Australia’s closest neighbor and the destination for thrillseekers from around the world. From the north to the south, sunny summers through to bone-chilling winters, there is something for everyone of all fitness levels, ages and interests.
BEST OVER NIGHT ADVENTURE
Milford Sounds Overnight Cruise
“Awaiting in the stunning Milford Sound is a luxury cruise, decked out with everything you need to sit back, relax & enjoy the sights of this majestic location. Built with love by the owner himself, The Fiordland Jewel boasts an onboard helicopter pad, top-deck hot tub, onboard chef, fine wine & limited boutique accommodation. Designed with the breath-taking scenery in mind, the boat provides a stunning view at every opportunity, including your luxury climate-controlled cabin with a private ensuite bathroom.”
BEST DAY SPA
Onsen Hot Pools
“Settle into your own private water-nest high above the Shotover River.
Fold back the picture windows with the push of a button, and let the mountain air in; then kick back while your body is infused in warm healing water and your eyes and senses are engaged by the exquisite alpine scenery all around you.”
“Eichardt’s Bar; a Queenstown icon since 1867 has an atmosphere, history and ambience unlike anywhere else in the world, offering a welcoming environment for comfortable interaction between guests of the hotel and some of Queenstowns most colourful characters. Here, cocktails are created by top New Zealand bartenders who incorporate years of experience and passion into every drink. Eichardt’s’ attentive bar team is always ready to serve with a welcoming smile, good humour and utterly professional and knowledgeable manner. Eichardt’s signature breakfast, lunch and tapas menus feature fresh and organic produce sourced from the very best local growers and all can be paired with a wine from our extensive hand selected list. Eichardt’s’ chefs have built a loyal following for consistent delicious and always inspiring dishes. The Bar oozes the warmth, comfort and style of this beautiful hotel with breathtaking views of the lake and mountains.”
BEST SKI RESORT
Cardrona Alpine Resort
“Cardrona is New Zealand’s fun and family-friendly ski resort with the most reliable snow conditions in the region. Its high elevation and southerly aspect mean dry natural snow is plentiful, which is further enhanced by snowmaking facilities.
Cardrona is the perfect place for beginners and intermediates, with NZ’s only combined gondola chairlift, easy-to-use surface lifts, specialized beginner packages and plenty of wide open trails spread over three basins. If you’re up for a challenge, you’ll find it in Arcadia, with secret powder stashes, chutes and cliff drops. Cardrona is home to the NZ Park & Pipe Team & offers the most extensive terrain park facilities in the Southern Hemisphere with four terrain parks, two half pipes and a gravity-cross course. Boasting eight distinctly different cafes, fully licensed kids’ centres, on-mountain accommodation, retail; ski & snowboard lessons; and a fully equipped rental department, Cardrona is pure gold.”
BEST VIEWS OF QUEENSTOWN
Ride the Skyline Gondola to Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar
“For one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have in Queenstown, dine amidst breathtaking views at the Skyline.
Enjoy stunning views that take you all the way from Coronet Peak to the magnificent Remarkables, moving onwards to Cecil Peak and Walter Peak as you cross Lake Wakatipu. This is a cable car ride you will never forget.
Each table will enable you to admire some of the most incredible views you have ever witnessed in your life. Your tastebuds will be tantalized by a sumptuous six course buffet in an easygoing environment that is perfect for couples, families and groups. The seating layout utilises an ingenious tiered design that will enable up to 320 people to enjoy unobstructed views of the amazing scenery through windows that stretch from floor to ceiling.”
BEST VIEWS OF AUCKLAND
““A truly captivating experience awaits visitors to Auckland’s Sky Tower. At 328 metres, it is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and offers breathtaking views for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Travel up in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three spectacular viewing platforms, or for more thrills and excitement, SkyWalk round the pergola at 192 metres up or SkyJump off the Tower!
The Sky Tower is one of New Zealand’s most exhilarating and spectacular tourist attractions, you will be amazed at what you can see and do under one roof!”
BEST ADRENALINE RUSH
Te Paki Sand Dunes | Sandboarding – Cape Reinga
“On the way to the remote outcrop of Cape Reinga, in the outer reaches of Northland, sit the large and impressive Te Paki Sand Dunes. Sink your toes into the pristine white and golden sands and bring a sandboard to zoom down the slopes.
The Te Paki Sand Dunes can reach up to 300 feet (100 meters) in height and are surrounded by one of the most diverse ecosystems in New Zealand.”
BEST NIGHT TIME ADVENTURE
Redwoods Nightlight Treewalk
“Redwoods Treewalk and David Trubridge Design have partnered to create an iconic nocturnal tourism experience: the Redwoods Nightlights.
Incorporating unique creations from New Zealand world-acclaimed design and sustainability champion David Trubridge; the Nightlights is New Zealand’s first design-led tourism experience. The new night-time experience will offer visitors and locals the opportunity to explore Rotorua’s majestic Redwood forest under the shroud of darkness; illuminated by Trubridge’s bespoke creations to create an immersive and captivating environment.”
BEST NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
“Within two hours either side of low tide visitors flock to the usually deserted Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand and relaxing in the natural springs. Often rated as one of the world’s most renowned beaches – this is one experience that should be on your bucket list.”
BEST HELISKI ADVENTURE
Full-Day Alpine Heliski Adventure
“Although large swathes of backcountry skiing are accessible from New Zealand’s best ski slopes, any serious powderhound should include a heli-skiing experience in their Kiwi ski holiday. Avoid the crowds, make swooping turns through untracked fresh powder and take in the super-expensive views that many ski fields lack. Enjoy a double thrill: a day in the backcountry and two scenic helicopter rides”
“You can’t visit Queenstown without eating a Fergburger as big as your head. It is famous for bursting with fresh ingredients and having a permanent line out front. Try the original New Zealand beef with tomato, lettuce, onion, aioli and tomato relish, or the lamb option with mint jelly. If you’re feeling sure of yourself (and your stomach) and are looking to draw a crowd, order the Big Al, with half a pound of beef, two eggs, plenty of bacon, cheese, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, red onion, relish and aioli. You’ll struggle to finish it, but the crowd will cheer you to the finish line.”
BEST BUNGY JUMPING EXPERIENCE
AJ Hackett Bungy Kawarau
“As you shuffle out to the edge of the bridge, heart pounding and mind racing, remember this – you’ve found yourself at the World Home of Bungy. This is the original. Many people have come and gone, on a mission to push the limits and test themselves. Time for you to make the same leap of faith.
No visit to Queenstown would be complete without a stop at the Kawarau Bungy Centre, The World Home of Bungy, opened in 1988. Nestled into a rock face overlooking the stunning Kawarau River, the view alone will satisfy any crowd.
Home of the world’s first and most famous of leaps, this 43 metre Bungy Jump is still the most popular Bungy site attracting thousands of thrill-seekers every year.”
Tongariro Northern Circuit
“In this volcano country you walk past Mt Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe a.k.a Mt Doom in The Lord of the Rings. The Tongariro Northern Circuit includes one of the most popular day walks in New Zealand: the Tongariro Crossing. This includes a magnificent view of the Emerald Lakes that fill the volcanic craters. Find out more about this national park with world heritage status in Tongariro National Park – Guide for Backpackers.”
BEST NATIONAL PARK FOR EXPLORING
Nelson Lakes National Park
“Located on the South Island of New Zealand, Nelson Lakes National Park is focused around two lakes: Rotoiti and Rotoroa. With lakeside forests nestled in between the mountain ranges, this park offers casual walking tracks as well as challenging hikes. The highlights of this park are the remnants of glacial landforms. The landscape was formed during the Ice Age, and the two lakes are some of the last remaining examples of the leftover formations. The park is also suitable for camping, tramping, and fishing.”
BEST VOLCANO HIKE
“When it comes to indigenous reconciliation, New Zealand has long been far ahead of most colonial countries. And now, in recognition of its hallowed Māori status, Mt Taranaki on NZ’s north island has been granted the same legal rights as a living person.
Topping out at 2518 metres, Mt Taranaki is a glorious snow-capped volcanic cone, attracting thousands of hikers, photographers and nature-lovers every year. Climbing the peak – a 6.3 km, six-hour ascent – is the trail everyone clamours to do when the sun is shining. But there are dozens of other trails here, too, including the photogenic 25 km round-the-mountain Pouakai Circuit.”
BEST FAMILY ACITVITY
Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Tour
“Come visit a New Zealand attraction that’s sure to have you ‘glowing’ during this 45-minute small-group guided boat ride through the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Glide by boat through this underground complex, enjoying a light show put on by the millions of tiny bioluminescent insects hanging above. As an added bonus, many of the trip guides are of Maori descent, adding unique historical context to your visit.
BEST BIKE TRACK
Otago Central Rail Trail
“The Otago Central Rail Trail follows the old railway line between Clyde and Middlemarch.
It boasts a truly memorable blend of natural beauty, fascinating history and a series of friendly towns. The classic experience is to ride it over several days, but the trail can be easily broken into shorter rides to suit individual interests and itineraries.
There’s so much to see and do on and near the trail, including spectacular railway bridges and tunnels, abandoned gold diggings, and historic architecture from art deco municipal buildings to rustic farm yards. There’s also plenty of opportunity to taste Otago’s celebrated local flavours in country cafes, wineries and more.”