New Zealand may be associated with extreme sports, spectacular scenery from the Lord of the Rings films, and the frightening haka of the All Blacks rugby team, but it is also full of unique experiences. However, it is rarely recognized among travelers. That’s not surprising given the distant South Pacific nation’s long history of invention and creativity.
Admire Napier’s donuts and Oamaru’s steaks – Kiwi secrets
Art deco fans should visit Napier on New Zealand’s North Island. Rebuilt in the 1930s following a 7.8 earthquake, the city center is pastel-colored and geometric. Every February, around Valentine’s Day, Napier residents come to pit stations for a weekend celebration of 1930s vehicles, flapper girls, popular tunes, and brass bands. Book a walking tour at the Art Deco Center on the beach to see features you’d miss otherwise.
Oamaru, on the South Island, has retained most of its Victorian architecture from its 19th-century heyday. Creativity and bohemianness have made the town the steampunk capital of the globe’ Steampunk is a sci-fi subgenre that reimagines current technology in Victorian England. Steampunk HQ is in the 1830s Meeks Grain Elevator Building. The Victorian town has antique booksellers, boutiques, and boutiques. Antiquing and crafting.
Climb a ladder like no other in Wanaka
Queenstown, New Zealand’s winter sports hub, is a year-round must-see. A waterfall and tributary are among its highlights. Wildfire Wanaka is a new location in the foothills on the approach to Tiitea/Mt Aspiring National Park, where even the most courageous visitors may extend themselves by ‘essentially scaling a ladder’ It ascends over the stunning Twin Falls, affording amazing views as part of that wow-was-I-really-adventure. Wildfire offers half- and full-day trips according on fitness level (and tolerance for dizziness).
Auckland’s skywalk tests your nerves – Kiwi secrets
Even if you can’t leave Auckland, you can still have an adrenaline-filled Kiwi adventure. Sky Tower, 328m tall, is the tallest skyscraper in the Southern Hemisphere. At 192m, an observation platform lets the adventurous ‘walk in the sky’ on a short metal plank. There are seat belts but no handrails to grab when your feet go rubbery, making the experience severe. If the height dizzy you, focus on the bay (not the city below). Unhappy? Buildings can be bungee jumped.
Aurora hunting and stargazing in the South Island
The aurora borealis (Northern Lights) attracts more attention, although the aurora australis (Southern Lights) is similar. This phenomenon can be viewed from New Zealand’s South Island between March and September. Visit The Catlins, Invercargill, Lake Tekapo, and Dunedin to see it. Find a rural spot away from light pollution on a dark, moonless night. Lake Tekapo is a Sky Reserve for stargazers who miss the aurora borealis.
Get muddy at Mudtopia in Rotorua – Kiwi secrets
Rotorua in December will fulfill your childhood wish to be wrapped in big brown blankets. Mudtopia features mud-pulling and music. North Island outdoor center hosts three-day festival. Rotorua’s mud contains therapeutic elements, therefore the spa offers mud massages, facials, and aesthetic treatments. Organizers call the mud puddles, games, tracks, and hurdles “children’s fun castles on the beach.” Slippery steroids’
Lake Taupo sashimi rainbow trout
Lake Taupo’s lovely, mild waters, surrounded by the high hills of Tongariro National Park, attract nature lovers. Most fishermen capture a trout or two there. Even if you don’t fish, someone will in these fish-filled waters, so test your knife skills with sashimi on the boat. After a fresh dinner, swim in the lake and cruise to my Bay’s Mori rock carvings.
Invercargill’s motorcycle-and-fashion museum
Where’s the world’s largest private truck and automobile museum? Italy? America? New Zealand’s south is Invercargill. Bill Richardson’s Transport World is a 15,000-square-foot chamber filled with restored Ford Model Ts and VW Kombis. These machines are accompanied by Wearable Art installations in a typical Kiwi venue. The wearable Art gala is a colorful and creative event in June. Bill Richardson didn’t ignore bikers. In 2016, the museum transported 300 recovered and non-captive animals from Nelson to the center’s Classic Motorcycle Mecca. Invercargill city.