It should come as no surprise that New Zealand is one of the world’s most exciting and diverse destinations. One moment you’re watching a world champion sheep sheerer unrobe a dishevelled sheep, the next, you’re hurling yourself off a bridge with a length of elastic tied to your ankles by a man you just met.
Whether the two are connected or not, I’ll leave you to decide.
While you mull that over, I’ll hit NZ with a High Five! Our weekly round up of five of the most inspirational things you can do in one place.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Queenstown is a regal retreat. This lakeside resort town in the southwest of NZ’s South Island acts like a hyperactive troll; hurling people off bridges, dragging them at speed through the lakes, lobbing them out of airplanes, and sliding them over glistening glaciers.
Norway shmorway; when it comes to fiords (or fjords or feeyaawds) New Zealand provides some of the world’s best. The Fiordland National Park was established in 1952, almost 100,000 years after the Fiord Creation Committee decided to form these masterpieces in New Zealand’s deep south, including the readily accessible Milford Sound.
Sunrise at Lake Manapouri in the Fiordland NP, New Zealand's largest national park | Image by twinxamot
Go wild for dolphins!
A date with the wild dusky dolphins off the Kaikoura — from Māori word for “to eat crayfish” — coast is an unforgettable experience, at any time of year. Slide right off the boat, and expect an audience with acrobatic pods of between 10 to 1000 dolphins, right below your fins.
Boom boom, shake shake the Doom
OK, so I had to sneak one Lord of the Rings mention in here, but it’s not all lame. In reality, Mount Doom is actually Mount Ngauruhoe, an active volcano that sits boastfully along the country’s fabulous Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the world’s finest one day walks. Warning; the ascent is not for the feint hearted. Or hobbits. D’oh.
Mount Ngauruhoe featured in Lord of the Rings, as the fearsome Mount Doom | Image by Or Hiltch
Whack a Haka in your Backer Packer
The thundering Haka (song accompanied by a dance) have their roots in legends, which pre-date the Māori in New Zealand. Those that experience an impromptu performance, will indubitably be stirred by the outpouring of pride during the dance. Do not leave Aotearoa, without experiencing a Haka.
Put simply, these are some of the most incredible experiences for one of the world’s most incredible countries. New Zealand is a country ripe for exploration. From its earliest history, to its modern attitude, it’s a country which is riddled with innovative inlets.
Anything is possible in New Zealand.
Whether you’re stretching out during a Working Holiday in New Zealand, or visiting for a shorter length of time, perhaps during a round the world trip, take plenty of time to immerse yourself in the cultures and legends that underpin the nation.
Knowing a little about New Zealand’s Māori and non-Māori cohesion will provide depth to your time.
So there you go, High Five New Zealand!
This post needs your voice! Have you been to New Zealand, or have been researching a trip to the country? Do you have anything to add?
Useful Information: If you’re interested in finding out more about these experiences, our South Island Mini Adventures for the first three; you’ll find more info on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, including Mount Doom within our New Zealand adventure tours. Finally, to get to grips with Māori culture, consider spending four days at the remote Whakawerawera Village and immersing yourself in the Māori life.