New Zealand has reopened to vaccinated Australians, with hundreds already crossing the Tasman on a long-awaited trip.
Aotearoa has a lot to offer in terms of luxurious accommodations, adventures, gourmet restaurants and wildlife encounters. It is therefore not surprising that before the pandemic, Australia was New Zealand’s largest international market for visitors.
The latest research from Tourism New Zealand shows that around 60% of Australians want to visit New Zealand in the next six months. Most of these visitors will be looking to have fun or relax.
Here are our picks of six places you need to put on your New Zealand travel bucket list where you can do just that.
Relax with a wellness stay in Northland
Less than an hour’s flight from Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, you’ll be in the Bay of Islands. Surrounded by sparkling waters and green hills, this destination is the epitome of a New Zealand postcard. For a true wellness experience, stay at landing, a luxury retreat on 400 acres at the southwestern tip of the Purerua Peninsula. Along with the few guests arriving by helicopter, you’ll hear nothing but the lapping of the waves and the mooing of cows grazing in the greener-than-green pastures. Sit back and sip wines from the on-site cellar – the largest in Northland – while taking in the views. Or join one of the regular wellness weekends held here.
Dive into the geothermal waters of the Coromandel Peninsula
Most people outside New Zealand have probably never heard of the Coromandel Peninsula. North Island travelers tend to bypass it for famed Rotorua, but the peninsula packs a punch. About two hours from Auckland, the winding roads offer spectacular views of sparkling bays at every turn. The area is dotted with small towns that would rival any stay in Byron Bay. Don’t miss the geothermal pools at The lost spring in Whitianga. At the pools, you can bathe in 16,000-year-old mineral springs and wash away your worries.
Take time to breathe amid stunning scenery in Glenorchy
Few places are as beautiful as Glenorchy. The small town 45 minutes from Queenstown is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glacial rivers and ancient beech forests. It’s no wonder he’s a movie star, starring in narnia, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Join the Intensive Retreat Winter Wellness Program Aro ha, which means “in the presence of the divine breath” to feel exactly that. Wake up to the sound of a Tibetan bowl and spend days doing yoga and practicing mindfulness. All while staying in a Zen-inspired eco-accommodation. The view alone is worth a visit here.
Speed things up with a Queenstown adventure
There are few places that offer as many lavish resorts and adventure experiences as Queenstown. Take things to new heights with Alpine Luxury Tours flying in a helicopter over the steep cliffs to a picnic spot at Earnslaw Burn. One of the most spectacular and beautiful filming locations in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, you’ll find cascading waterfalls tumbling down huge rock walls. Then head into the Nevis Valley and launch 134 meters off a bridge in what is New Zealand’s tallest bungy, or try New Zealand’s first bungy at Kawarau Bridge where you’ll jump 43 meters from the historic bridge. Be warned: this is not for the faint-hearted.
Hop on a jet boat and glide down one of New Zealand’s most beautiful rivers
Get your heart pumping on a jet boat down the emerald-green, glacier-fed Dart River in the UNESCO-listed Mount Aspiring National Park. Then, go back down to the Funyaks (inflatable canoes), where you will have plenty of time to admire the magnificent mountain scenery. Owned and operated by Ngai Tahu Tourismit is also an opportunity to learn more about the local Maori culture.
Go glacial in a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Few experiences on the to-do list are better than being dropped into an ancient moving glacier by helicopter. the Francis Joseph Glacier on the west coast of the South Island is the steepest and fastest glacier in the country. It may be old – 7,000 years in fact – but it makes for great photography with its narrow icy crevasses, towers and caves.
Land high on the main icefall and spend 2.5 hours hiking in this incredible winter wonderland.
Find more ideas here: newzealand.com
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