I know I may seem a little obsessed with the wildlife but surely one thing New Zealand embodies above all is nature? That’s enough justification for me. My next top 10 local is an experience not found in many other places around the globe. The Omamaru Blue Penguin Colony is a foundation that protects and looks after the resident gliders of the ocean. Penguins actually live and breed amongst the houses of this small town with Little critters so close you can almost touch them. There are a number of passes you can purchase ranging from a simple free roam amongst the habitat to a front row seat of a dusk spectacle that sees the miniature woddlers return with their daily catch. Guides provide walking tours that give you a in-depth glimpse into the lives of these captivating animals. A chance at a penguin selfie, how could you not pass up that opportunity. http://www.penguins.co.nz

      penguins
      Blue Penguin Colony, Oamaru, New Zealand

 

    1. Hiking, or tramping as the kiwis call it, is a huge pass time in New Zealand. The country is literally coated with trails and tracks in some of the most amazing settings know to man. You could literally throw a dart at a map to find a trail and your choice would always be an exciting one. But my pick for this mini expedition is going to be the world famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This track is an awesome one day adventure, walking across active volcanoes, cold mountain springs, old lava flows and thermal steam vents, emerald blue lakes and a beautiful native forest to finish. Further details can be found at http://www.doc.govt.nz. I will also be tackling the Mount Potts trek on this visit, or as most LOTR fans would call Rohan. If your looking for a more challenging hike however The Milford Track located in Fiordland was voted by National Geographic as one of the most amazing trails on planet earth. Although this trek takes three days, if your looking for something shorter in this area, the Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, http://www.seawatching.net/nz/Kepler/pics/000_Kepler_map.jpg can accommodate smaller walks.

      Tongariro Alpine Crossing
      Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

 

  1. Even though excitement seems to be the dominating factor in my New Zealand top 10 picks, like many of you, I CAN enjoy the tranquil things in life. So for the finally Ive decided to knock it down a notch and go with the Hot Water Beach located in Mercury Bay, just east of Whitianga. This natural phenomena has a large tourist draw but the reason is worth the trip. What could be more relaxing than sprawling yourself out on a pacific beach? How about relaxing on a beach / hot tub! The thermal springs that lurk under the golden sands seep to the surface allowing beach goers to make their very own hot tubs right on the shore front.  Located 175km from Auckland you’ll need a car to get to this weird wonder, but the journey is well worth the trip. http://www.mercurybay.co.nz/activities/hotwaterbeach.php

    beach
    Hot Water Beach, Mercury Bay, New Zealand

 

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