bucket list New Zealand

7 Bucket-List Experiences To Have In New Zealand

From glaciers to beaches, whale-watching to wine-tasting, there’s so many incredible bucket list experiences in New Zealand.

This beautiful country is made for road trippin’, with a rich culture and heritage and gourmet food. Plus, scenery worthy of an Oscar. Here’s the best things to do in NZ:

Bucket List Experiences To Have In New Zealand

1. Wine-Tasting on Waiheke

Home to a magical blend of vineyards, olive groves, beaches, art studios and funky cafes, Waiheke Island is an enchanting oasis. Sip New Zealand’s finest wines at one of the many vineyards while enjoying sea views.

New Zealand Wine Regions & Tours | New Zealand Travel Blog

2. Say ‘Kia Ora’ to Culture

“Kia ora!” Maori culture in New Zealand is a key part of Kiwi life,  running deep in daily life here – from the cuisine, language, and locals’ attitudes, to what children learn at school and how the country is governed. Whether you live here or are just visiting, it’s important to understand about the culture and customs here.

You can learn more about Maori culture here.

Māori Culture In New Zealand

3. Heli-Hike a Glacier

Wild rivers, rainforests, glaciers and rugged beaches invite exploration on the stunning, unspoiled region of the West Coast. Take a helicopter to the top of a glacier for a guided walk onto the Franz Josef (below) or Fox Glacier.

Fox Glacier & Franz Josef Glacier | West Coast, New Zealand

4. Cruise with Whales in Kaikoura

Just two hours north of Christchurch, picturesque Kaikoura is all about sea adventures. Have an up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whales and pods of Dusky dolphins on a cruise or go snorkeling with friendly New Zealand fur seals. See more Kaikoura experiences.

Whale watch kaikoura - Whale watching boat tours in Kaikoura

5. Hike Ancient Lava Flows

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is often described as New Zealand’s best day walk. The 19km hike traverses ancient volcanic terrain, winding its way past emerald lakes, old lava flows and even an active crater. Views of Lake Taupo and the Ruapehu region are magnificent, and make the hike well worth the effort!

Image: Graeme Murray

6. Discover Movie Sets

It’s no secret that New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, which explains its popularity with film scouts. Some of the best filming locations in New Zealand include spots from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, King Kong: Skull Island and more.

bucket list New Zealand

7. Chill Out on Cathedral Cove Beaches

Pack a picnic, follow the coastal trail and enjoy an idyllic day at The Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove. Go for a swim, snorkel, kayak or just relax in the sand. From beautiful Hahei Beach you can walk to Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed archway is the perfect photo op.

Cathedral Cove bucket list New Zealand
Image: Andy Belcher
Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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