With a population of just four million, New Zealand is one of the least populated countries on the planet. It also boasts one of the most varied landscapes. From the mirror-like lakes of Milford Sound to the breath-taking Franz Josef glacier, a New Zealand travel experience is one of life’s great experiences. There are so many things to do in New Zealand that it’s difficult to know where to start. Which is where we come in…
The challenge in deciding what to do in New Zealand is whittling down the options. Check out our Top 5 favourites…
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Splore – Held each February at the beachside of Tapapakanga Park, this multi-disciplinary festival is possibly the best of the festivals in Auckland. Splore celebrates the region’s local heritage as well as international arts, and has everything from the world’s greatest music outfits to native dance performances.
For more information on Splore festival, click here.
2. Queenstown Winter Festival – If winter sports are your thing, then hit Queenstown in time for this ten-day event, which attracts adrenalin-fuelled nutters from all over the world. You can also get stuck in yourself – whether it’s snowboarding, bungee, river jet-boating or simply partying, they go hard in QT.
For more information on Queenstown Winter Festival, click here.
3. Puaka Matariki Festival – The Maori New Year, Matariki is celebrated throughout June and July each year. While events are held across the whole country, the Puaka Matariki Festival is one of the main attractions in Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island. To learn more about the country’s fascinating heritage, this one’s a must.
For more information on Puaka Matariki Festival, click here.
4. Golden Shears Festival – You can’t get more NZ than a sheep shearing festival. This annual event held in Masterton has been going strong for over 50 years and attracts participants the globe over keen to grab champion wool handling status. It’s unlikely you’ll be stuck for what to see in Wellington, but if you’re in the region during March it really would be rude not to.
For more information on Golden Shears Festival, click here.
5. World Buskers Festival – What better way to honour your inner-hobo than by heading over to one of the most recommended festivals in Christchurch? Whether you join in or just enjoy this international celebration of street music, this is a right old celebration of the art of spontaneous public performance.
For more information on World Buskers Festival, click here.
1. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa – New Zealand’s main national museum is one of those attractions in Wellington that you just can’t skip. Home to permanent displays dedicated to the country’s extraordinary history, it’s the best place to learn about everything from Maori heritage through to contemporary Kiwi art.
For more information on the the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, click here.
2. Toitu Otago Settlers Museum – If you’re wondering what to see in Dunedin, look no further. Modern New Zealand was in part shaped by 19th century Scottish migration, and the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum has the full lowdown.
For more information on the the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, click here.
3. Auckland Art Gallery – Still deciding what to do in Auckland? Over 1,000 works of indigenous, national and international art await at Auckland Art Gallery. The extensive permanent collection offers a great overview of New Zealand art over the centuries, both pre and post European settlement.
For more information on the the Auckland Art Gallery, click here.
4. Museum of Wellington City & Sea – Wellington’s principal museum tells the story of the area’s maritime heritage and how westernisation changed its landscape. Weighty, but this should be top of your list of things to do in Wellington.
For more information on the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, click here.
5. Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre – Blenheim’s Aviation Centre covers New Zealand’s rich sky-borne history in real depth. And, as a bonus, Marlborough Sounds is close by, meaning you can combine culture and natural beauty in one easy package.
For more information on the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, click here.
Modern New Zealand’s European influences mean familiar cuisine for Western travellers with stews, meat and root vegetables enduring as firm favourites. Fish and seafood are also primary staples thanks to the archipelago’s expansive coastline, while a potent Maori tradition adds variety. We’ve come up with a list of some of the best food in New Zealand for you to sample while you’re there.
Green lipped mussels – These seafood bad boys are among the largest, freshest mussels in the world. You’ll find the best examples harvested and served in Marlborough.
Best eaten at –The Mussel Inn, Onekaka, Golden Bay
Pavlova – Invented in Wellington and named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova when she visited the city in 1926, this dessert is a culinary icon and will feature on the menu in most restaurants in New Zealand.
Best eaten at – Floriditas, 161 Cuba St, Wellington
Maori Hangi – This quintessential New Zealand food refers to the method of cooking meat and root vegetables using rocks, wood and steam in an earth oven. If you’re wondering where to eat in Rotorua, you’re in the best place for sampling authentic Hangi.
Best eaten at – Kiwi Kai, 1211 Amohau St, Rotorua
Fish and chips – Part of traditional Kiwiana cuisine, fish and chips are a revered food in New Zealand. There are plenty of North Shore restaurants serving the dish that’ll sate any hankering for the ultimate seaside comfort food.
Best eaten at – Oceanz Seafood, which has several restaurants in Auckland
Meat Pies – While meat pies are completely self-explanatory, they’re also a championed staple of the Kiwi diet. Try lamb cutlet and kumara (sweet potato) for the real NZ deal.
Best eaten at – Miles Better Pies, Milford Rd, Te Anau
Rain jacket - Whenever you visit, expect a shower or two.
Layers - You’ll be surprised how variable climate is. Even a few kilometres can make a big difference thanks to the diverse geography.
Sturdy walking shoes - Don’t even think about tackling a trek wearing flip-flops – or thongs as they’re called over there. New Zealand’s terrain can be brutal.
Insect repellent - New Zealand’s subtropical climate is a haven for biters like mosquitoes, and its endemic sand fly can be just as irritating. Be prepared!
Sunscreen - Don’t be fooled; even when the weather’s cloudy, the sun in New Zealand is strong and can toast your skin.