New Zealand, home of the hobbit, is famous for its stunning landscape. If you are a fan of the great outdoors this is the country for you. The best way to explore Aotearoa is to hire a car or motorhome and road trip your way from top to bottom. These are my top 9 picks to help you have the most epic adventure in the land of the long white cloud.
# 8.The Nevis Swing
Adrenaline junkies this ones for you. The Nevis swing is the largest swing in the world. Located in the adventure capital of Queenstown, it gives all those bungy jumps a run for their money. Imagine being hoisted 160m into the air and hanging suspended above a rocky riverbed before hurtling at an eye-watering 120 km per hour towards the facing valley. Exciting stuff right. The best part is you can chose who you swing with and how. Anyone fancy a little truck and trailer action.
# 7. Prawn fishing
This one is great for a lazy sunny afternoon. On the outskirts of Taupo, Huka Prawn Park has a whole range of things to do but really it’s all about the prawns. As you enter they provide you with long bamboo sticks with a tiny hook on the end, a metal pail and some bait and the rest is up to you. You can fish from a boat, the wooden piers or you can laze on the grass at the edge of the ponds. The best part? You get to cook and eat your prawns once when you’re done.
# 6. Climb a Volcano
Rangitoto is a volcanic island just off the coast of Auckland. Head over on the ferry ready to conquer the summit. It take about an hour to hike to the top through old lava fields and bush. The panoramic views from the crater are spectacular though, a 360 degree snapshot of all the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. There are also lave caves at the base that you can take a tour through it you’re up for a bit of adventure.
# 5. Experience a bluebird day
If you are in New Zealand during winter then you need to visit a mountain. Cardrona is my pick. Perched between Queenstown and Wanaka it offers something for everyone, including tobogganing, if you a keen to just chill and spend a day playing in the snow. Otherwise give that parks and pipes a go, they are pretty epic. If you are there during summer try the mountain carting or bike park a go. Stay the night at the top and experience the beauty of the southern skies or hike across one of the trails in the Southern Alps.
# 4. Soak in a natural thermal pool
New Zealand’s geothermal nature means it is littered with hidden hot springs. My favourite is Otumuheke Springs in Taupo. Take some snacks and supplies and spend an afternoon soaking in these natural hot pools. There is even a hot waterfall that you can splash around in. The best part is its free!!!
# 3. Waitomo Caves
This beautiful underground cave system has something for everyone. You can chose to simply wander around the main section and visit the underground cathedral which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites or ride in one of the boats that drift around the lake in the dark. This way you can see the hundreds of thousands of glow worms that twinkle like stars. My favourite part though is the black water rafting. There are a few options depending on your level of confidence. I like the tubing, a mix of serene drifting through the underground caves with the glow worms and adrenaline filled waterfall jumps in the dark. There’s nothing quite like jumping into a big black void not knowing where you’ll land.
# 2. Visit the Shire
Any fan of Lord of the Rings needs to tick this one off their bucket list. Even if you’re not a fan of the movie, the Hobbiton movie set is a funky little place that’s worth a visit. Located in Matamata in the North Island it is a bit of drive but well worth it for the photo opportunities. The Shire is the original movie set used in Lord of the Rings and is the perfect place to wander, explore and photograph. Visit The Green Dragon in, The Mill and of course Bilbos Hobbit Hole.
# 1. Cathedral Cove
I love the beach and this one is worth the hike. There is no road access so you have the choice between boating in or walking. I prefer the walk because of the amazing clifftop views along the way and you really feel like you have earned your swim once your reach the bottom. Named after the huge cathedral shaped cave that you walk through once you hit the bottom it’s a great place to spend an afternoon enjoying the sun, sand and sea as well as all the marine life that lives in the reserve.