5 Things You've Just Gotta Do: Australia & New Zealand
Adventure, beaches & the Red Centre
The experience of travelling in Australia & New Zealand is completely unique. From wide open spaces to small local nooks, you won't want to miss a thing. That's why we've put together the top 5 must do activities in these awesome destinations.
1) Catch a thrill at Shotover River
A 75-kilometre long stretch of water with rushing rapids is just asking to be taken on by the adventure-lover, right? At Shotover River in Queenstown, you will literally have the ride of your life as you zip down the canyons in a jet boat, making sharp turns and doing 360 spins. This, folks, is not an experience to be missed. And if that isn't enough to make your heart drop to your stomach, head upstream to the Canyon Swing, where you will jump from a cliff 109 metres high, flying over the river on a 60m freefall before completing a few massive swings. With over 70 swing styles, you can do everything from sit in a deck chair to hang upside down from your feet to shooting down a slide.
2) Go deep in the Waitomo Caves
While I'm not one for creepy-crawlies, a visit to the Waitomo Caves should be high on everyone's bucket list. The site is home to thousands of glowworms, which are native to New Zealand and radiate their beautiful glow throughout the dark caves. Offered as an optional with Contiki, you can take a boat tour through Glowworm Grotto in two million year old caves and marvel at the glowing strands of worms overhead.
3) Take in the beauty of Milford Sound
Milford Sound is New Zealand's top tourist destination and it's not hard to see why. With incredible landscapes of waterfalls, mirrored waters, tall peaks and lush rain forests, this fjord has been named by some as the 8th Wonder of the World. Contiki offers a cruise of Milford Sound as an optional on a number of their itineraries to New Zealand, and it's definitely a trip worth taking. You'll spot incredible wildlife like penguins, whales, dolphins and the rare species of blue duck which is native to New Zealand.
With a coastline extending around the entire country, Australia has some of the best waves in the world. Head up the east coast to Byron's Bay, home to not only one of the best surf spots in the country, but also to a chill, laid-back lifestyle and a ton of other surf fans lining the beach. For one of the most popular surf locations in Aus, check out Bells Beach in Victoria, which has a massive swell perfect for the more experienced on the board. And if your knees are wobbly at the thought of surfing, no worries - Contiki includes a surf lesson in Coff's Harbour on a number of their trips.
5) Adventure into the outback
A journey into the Australian outback is an adventure like no other, with epic views of sprawling landscapes and everything from rugged canyons to lush forests. With more than 90% of Australians living along the coast, the northern inland is a vast, remote area where you can take a moment to enjoy nature and also take advantage of all the awesome adventure activities available. On Contiki's 11-day Outback Adventure there are tons of cool optionals like a dawn hot air balloon flight over the desert, a camel ride through an outback station and a helicopter flight over Uluru.