There are very few destinations in the world that can offer as much variety as New Zealand, so much so that it can be hard to decide where to spend that greatly earned holiday escape! To help, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite holiday ideas and the best places to visit.
Martinborough offers a truly special gourmet experience. Home to some of New Zealand’s best boutique wineries, it is a key stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.
Martinborough has over 20 vineyards on offer, most of which are family-owned and within walking distance of the village square. Take advantage of the mostly flat country roads, hire a bike and Cycle the Vines.
With award winning Palliser Estate, the highly rated Poppies with their seasonal platters, dining amongst the vines at Coney Wines or relaxing into an outdoor beanbag at Columbo Martinborough amongst your options, choosing which winery to visit might be difficult.
One of the highlights on the local calendar is Toast Martinborough, which runs annually on the third Sunday of November. The festival showcases local Wairarapa wine, food and music, attracting visitors from across the country.
Rotorua is the perfect destination for those looking to reconnect with nature or indulge in some world class relaxation.
Experience the geothermal wonders which Rotorua is renowned for by visiting the surreal landscape of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, with its spectacular bubbling hot pools and the unique Lady Knox geyser.
Explore Te Puia, home to boiling mud pools and the famous Pōhutu geyser, which erupts once or twice every hour, reaching heights of up to 30 metres. Visitors also have the opportunity to see live kiwi in the Kiwi Conservation Centre and tour the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, all located onsite at Te Puia.
Rotorua is also home to the magical Redwoods Tree Walk, allowing visitors to walk amongst giant 100 year old redwood trees, high above the forest floor, across a series of eco-suspended bridges and platforms. Options include either a daytime and nightlight walk.
For those looking for a more adrenaline filled adventure, Rotorua Canopy Tours provide highly rated zipline tours through ancient New Zealand native forest via a network of ziplines, swing bridges, cliff-walks and tree top platforms.
A trip to Rotorua would not be complete without a therapeutic soak in a natural hot spring. Relax and unwind on the tranquil shores of Lake Rotorua at Polynesian Spa – an award-winning hot spring and luxury spa retreat.
Wellington is famed for being the arts and culture hub of New Zealand. Few places can match the vibrant creative spirit that runs through this city, earning it title of “the coolest little capital in the world” from Lonely Planet.
A visit to Te Papa Tongarewa is almost mandatory for any guest to Wellington. The national museum has over six storeys of innovative and interactive exhibitions within the stunningly designed building. Located nearby in the Te Ngākau Civic Square, the City Art Gallery is the home of contemporary art in Wellington and well worth a visit.
Also known as a culinary hotspot, you won’t have trouble finding an excellent dining option in Wellington.
A highlight on every foodies calendar is the annual Wellington On A Plate festival, which features over 120 events, special menus and chef collaborations, attracting visitors from throughout the country.
For a truly unique dining experience, fine-dining Hiakai tops most lists. The restaurant places a special focus on researching and showcasing Māori and Polynesian ingredients in modern and innovative ways. Amongst numerous awards, they were also named by Time Magazine as one of World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019.
Other standout restaurants include the stylish yet fun Shepherd, named “Best Casual Fine Dining” at the Cuisine Food Awards in 2019 and the Wellington icon Logan Brown, situated in beautiful historic building on Cuba Street, which has been serving up culinary delights for over 20 years. Another local favourite is the much loved Rita, with its ever changing seasonal three course menu.
Wellington is not short of coffee options either, as we’ve previously featured in our favourite Wellington coffee list. The Flight Coffee Hangar is another popular option, allowing you to try their seasonal speciality coffees.
If you’re looking for something different on the coffee front, try Pour and Twist, the first fully manual brew bar in New Zealand. They specialise in hand brewed and pour over single origin filter coffee.
Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most exciting destinations, making it the perfect location for those seeking adventure and exhilaration.
Home to five ski resorts, the world’s first bungy jump at Kawarau Bridge and the thrilling Shotover Jetboat ride through the spectacular Shotover canyons – Queenstown is sure to electrify the senses.
Enjoy the iconic Queenstown Gondola, the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere. The views over Lake Wakatipu across to the Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are sure to please. Once there, enjoy speeding back down on the Skyline Luge.
Take an exhilarating tandem paraglide with GForce Paragliding. Choose from a gentle scenic flight or an adrenaline pumping aerobatic flight.
For a unique experience, try Over The Top Heli-Golf where players are helicoptered in to one of New Zealand’s most picturesque golf holes. Imagine a hole-in-one at 4500ft!
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is home to the sparkling blue waters of the Waitematā and Hauraki Gulf, presenting countless opportunities to explore some of the unique and beautiful surrounding islands, most of which are only a short boat or ferry trip away.
The picturesque Rangitoto, Auckland’s youngest and largest volcano, is just a 25-minute ferry ride from the downtown ferry terminal. Once there, you can explore the rocky lava fields on foot, climbing the 260m high summit via the Rangitoto Summit Track.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand’s most successful conservation projects. Located 30km north east of central Auckland, it can also be reached by ferry. As you explore the island, you may come across many endangered birds such as the Saddleback, Kōkako and Takahē.
Another day trip option is Rotoroa Island, a unique island with a rich social history, easy walking tracks and beautiful beaches.
Waiheke Island is home to over 30 wineries and vineyards and only a 40-minute ferry ride from the Auckland CBD. The perfect destination for those wanting to taste award-winning wines and enjoy delicious food at the various vineyards and restaurants across the island. Favourites include Man O’ War Winery, Mudbrick Vineyard, Casita Miro and Tantalus Estate.