New Zealand has something to offer everyone. It has such a range of natural beauty and activities, I’m sure people have different reasons for falling in love with it. Here are my top 5 reasons:
Short for Lord of the Rings. The drop dead beauty of middle earth put this far flung island country firmly on the map of many travellers. And you won’t be disappointed. There are many books and guides that can tell you where scenes were shot. Most of the props built, like Rohan or Minas Tirith have (unfortunately for fans like me) been taken down. Hobbiton however was rebuilt for the Hobbit trilogy and is now left as is for us to see! It’s NZD75 for adult entrance, steep but worth it. It’s colorful flowers and brightly painted doors makes Hobbiton a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
At the end of the tour, you get to enjoy a pint of beer/cider/rootbeer in the Green Dragon on the house!
New Zealand drifted away from the super continent hundreds of millions of years ago, giving its flora and fauna the isolation and time needed to evolve into the unique species found there today. 71% of bird species in NZ can only be found there and nowhere else in the world, whereas 80% of the flowering plants and ferns are endemic.
Kiwis and the silver fern are both important symbols of New Zealand, and a firm favorite of visitors. Other favorites include whale watching and swimming with dolphins.
3. Extreme sports in Queenstown
Known as the adventure capital of the world, here is the ultimate place to bungee jump (its birthplace!), skydive, jetboat, whitewater raft, mountain bike, Nevis swing, ski….the list goes on and on.
Not your cup of tea? Take a gondola up for a panoramic view over the town with the Remarkables as backdrop and the azure blue Lake Wakatipu on one side. It’s breathtaking. You won’t see a view of a town quite like that anywhere else in the world. Don’t forget to grab a fergburger once back in town.
4. Great Walks
New Zealand has 9 great walks which are multi day hikes (or tramps, as the locals call it) that are well maintained by the Department of Conservation. Before you think there are only 9 hiking trails in NZ let me assure you there are thousands of trails, ranging anywhere from 1 hour to multi day hikes. The Department of Conservation does a fantastic job in maintaining huts and providing toilets and other facilities all over the backcountry of NZ.
Trust me when I say you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a trek but the most world renowned ones are the Milford Track, Routeburn Track and Kepler Track (3 of the 9 great walks). The Milford Track is booked up months in advance so if you plan to do this one I urge you to book as soon as possible. Both Routeburn and Kepler also require bookings for use of the hut/campsite during tramping season.
Fresh air filling your lungs, stretching your legs for miles, nature all around- no better way to escape the office world and concrete jungle in my opinion.
5. Diverse scenery
For that “National Geographic shot” look no further than New Zealand. It has enough to fill your memory card and then some.
Snow capped mountains, turquoise seas, mile high fjords, huge glaciers- New Zealand has it all. It will leave you utterly speechless and reminds all of us how small we are in this precious home we call Earth.
How about you? Would love to hear what you love most about New Zealand!