10 MUST DOS when in New Zealand

Many people says that New Zealand is a Dream Destination. If you ask me, I would definitely beg to differ. What is there to dream about? It’s such a beautiful place with more than 101 reasons why I would love to be there, that it is as simple as just set your target of when to go …. and JUST GO  😎

That is probably why I am kinda a Nike advocate. JUST DO IT! Plan for budget, Work and get the budget, and Go for Trip. Just look at these photos … ain’t it inviting? There can only be rights (no wrongs) to make this trip early like tomorrow, or this year  😉

[Mount Cook mountain ranges, beautifully green and blue where it should be]

[Mount Cook mountain ranges, beautifully green and blue where it should be]

Make no mistakes when you are finally gamed and ready for your trip to New Zealand. Equip yourself with a good camera for sure! I am pretty convinced that you would want to develop large canvas photos or landscape photo masterpieces from the scenery taken there to showcase your fond memories of New Zealand. And I can’t emphasize enough too that one should make enough time for the trip. 2 weeks is a minimum, the longer the better of course! The idea is not to rush from point to point. And last but not least, is to make sure that within your itinerary for New Zealand: be it North Island only, South Island only, or both Islands, that these MUST DOS, make up part of your game plan.

1. Lord of the Rings – Home of the Hobbits / Edoras

[The view of the Hobbiton from across the Lake]

[The view of the Hobbiton from across the Lake]

Whether you are a fan of Lot of the Rings of not, Hobbiton which is based in Matamata, Waikato, is a region of beautiful rolling green hills and azure blue skies! If one is a fan of LOTR, those cute little chubby holes nested by the hills are definitely not to be missed too! With luck, maybe you could spot a hobbit or two 😉 .
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

Of course, the screening of LOTR is hardly just about The Shire. Take a trip down to Christchurch and visit Mt Potts high country stations. Here is where the mountain ranges are transformed into Edoras, the home of the Riders of Rohan!

[Edoras, Home of the Riders of Rohan - taken by Julien Blavette]

[Edoras, Home of the Riders of Rohan – taken by Julien Blavette]

2. To Swim with the DOLPHINS or Go WHALES-sightings

Watching playing dolphins frolicking in the water from the boat is cool and fun. I betcha that swimming with them is definitely more than just cool! It is amazing!  😎  Especially when the dolphins swim under you, beside you … it’s just almost once-in-a-lifetime experience! Of course Lady Luck plays a big part as the wild dolphins are not always in the mood for play. Oh I forgot to mention …. wear wetsuits! The water can be freezing cold haha!

[Swimming with Dolphins - taken by Newtestleopard]

[Swimming with Dolphins – taken by Newtestleopard]

And Whale-watching comes altogether a class of it’s own. I don’t think it is allowed to swim with these gentle giants of the sea, but definitely just being able to witness these giants of the sea just hundreds of metres from your boat is definitely something to talk about!

[Whale watching - taken by Michele Thorsteinson]

[Whale watching – taken by Michele Thorsteinson]

3. Experience the Maori Culture

There can be no mistakening of the ritual of the Maori Haka like the video clip embedded above. And there is only one place on Earth where you can find it, in New Zealand. The Haka is the Maori’s traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge depending on the occasions. The energy emitting from the Haka: chant and the vigorous body actions, is really powerful. And to have really experience New Zealand, is to have had immersed into the Maori culture.

Rotorua Day Tours

[Maori ceremonial welcome for distinguished visitors]

[Maori ceremonial welcome for distinguished visitors]

4. Feast your naked eyes into the Skies – Astro Gazing

Tilt your head up and look into the dark skies when you are around Mackenzie Basin region, in the South Island. Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve as it is termed, to recognize it for its gold standards for an almost light-pollution-free skies, includes Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the villages of Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. The 4300sq km area is bounded by a spectacular alpine landscape with the Southern Alps in the west, and the Two Thumb Range in the east. Once your eyes is accustomed to the dark, there will be thousands of jewels in the sky. With the aid of a high quality binoculars or telescope or other astro-equipment, the jewels that can be seen will grow from the thousands to the billions!

[A night-sky shot with just a normal DSLR camera with a common lens of 18-140mm]

[A night-sky shot with just a normal DSLR camera with a common lens of 18-140mm]

5. Get an Adventure Overdose

If adventure is in your blood, get ready for the trip of a lifetime here in New Zealand, the birthplace of Extreme Sports! Sky Diving,Whitewater Rafting, Blackwater Rafting, Zorb, ZipLine, Bungy Jump, … New Zealand has every adventure activity and extreme sport you can think of – plus those that you’ve never even heard of! Get ready for a mind-blowing experience that will send your blood pumping through you like never before!

[Bungy Jumping]

[Bungy Jumping]

[Whitewater Rafting]

[Whitewater Rafting]

[Crazy Zorb Balls rolling down the hill]

[Crazy Zorb Balls rolling down the hill]

 6. Take a trip to Milford Sound / Doubtful Sound

One of the most incredible vestige of pristine beauty untouched by man, steep cliffs (now covered with moss) shaped by glacier erosion millions of years ago. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, at its peak beauty, mountain peaks scrape the blue sky and waterfalls cascade downwards into blue water. OF course, do note the other fact is that out of 365 days a year, it averages at 184 rainy days (~50%), one of the wettest region in New Zealand.

[The Beauty of Milford Sound - taken by Bernard Spragg]

[The Beauty of Milford Sound – taken by Bernard Spragg]

[Updraft of the waterfalls from the cliffs of Milford Sound after rain]

Milford Sound Day Tours

For Doubtful Sound, most areas of the sound itself are accessible only by sea. As written by Charles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, Governor-General of New Zealand (1957–1962), “There are just a few areas left in the world where no human has ever set foot. That one of them should be in a country so civilized and so advanced as New Zealand may seem incredible, unless one has visited the south-west corner of the South Island. Jagged razor backed mountains rear their heads into the sky. More than 200 days of rain a year ensure not a tree branch is left bare and brown, moss and epiphytes drape every nook. The forest is intensely green. This is big country… one day peaceful, a study in green and blue, the next melancholy and misty, with low cloud veiling the tops… an awesome place, with its granite precipices, its hanging valleys, its earthquake faults and its thundering cascades.”

[Sunset at Doubtful Sound]

[Sunset at Doubtful Sound – taken by Mark Hong]

7. Put your foot onto a Glacier

Discover the dramatic world of Ice on the West Coast of New Zealand on either Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier, one of the lowest and most accessible glaciers in the world.  As these glaciers terminate uniquely among temperate rainforest just 250m above sea level, it’s uniqueness forms it as part of the South Westland World Heritage Area.

This is also one of the rare opportunities where one can, through guided tour, access a dynamic glacial environment and have an ice adventure suited to one’s fitness. Depending on the fitness level required, a few of the ice adventures are suitable for children. And in all cases, some budget is likely to be required since a helicopter-ride is likely to be involved.
West Coast Day Tours

[Hiking on Fox Glacier - Taken by Matt Daymond]

[Hiking on Fox Glacier – Taken by Matt Daymond]

8. Explore the Geothermal Wonderlands

New Zealand being a country located largely on tectonic plates, this also means that it is a place where the displays of Earth’s own mighty natural energy can be easily seen … Geothermal energy is one of such! I guess few would have associated geothermal activities with sights of incredible beauty! From mudpools to large steaming hot springs, to smoking crevices … and the list of natural beauties continues.

[The Artist Palette of Wai-O-Tapu]

[The Artist Palette of Wai-O-Tapu]

Rotorua Day Tours

9. Find your Starry starry Glowworms 

Ever look up in the dark skies and see millions of stars unaided? No telescopes, no binoculars, just your own pair of eyes? Well …. almost but not exactly. In the darkest glowworm grotto, these glowworms light the darkness with their blue bio-luminous, making a spectacular sights of millions of blue like dots in the dark cavern ceilings above! Well … to be exact, they are actually carnivorous maggots, using their bio-luminous to attract other insects that will get trapped in their web-like strands … and end up as the maggot’s food  🙄 New Zealand is the only country to have many natural dark caverns with glow worms “stars” within the caves.
Waitomo Caves Day Tours

[Glowworm and their Web-strands in Ruakuri Cave]

[Glowworm and their Web-strands in Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo]

10. Take a Hike around Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Rated as one of the Top Single Day trek in New Zealand, and among of the the Top Treks in the world, a trek among the volcanic mountains with its diverse and dramatic scenery plus unique and spectacular land forms … and of course a hard-to-forget experience of crossing of one the most scenic and volcanically active areas of the Tongariro National Park. If one is into the Lord of the Rings, the barren wastelands of Mordor and the ominous Mt Doom … yes this is it. And do note that this trek is not suitable for children.

[Tongariro Alpine Crossing - taken by Lorainel Tai]

[Tongariro Alpine Crossing – taken by Lorainel Tai]

 

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Cheers!  😉 ]

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