NEW ZEALAND – The Adventure Capital Of The World
|Date Added: December 17, 2014 05:33:16 AM|
|NEW ZEALAND – THE ADVENTURE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
New Zealand isn’t all green grass, sheep and hobbits you know… From the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island, Aotearoa offers plenty of options to get your blood pumping and your adrenaline rushing. If you want to get extreme on your New Zealand holiday, or perhaps you just want to get to know your own backyard, check out our top six things to do in the adventure capital of the world.
1. Sky dive
What better way to start a Kiwi adventure than by jumping out of a plane? Take in 360° views as you float 12,000 feet in the air, before landing and promptly wanting to do it all over again. New Zealand hosts a number of sky dive zones all over the country, but we suggest jumping out over magnificent mountains in Queenstown or, if you’re in the North Island, the stunning Lake Taupo (three and a half hours’ drive from Auckland).
From high in the sky to deep below the ground, New Zealand has extreme activities for all types of thrill-seekers. Waitomo Caves (two and a half hours south of Auckland) boasts a spectacular caving system with different levels of difficulty, from family-friendly walks to expert-only adventures. Beginners can experience stunning underground scenery, complete with glistening glow-worms, while more daring visitors can get wet with a blackwater rafting tour through the caves.
3. Bungy jumping
Fun fact: commercial bungy jumping was invented in New Zealand by daredevil AJ Hackett, with the first operation being a jump from the Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown in the South Island. These days, there are bungy companies located in cities and towns all over the country. If you’re in NZ’s biggest city you can take a leap of faith from Auckland Harbour Bridge or the Sky Tower, or if you’re heading south then don’t miss out on the highest jump in the country – the Nevis bungy has you falling 134 metres into the Nevis River!
With abundant underwater life, hundreds of offshore islands and well looked-after marine reserves, New Zealand is truly a diving paradise. Learn to dive at one of New Zealand’s many diving schools, or if you’re already certified you can head up to the Bay of Islands (three and a half hours north of Auckland), the Coromandel (two hours south-east of Auckland) or down to Nelson (five and a half hours’ drive and ferry from Wellington) for an incredible underwater experience in the Riwaka Caverns. If you’re an avid diver you can’t go past the Poor Knights Islands off the coast of Tutukaka, north of Whangarei – Jacques Cousteau named it in his top ten dive sites in the world!
5. Jet Boating
The jet boat was invented by a Kiwi farmer in the 1960s, and has since evolved into an exciting activity for the whole family. With jet boating adventures available in Queenstown, Canterbury, Whanganui, Waikato and more, you’re never far away from an exhilarating, and soaking, ride.
New Zealand’s ski fields have deservedly put the country on the world stage as a top winter destination. With Mt Ruapehu in the North Island, Mt Hutt in Canterbury and the Remarkables, Cardrona, Treble Cone and more near Queenstown, you’re never more than a half day’s drive from a snow-covered mountain during the annual ski season of June to October. Here’s a tip: hire a car in Queenstown and spend a week hitting the mountains nearby. Don’t miss tubing down the slopes at the Remarkables, sipping on mulled wine at Cardrona Hotel and visiting the gorgeous nearby town of Wanaka.
7. Getting around
Your New Zealand holiday can be as action-packed as you want it to be, but you’ll need to figure out the best method of transport for you. There are a number of bus companies, hop-on, hop-off tour providers as well as ferries between the North and South Islands and to smaller offshore islands, but your best bet of getting around comfortably and at your own pace would be to hire a car. All of of New Zealand’s must-sees are within a day’s drive from either Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Queenstown so you can stay in the city and drive each day, or take a week-long (or more!) road trip from north to south and get amongst everything New Zealand has to offer.
BEST FOOD AND WINE IN NEW ZEALAND
Stunning vineyards, creative local chefs, food and wine festivals and world-class restaurants all around the country allow foodies to treat themselves in New Zealand. If you want to go on a gastronomic adventure, or just want to enjoy a local tipple, here are our top tips on where to head for the best food and wine in New Zealand.
New Zealand boasts hundreds of vineyards all around the country, with internationally-acclaimed varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and more being produced in the regions of Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Central Otago, Gisborne, West Auckland and Waiheke Island (to name a few!). If you’re truly passionate about wine you must tick off the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, a 450km drive (with an inter-island ferry) from Napier to Blenheim taking you past 120 local vineyards. Hire a car, designate a sober driver and get ready to taste test world-class wine all day long.
If you’re looking to treat yourself (or that special someone) on your New Zealand holiday, you’ll find fine dining establishments in main cities and smaller towns that are sure to satisfy. Auckland plays host to a number or world-renowned restaurants, with famous chefs Al Brown, Peter Gordon, Sean Connolly and Simon Gault all overseeing restaurants in New Zealand’s biggest city. If you’re after elegant dining with a Kiwi twist check out Sean Connolly’s The Grill, head to Gault’s Euro for a stylish atmosphere and delectable dinner, or for 360° views of Auckland check out Gordon’s The Sugar Club, on the 53rd level of the Sky Tower.
Not in Auckland? Never fear, New Zealand’s smaller cities and towns boast hidden gems for foodies. Wellington’s Shed 5 offers a classic Kiwi take on old favourites and incredible views of the harbour, Rata in Queenstown showcases Hamiltonian Josh Emett’s talents after working under Gordon Ramsay in the UK, and Riverstone Kitchen in Oamaru boasts local ingredients, delicious wine matches and glorious isolation.
In terms of seafood, New Zealand has much more to offer than just fish ‘n’ chips. With more than 90% of Kiwis living within 40km of the coast, it’s no wonder that seafood, or kai moana, is a staple food group for New Zealand households and restaurants alike.
Fish, located at the Auckland Hilton on Princes Wharf, is an absolute haven of fresh local fish and shellfish, with incredible views to match. Make sure you book ahead if you want to dine outside while the sun sets.
Ortega Fish Shack in Wellington might look like a grungy-chic beach shack, but the menu will blow your taste buds with a mix of local fish ‘n’ chip shop favourites and top-notch seafood creations.
Fleur’s Place in Moeraki cooks with seafood fresh off the boat, literally! Local fisherman will dock at the restaurant and unload their catch of the day right into the kitchen. This tranquil hidden gem is so good that when Rick Stein was told by the Daily Mail he could choose any restaurant in the world to visit for a newspaper article, he chose Fleur’s Place.
New Zealand food isn’t all luxury dining and expensive seafood – if your wallet needs something a little less splurge then check out our top cheap eats.
Auckland’s Night Market runs Tuesday-Sunday in different suburbs each night, and is well worth a visit if you want a $10 dinner. Asian street food, traditional Maori hangi and Pacific favourites are all available, the treat yourself to a French crêpe or Oreo milkshake for dessert. Don’t forget to take cash, or you’ll end up in a half an hour line for the ATM. Buses in Auckland aren’t so good if you’re staying anywhere other than the central city, so we’d recommend hiring a car in Auckland and driving to the markets.
Alternatively, check out Elliot Stables in the Auckland’s central city for a decent price international food court. With French, Spanish, Japanese, Mexican, Italian options and more, this is the perfect place for a group or family who can’t decide what to eat. If you’re in the capital, Little Penang is an authentic Malaysian eatery, boasting five star reviews and a budget-friendly menu.
Of course we can’t talk about food in New Zealand and not mention fish and chips! You’ll find local takeaway shops in every beach town around the country, so go exploring and find your favourite. We recommend Takapuna Beach Café for a dine in experience with beautiful sea views, or the Fish Pot Café in Mission Bay if you’re going to take your dinner for a picnic on the beach.