All we’re hearing from the folks out there is, ‘We can’t wait to travel again’. We know the feeling all too well. So, we are sharing some great holiday adventure starters to help you plan your first post-COVID getaway. And what better place to start than with the land of the long white cloud - New Zealand.
New Zealand is a small country in the southwestern Pacific primarily made up of two islands aptly known as the North Island and the South Island with another 600 or so fringing islands scattered along its coastline. Anyone who loves the movies will know New Zealand for the spectacular scenery that featured in the Lord of Rings Trilogy. It is a gobsmackingly beautiful country.
New Zealand’s are often referred to as kiwis after their native bird. The country is proud of its Polynesian roots and Māori cultural heritage along with its British roots and traditions that followed colonisation in 1840. The cultural blend works well and though the Indigenous population makes up only about 17% of the people, the Māori culture has a much larger bearing on the nation than that number suggests. Te Reo, the country’s traditional language, is the official language alongside English and the New Zealand National Anthem is sung first in Te Reo followed by its English rendition. The Haka is an intimidating war cry well known to all sports fans and used before international clashes on the sporting field to put the opposition on the back foot. To the contrary, when you visit New Zealand, kiwis are quick to make you feel welcome. They call it manaakitanga, meaning to welcome visitors and treat them with generosity, care and respect.
Alongside its rich culture are the country’s out-of-this-world landscapes, waterways and wildlife. So, get prepared to do some serious gifting to friends who are ready for a New Zealand escape, or make the most of your own trip to this wondrous place with adventure gifts that are nothing short of amazing.
North Island Magical Experiences
Auckland is a fantastic city with fantastic food and drink experiences, magnificent waterways, beaches, islands, mountain ranges and steaming geysers all within easy reach of the city. For these reasons and more, Auckland even made it to top three on the world’s most liveable cities list. So, let’s begin with the heavy hitters.
For those who love their gourmet spreads and fine wines served up with lashing of natural adventures the Auckland Kumeu Wine Country Tour is a boutique offering that will introduce connoisseurs with a taste for all the fine in life to some of New Zealand’s best. With the world-famous steaming mud baths of Rotorua bubbling away and close at hand, it will be impossible to resist the six-hour Auckland To Rotorua Via Waitomo Tour. This guided odyssey takes guests to some of the most outstanding experiences in the region including the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, the Pohutu Geyser and for culture vultures the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. The Rangitoto Island Summit Sunset Kayak Tour is a fantastic 6.5-hour adventure for nature lovers who love nothing more than getting out and amongst it. Transitioning from daylight into nightfall, guests cross Waitemata Harbour to reach the landmark Rangitoto where they spend the evening eating, hiking, exploring and learning all about this amazing volcanic destination. There are so many other great exploits to be had while you’re in the Auckland area, be sure to check out more of the gifts on offer before you head off to other top spots around the country.
A day’s drive south from Auckland takes you to New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. Perhaps best known for being the windiest city in the world, visitors should not be daunted - Wellington is a wonderful hunting ground for those with wanderlust. Perched on the southernmost point of the Cook Strait, Wellington is as pretty as could be and easy to explore. It’s especially fun to see when you have your own private guide to show you around and that’s why we recommend the Wellington Full Day Tour. You’ll get to see and experience the city highlights as you make your way across the city, up to the mountain ranges and then travel back down and along the coast in a full day of fun. If you love food, New Zealand should definitely be on your bucket list and the Wellington Food Tour is a very good gift choice for how to make the most of a day sampling the most delicious gourmet delights the city has to offer. For the cyclists among you, get out your big-pants lycra for this adventure; the Rimutaka Highlights Package - Cycle Rimutaka Tour is a rugged 35-kilometre coastal adventure that promises unforgettable memories of Wellington’s extraordinary natural land and marine habitats.
And as if you can’t get enough of awesome and rugged just wait until you make that ferry crossing from Wellington to the sensational South Island.
South Island Sensational Experiences
Christchurch is a charming garden city tucked into the mainland coastline overlooking Pegasus Bay. With lots of characteristics reminiscent of ‘the old country,’ you’ll find double-decker buses, cute retro trams and river punts offer some fun forms of transport when it comes to making your way around this pretty part of the country. For a change of pace, you can also jump into a jet boat for a thrilling adventure ride taking in views of the stunning Southern Alps and the local wildlife as you thread your way through the many braids of the Waimakariri River.
Like Christchurch, further south, the city of Dunedin is marked by its old-world charm and easy access to the amazing natural characteristics of the region. And what better way to explore the area than with your personal Māori guide on The Dunedin Peninsula Tour. This tour is a real eye-opener not just taking in the native flora and fauna native but also the historical and cultural aspects too. The tour highlights are endless and as it does, being in the wild always offers up plenty of surprises. And if you’re looking for some after-dark fun with a difference, a tour guaranteed to add sparkle to the night is the Dunedin Southern Skies Stargazing Tour.
To the west now - the wild wet and Queenstown. There’s simply no way to avoid exhilarating excitement in this holiday Mecca. Queenstown is the home of bungy jumping and all things fantastic as far as aerial and aquatic adventure is concerned, so hold onto your eyeballs, you’re in for some serious fun.
The quaintness of the town belies the magnificent beauty of the surroundings and for adventure lovers, this is the hot spot when it comes to wild adventures of the extreme kind. With Gifting Owl’s more than 80 tour options to choose from, you can spend days...no, make that weeks, just filling your itinerary with must-do exploits. Visit Middle Earth on the Queenstown Scenic Lord Of The Rings Tour or fly over forests teaming with wildlife on the Queenstown Kereru Adventure. Combine canyons and water and you get double the fun. Head to the Gibbston Valley where you can hike to Kawarau Canyon for a half-day of abseiling and waterfall adventures and for thrills of a different kind Skippers Canyon is the place for jet boat rides that will satisfy any speed freaks among you.
When you’re ready to slow the tempo combine authentic cultural food and fun experiences on the Walter Peak Tour Incl Gourmet Bbq Lunch or join the five-hour Bike The Wineries - Guided Tour for a chance to get to know more about the local wines while taking in the beauty and serenity of the countryside.
New Zealand is an extraordinary adventure land in the southern reaches of our world. What better way to begin your happy travels again than with a visit here. As a place gushing with natural beauty, phenomenal experiences and authenticity that’s hard to find these days, your best chance to soak in all that New Zealand offers is with the experienced guides you’ll find on Gifting Owl. Enjoy!