We’ve been showing off New Zealand to visitors on our small group tours since 1971, and, as a result, there are a number of quintessentially ‘kiwi’ experiences throughout the country that are unmissable. Some are on the tourist trail, some are hidden local secrets – but all are absolutely unforgettable. Read on to learn more.
Kawiti Glow Worm Caves
Home to thousands of twinkling glow worms, lush green rainforest and stunning rock formations, Northland’s Kawiti Caves are pure magic. Journey underground past stalactites and stalagmites to explore caverns where the glow worms are so close, you can almost touch them.
Waipoua Kauri Forest, Northland
This evening tour is run by local Maori and showcases the beautiful Waipoua Kauri Forest. Spiritual and unforgettable, the tour incorporates the myths and legends of the local tribe as well as haunting Maori songs. You’ll get up close to Tane Mahuta, the God of the Forest and the largest Kauri tree in the world.
Swimming with Dolphins, Bay of Islands
Playful, curious and cheeky, swimming with Northland’s dolphins is one for the bucket list. The water is temperate and clear, and getting up close to these magical animals amidst the beauty of the Bay of Islands is something you’ll never forget.
Orakei Korako, Rotorua
A wonderland of fiery natural forces, Orakei Korako is known as Rotorua’s ‘Hidden Valley’. Four different colours of geothermal terraces are dotted with geysers that erupt intermittently, and the enchanting ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ is 35m deep and full of warm acid water – the only one of its kind in New Zealand.
Albatross watching, Kaikoura
The world’s largest sea birds, Albatross have a wingspan of up to 3 metres that allows them to glide over huge expanses of open ocean. Kaikoura is known as the Albatross Capital of New Zealand, and getting out on the water and up close to these princely birds is a privileged experience.
Stroll in the foothills of the Southern Alps
The valley that lies under towering Mount Cook – New Zealand’s highest Mountain – is simply stunning to explore on foot. Here, alpine flowers and golden tussock contrast with the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps.
Scenic Flight, Milford Sound
There’s no better way to experience the soaring cliffs, rainforest-cloaked mountains and snowy peaks of Milford Sound than with a scenic flight. A bird’s eye view spectacularly showcases the unique beauty of this special part of New Zealand.
Nestled against the Arrow River is Arrowtown, a pretty settlement rich in gold mining history. Home to boutique shops and a fascinating past, it’s a beautiful place to stop for lunch or to try your hand panning in the Arrow River.
Kayaking, Okarito Lagoon
Remote Okarito Lagoon on the West Coast of the South Island is a breeding ground for the rare White Heron as well as other native bird life. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place to explore by kayak, with only the melody of birdsong and the gentle ripples of the water to punctuate the serenity.
Inspired? We’ve built all of these Essential New Zealand experiences into our 23-day Kakapo Small Group tour, incorporating the very best of the North and South Islands. Find out more here, or get in touch with us directly.