New Zealand is a country like no other, home to so many amazing activities and breath-taking scenery. From incredible landscapes to unique culture, we've put together a list of our top must dos to add to your New Zealand bucket list for both kiwis and travellers.
Experience New Zealand culture
Do an adventure activity
See incredible animals
Get out in the great outdoors
Explore unique New Zealand landscapes
New Zealand culture
First up on our New Zealand bucket list is taking the time to appreciate our unique maori culture. There are many maori cultural experiences to choose from. Our top picks are the Ko Tane The Maori Experience in Christchurch for an interactive cultural activity or Tamaki Moari Village in Rotorua, which was voted one of the top 10 experiences in the world!
You will experience a traditional maori welcome ceremony called a powhiri, a kapahaka performance with traditional maori dance and song, as well as a delicious hangi meal. A hangi is a traditional maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven, called an umu.
Locals will love the opportunity to connect to our culture, understand the maori way of life and appreciate a beautiful performance, while travellers can experience a totally foreign culture. You're bound to learn something new on a cultural experience as maori storytellers share their customs and traditions with you.
Photo: Enjoy a cultural experience at Tamaki Maori Village
No New Zealand bucket list would be complete without a few adventure activities. There are so many to choose from and a number of them come with a big price tag. So which ones are worth doing and worth the ticket price?
Rotorua Canopy Tours
Rotorua Canopy Tours has it all. It is the perfect experience for kiwis to connect with the environment and learn more about their own back yard, travellers can take just as much away. The guides are all kiwis, they grew up exploring our native forests and are passionate about the flora and fauna. They will share with you the troubles we have and what we can do to help save these incredible eco systems. The ziplines, swingbridges and other features at Canopy Tours have been thoughtfully placed in the forest to reduce impact while you have a fun and safe experience. This is an experience suitable for almost everyone and an adventure you'll never forget!
AJ Hackett Bungy
AJ Hackett Bungy is an iconic kiwi adventure activity and where bungy all began! It's an experience not for the faint of heart but you’ll definitely feel a great sense of personal achievement. As your heart pounds and you take the leap, you'll get a real thrill! It's an activity everyone should try at least once in their life to push the limits and test yourself. What better place to do a bungy than Queenstown, home to the worlds first bungy jump as well as the southern hemispheres highest bungy.
Photo: The incredible cliff Walk at Rotorua Canopy Tours
See incredible animals
If you're an animal lover, our next idea for your New Zealand bucket list will be right up your alley. Being on an island away from the rest of the world means we have some pretty unique creatures, some you can't find anywhere else in the world, so which animal experiences top the list?
Kaikoura is well-known as the best spot for whale watching in New Zealand. It’s one of the only places in the world you can easily see sperm whales. You can see humpback whales in June and July on their migratory route from Antarctica, as well as pods of orca (killer wales) from December to March. Many dolphin species are seen regularly too. Kaikoura is also a beautifully scenic location between the Pacific Ocean and the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps. Find out more about Whale Watch here.
See a kiwi
Kiwis are a national treasure. This flightless nocturnal bird is even the nickname for people from New Zealand. Seeing a national icon is a must do for locals and travellers alike. Many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi bird in person - you might be surprised at just how big they really are! Our top pick is Rainbow Springs Nature Park - it’s the largest kiwi hatchery in the world.
Photo: See baby kiwis at Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Get out in the great outdoors
We have so many awe-inspiring landscapes in New Zealand so getting into the great outdoors is a must do. A great way to see diverse and spectacular scenery is on one of the New Zealand Great Walks which explore some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand's back country. Perfect for locals and travellers to see a side of New Zealand you wouldn't normally see. You'll experience untouched country and get a real sense of achievement completing the walk.
When choosing a walk to add to your New Zealand bucket list, make sure you're well prepared and check any huts and tracks are open when you'll be travelling. In the North Island our top pick is Lake waikeremoana. In the South Island, check out the Kepler Track. If your wanting more options, choose from the other great walks or explore the DOC website to find a walk that suits you.
Photo: Experience New Zealand's great outdoors like the Kepler Track
Explore unique landscapes
Last on our New Zealand bucket list is to explore some of the the unique spaces New Zealand has on offer. Our international visitors will love seeing the spectacular scenery - something they can't see at home, while many New Zealanders will be able to appreciate all the unique landscapes we can sometimes take for granted. Two of the more unique landscapes are geothermal and glow worm caves.
In and around Rotorua are some incredible geothermal wonders. You can watch bubbling mud pools, see geysers erupt and enjoy the magnificent colours of our geothermal landscapes – we’re one of only a few places in the world that has such incredible landscapes like these. Choose from the best geothermal parks in Rotorua here.
Glow worm caves
The Waitomo Caves have a reputation for being one of the best places to see glow worms in the world. You will love this unique environment, whether you're a traveller wanting to learn about New Zealand's unique nature and history or a local wanting to see the magical glow worms.
The most popular attraction is the glow-worm grotto where you travel by boat and the magical creatures will light up the cave from above. There are three caves which all offer something different and if you're feeling adventurous you can do some black water rafting. While the caves are a must see natural attraction, there are a lot of things do around the Waitomo region too. Plan your perfect trip to Waitomo here.
Photo: See the magical glow worms at Waitomo Caves
We hope that’s given you some great ideas to start planning your New Zealand bucket list. We’ve got a lot of great blogs, so if you're after more ideas you can read more here. Here are a few great online resources you can use to help plan your adventure too: