New Zealand travel guide: Best places to visit in Kiwi country

Kia Ora from New Zealand, the country which abounds in adventure, nature, luxury, culture, gastronomic experiences and marine life. We hand pick 10 fun things to do in Kiwi style on your next holiday

Skydive in Taupo At Skydive Taupo, you have three options -- jumping from 12,000ft, 15,000ft or taking the plunge from 18,500ft.

It's rated among the best destinations for holidays, which promises to give you a never-ending list of places to visit. New Zealand is a holiday destination that gives you a range of options, from adventure to romance to spectacular scenery that is unmatched anywhere in the world. We help you plan a holiday to New Zealand with a list of 10 fun things to do in the Kiwi Country. Here goes: 

Skydive in Taupo

Fear is temporary, achievement is permanent is the tagline of Skydive Taupo. An apt one as skydiving enables you to feel liberated as you let go of your inhibitions and fear while achieving the ultimate adrenaline rush. A limo to pick you up from Taupo, the thrill of experiencing freefall followed by floating like a bird and seeing enviable views from a high vantage point are add ons. 

The experience begins with a briefing session where you get a fun dose of Kiwi humour followed by donning  gear that includes a jump suit, harness and goggles. Next up is riding in a hot pink plane to reach the chosen altitude, jumping from the plane, freefalling, opening the parachute and, finally, landing. 

At Skydive Taupo you have three options — jumping from 12,000 feet, jumping from 15,000 feet or taking the plunge from 18,500 feet. While the 12,000 feet jump gives you 45 seconds of freefall, the 18,500 feet lets you experience freefall for all of 75 seconds. 

The MAN recommends: Opt for the photo and video package where your instructor will interview you before you board the plane, jump, after your freefall and post landing. The photos will get you bragging rights, and the views during your experience are guaranteed to get you loads of insta followers.

Eat fascinating ice creams at Giapo in Auckland

Eat fascinating ice creams at Giapo in Auckland Giapo, run by an Italians Giapo and his wife Annarosa, is one of Auckland's most popular ice cream parlours. The couple has successfully turned ice cream's into editble works of art

Auckland may be known as the city of sails, but a popular gem of the city is Giapo which was started by Giapo and his wife Annarosa. This Italian couple has successfully turned ice cream into edible works of art. Some of their innovative ice creams include the colossal squid, sky tower, pikorua, selfie cone, wearable lips and wearable cones. The colossal squid ice cream was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the giant squid that is displayed at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington. The ice cream depicts the skills of New Zealand fishermen in an artistic manner. The sky tower ice cream takes inspiration from Auckland’s Sky Tower. Pikorua represents the Māori symbol of life and the bond shared by two people. This ice cream is a delicious way of saying I love you. The selfie cone is exactly what will get you lots of likes on social media. 

Depending on the imagination of the couple and the season, you can treat yourself to pani puri ice cream where appetising ice cream is filled inside the puri or samosa ice cream with ice cream inside the savoury samosa. 

The MAN recommends: Get yourself clicked with the selfie cone and the wearable lips before you eat them.

Also read: 9 unique gastronomical adventures handpicked just for you

Glamp off the coast of Kaikoura Camp Kekerengu overlooks the Kaikoura Coast and is an hour's drive from the town of Kaikoura

Glamp off the coast of Kaikoura

Wake up to a gorgeous sunrise, walk down to the beach, make a pagoda with the flat stones found on the beach and walk back to your glamping accommodation on top of the mountain for a healthy breakfast. 

That’s how a morning is spent at Camp Kekerengu which overlooks the Kaikoura Coast and is an hour’s drive from the town of Kaikoura. The camp comprises of three sustainable glamping tents which have cosy beds, solar powered lights and an outdoor bath complete with fairy lights. 

The MAN recommends: Get comfortable on one of the in-house bean bags, gaze at the stars, relish a barbeque or just connect with nature at this paradise. 

Take the New Zealand Riverjet in Mihi The Riverjet packages include a thermal safari and short blasts

Take the New Zealand Riverjet in Mihi

Jet Boating in Kiwi country is an activity that will have you screaming with delight. The riverjet skims the Waikato River, the country’s longest river, while showing you slices of heritage and natural beauty. 

See if you can spot geysers or sacred caves on the banks while your driver expertly gets you so close to the protruding tree stump in the middle of the river that you let out a baffling scream that turns to a full throated laugh once he manoeuvres right next to it. The Riverjet packages include a thermal safari and short blasts.

The MAN recommends: Opt for the best experience called The Squeeze. Once you complete the scenic treat of the ride, your sensory journey begins. Walk on the riverbed in knee deep water that alternates between warm and cold as it is a thermal area. Squeeze through narrow rocks, make your way through a cliff, test your fitness levels by criss-crossing over boulders, all the while surrounded by native flora. The Squeeze takes you to a gushing waterfall and on your way back, you yell and laugh as the driver whirls around, plunges in the water and revs the motor for another round.

Cruise on Lake Taupo Depending on the weather, you can swim in this pristine lake which is the country’s largest freshwater body

Cruise on Lake Taupo

Cruise on Lake Taupo on Ernest Kemp which is a replica of a steamboat. Her steering wheel was formerly used by the fire brigade and her steam whistle on a steam locomotive. As you cruise on this lake which is roughly the size of Singapore, ducks, kayaks, waving locals and kids enjoying the good weather give you company. 

The contemporary Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay that depict Maori mythology are the highlight of the cruise. Depending on the weather, you can swim in this pristine lake which is the country’s largest freshwater body.  

The MAN recommends: Take the two- hour cocktail cruise at 5pm to enjoy wine, beer and pizza as you admire the Māori rock carvings, Taupo lake front and the picturesque Acacia Bay.

Swim with New Zealand fur seals in Kaikoura Called kekeno, the fur seals play on the rocks of the Kaikoura peninsula and swim in its shallow waters

Swim with New Zealand fur seals in Kaikoura

Don a 5mm dive suit and hood, grab your snorkelling gear and flippers, and let your anticipation soar as you ride to the east coast of Kaikoura to experience the memorable marine activity of swimming with fur seals in their natural habitat. 

New Zealand fur seals called kekeno play on the rocks of the Kaikoura peninsula and swim in its shallow waters. On the rocks, watch a bull impress a cow or pups assert their authority with one another before they dive into the water where you are waiting for them. Seal Swim Kaikoura is a family owned enterprise that has been conducting these tours for the last 33 years. 

The MAN recommends: Carry a GoPro to take videos of the seals or other marine life as it swims under you.

Learn about Kiwi honey in Lake Taupo region During the honey tour, you get to see bees in action, the garden where some of the flowers bloom from which the bees take nectar and also get to work with the traditional tools used for making honey

Also read: Things to do in Macau for the first-time visitor

Learn about Kiwi honey in Lake Taupo region

Huka Honey Hive is a one stop fun location to learn all about honey. Take the honey tour where you get to see bees in action, the garden where some of the flowers bloom from which the bees take nectar and the traditional tools used for making honey.  Sample artisan New Zealand honey in the tasting room before stepping into the gift shop where a range of exotic kiwi honey awaits you.

Huka Honey Hive also offers a variety of honey-based products from beeswax candles to skincare products like soaps, toothpaste, body lotions and lip balms. Don’t leave without relishing the fig and honey ice cream at the ice cream parlour. 

Hike up to Mount Victoria in Devonport Devonport is a seaside village and also one of the oldest suburbs of Auckland

The MAN recommends: Do get the highly coveted Manuka honey, a single batch of which recently sold for £2,700 pounds (Rs2.6 lakh approx) at Harrods in London.

Hike up to Mount Victoria in Devonport

The scenic ride to Devonport from downtown Auckland is via ferry. You won’t even realise how time flies on this short ride of approximately 12 minutes as you are busy admiring the shimmering waters of Waitemata Harbour. Devonport is a seaside village and also one of the oldest suburbs of Auckland. 

Once you disembark, stroll along Victoria Road to get a feel of the café culture or for souvenir shopping. Step into Chiasso Coffee Roasters on Wynyard Street for some delicious coffee or hot chocolate to fuel up before climbing to the top of Mount Victoria. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the summit which is a volcanic cone. Panoramic vistas of Auckland city and the Hauraki Gulf are the reward once you reach the top. Spot the bright red mushroom-like structures that are reservoir vents, as you enjoy the crisp fresh air. 

Take the Travis Wetlands walk in Christchurch At the wetland, you also get to see native bush birds, waders, swans, geese, shags and gulls as you walk amidst forested area

The MAN recommends: Ditch your footwear and sink your feet into the wet sand of Devonport beach. 

Take the Travis Wetlands walk in Christchurch

Travis Wetlands is a nature heritage park and a walk here reveals varied flora and avian life. From the viewing deck, see if you can spot the native diving duck which is a rare species. There are also interesting native bush birds, waders, swans, geese, shags and gulls as you walk amidst forested area.

Learn about the indigenous uses of some of the trees and plants. See if you can identify the podocarpus tree and native ferns? Or whether you hit bull’s eye with New Zealand’s native tree called matai? 

Hear the bellbird and tui birds that are the two stars of Travis Wetlands. After all Christchurch is known as the bellbird capital of New Zealand. While the bellbird feeds on nectar bearing trees that grow at Travis, tui is an endemic bird of the country. 

Live inside a railway carriage in Raglan This railway carriage has been revamped keeping the original timber floor and ceiling intact

The MAN recommends: Take the 3.5-km walk. It will rejuvenate you as you spend time in a natural eco system formed by a forested canopy, wetlands, tall grass, trees, floating native fern, birds and fishes.

Live inside a railway carriage in Raglan

How about gazing at the Tasman Sea as you sip organic Assam tea? Try a plant-based dinner of crunchy organic salads and wood-fired pizzas at the The Conscious Kitchen before retiring for the night. You can also try your hand (and balance) at surfing, and yoga or go for a massage. Spend your time at Solscape Eco Retreat in a slowdown-mode. 

The MAN recommends: Make your experience fun and sustainable by opting to stay inside the overlander train which is parked at the retreat. This railway carriage has been revamped keeping the original timber floor and ceiling intact. Spread over 17 metres, there is a bedroom, living area and bathroom with a shower inside the carriage. 

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