New Zealand is defined by its natural beauty, with its ability to inspire the mind and help you lose all concept of time. As a born and bred Kiwi (or JAFA, locals will understand this, Google the meaning at your own risk) you could say that I’m a bit bias when it comes to talking about the wondrous Aotearoa – Yes I mean Land of the Long White Cloud, Kiwi Land, Middle Earth or just plain old New Zealand for those of you playing at home. It’s really no surprise as to why New Zealand is an explorer’s paradise; effortlessly unifying cosmopolitan metropolis with old timey traditions and culture, and heart palpitating activities with untouched landscapes. If you’re planning a trip, or just happen to be a local bored out of your mind, add these fun yet slightly unusual activities to your bucket list.
Sit in Your Own Natural Spa at Hot Water Beach
When I was a young’un and full of summer holiday excitement, our family would journey from Auckland to the Coromandel just so I could dig holes at Hot Water Beach. While it gets a bit touristy from time to time, it’s one experience you cannot miss. I guess I should explain the science behind this natural wonder, shouldn’t I? Hot Water Beach lies on top of underground hot water springs that filter up through the sand between low and high tide. Paired with a shovel, the idea is to dig yourself a hole in the sand and watch it fill up with glorious hot water. What then? You sit in your awesomely dug hole, let the hot water envelope you and watch on as the wave’s crash the shore.
Visit the Shire in Matamata
Here’s the part where I become a bias kiwi again. To not visit the Shire should be a crime. Even if you don’t like Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit (which you should) this private man-made farm land is stunning and makes for an amazing day out. You can stay for the night, have a drink in the Green Dragon Inn, frolic in the overgrown grasslands, and recreate the scene in the Baggins’ abode where Frodo and Gandalf realised their fate that there was one ring to rule them all and it must be destroyed.
Schweeb/Zorb/Luge/Mud Bath – In That Order
Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of New Zealand. So much so, that everybody forgets about little ol’ Rotorua. Yes, due to its geothermal activities, this town will offend your nostrils, however you’ll soon forget about the egg-y stench when you embark on some of the coolest adventure sports known to man. Start by pedalling inside a glass pod over the grassy terrain, then partake in a casual roll down the hill inside a Zorb ball, followed by a race with your mates on the part go-cart, part toboggan luge. Lick your wounds at the end of the day with a relaxing mud bath. If you’re an unco-ordinated soul, you might want to check out this URL in case you need a good travel insurance provider.
Travelled to New Zealand before? Tell us your tips/favourite things to do in the comments below.