Planning itineraries that cater to the specific interests of your clients is a great way to ensure their New Zealand journey exceeds their expectations. Many visitors would like to learn about New Zealand’s unique Māori culture. If this is a particular interest for your clients, their itinerary can be tailored to include cultural hot-spots. Food and wine tours, or tours that focus on New Zealand’s fascinating wildlife, are popular options. Put together an itinerary that concentrates on action and adventure highlights around the country.
Action & Adventure
New Zealand is widely known for its adventure activities. For the ultimate action holiday, tick off these hot-spots:
Nationwide Explore New Zealand’s wilderness areas on hiking trips – the Great Walks are regarded as the nation’s premier trails. Queenstown Visit Queenstown for a choice of adrenaline-pumping adventures like bungy jumping or jet boating. Southern Alps Go for memorable alpine experiences in Wanaka, Mount Cook and Methven. Give ice climbing at the West Coast’s glaciers a go. Rotorua Try mountain biking in Rotorua. Ruapehu Brave the white-water rapids of the Ruapehu region. Auckland Catch a wave at the surfers’ Mecca of Piha on Auckland’s west coast. Hanmer Springs Book a 4WD safari at Hanmer Springs.
Culture & Art
There are lots of off-the-beaten track destinations that are home to excellent art galleries and studios.
Any itinerary should include elements of New Zealand’s Māori culture. Rotorua is a well-known destination for those seeking to sample a range of exciting cultural activities. Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, is another must-visit region – the site where European settlers forged their earliest relationships with the indigenous population. There are also plenty of ways for visitors to indulge their passion for the arts. Renowned galleries in Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland and Wellington – including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington – are an excellent introduction to art history. The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth is one of the world’s most prestigious modern art galleries. The Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui and The Suter Gallery in Nelson are also renowned.
Seafood is a particular New Zealand speciality – eating crayfish at a seaside caravan in Kaikoura is a highlight.
Fancy a culinary adventure? Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin all boast an excellent array of restaurants from high-class to casual. As an island nation, New Zealand is well known for its seafood: visitors can sample scallops in The Coromandel, mussels in Marlborough, crayfish in Kaikoura* and oysters in Southland. When travelling around, farmers’ markets are a great option to sample local delicacies. Northland produces award-winning cheeses and subtropical fruit, and Rotorua is the perfect stop for a Māori hangi. Keep an eye out for paua fritters in New Plymouth, olives and chocolate in Hawke’s Bay, and artisan breads at Porirua Farmers’ Market. In the South Island, don’t miss out on sampling fruit and seafood in Nelson, whitebait on the West Coast and lamb in Canterbury. Geraldine is renowned for berries and chutneys, while Oamaru is famous for delicious Whitestone cheeses.
The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is an excellent starting point for a wine-tasting journey around New Zealand.
For lovers of fine wine, the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail is a great starting point for planning the perfect itinerary. This signposted 380-kilometre touring route links the major wine-growing areas of Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa in the North Island before crossing to the South Island to visit Marlborough. Visitors following this route will relish the chance to stock their cellars with a great variety of wines, from reds such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in Hawke’s Bay to Pinot Noir in Wairarapa and Marlborough’s famous Sauvignon Blanc.
Incredible wildlife experiences are part of what makes New Zealand unique. Here are some highlights:
Northland Go diving in Northland. Swim with wild dolphins in the Bay of Islands. Waikato & Waitomo Float through the glow-worm-studded Waitomo Caves. Wellington & Kapiti Coast Obtain a permit to visit the nature reserve of Kapiti Island. Visit the wildlife sanctuary of ZEALANDIA in Wellington. Nelson Discover the birdlife at Farewell Spit in the Nelson region. Kaikoura* Go on a whale- or dolphin-watching cruise in Kaikoura. Otago See Little Blue Penguins return to shore at dusk in Oamaru. See albatrosses on the Otago Peninsula. Southland Watch wild kiwi forage on a Stewart Island beach.
*Note: Kaikoura is still accessible by the inland road from either north or south, as well as on a limited basis on State Highway 1 from Christchurch and Picton as repairs continue – check with the latest update from the New Zealand Transport Authority when planning your trip, as travel times have also increased.