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7 activities to inspire your trip to New Zealand

Intrigued about what you can do during your trip to New Zealand? Everything is possible! With TravelEssence, you will get to know the country in an active way. But how do you know which activities suit you best? That depends on what you’re interested in. In order to give you an idea of the possibilities, we have selected 7 different activities which will enhance your trip.

From swimming with fur seals to trekking over glaciers, whether you are visiting the North or South Island, you will always find a fun activity to experience! After all, New Zealand is a country full of highlights and to get a taste, here is a selection of activities on offer:-

What you can do in New Zealand?: 7 activities for inspiration!

Go into hiding in Tutukaka

Begin your adventure at a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, over 11 million years old, The Poor Knights Islands. Even though you are not allowed to set foot on the islands, you do have the opportunity to explore the waters by snorkelling or diving.

And that is very special!

The islands have been inhabited by humans since 1820. This has allowed nature to flourish and take its own course completely. You can admire the most unique flora and fauna, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The subtropical and nutrient-rich waters create an ultimate aquatic habitat for the countless subtropical fish that live here.

Spectacular dive to spot many fishes | New Zealand active holiday
Discover the marine world surrounding The Poor Knights Islands

Set sail in the Coromandel

Kilometres of white sandy beaches, colourful bays and picturesque coastal towns. The Coromandel Peninsula, located on the northeast coast of the North Island, is definitely worth a visit! Especially during the New Zealand summer, in December and January, when the native Pohutukawa trees are in full bloom with the most stunning red-pink flowers.

You can best experience the peninsula when onboard the 19-metre sailing ship, Windborne. The ship has been braving the ocean since 1928 and during the cruise, you will sail past the highlights of Mercury Bay, such as Cathedral Cove. Once onboard, you can help the captain hoist the sails. You can even be at the helm to sail along the bays yourself.

A yellow and white sailing boat on clear turquoise water
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Coromandel Peninsula
© TravelEssence
Sailing boat on the ocean with the sun setting
Watch the sunset as you drift through the water

Kayak along the golden beaches of Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman is perhaps the smallest national park in New Zealand, but despite its size, it is a massively beautiful destination. Nowhere else in the world will you find the beaches as beautifully golden as they are there!

The area was discovered in 1642, by the Dutch explorer with the name, yes, Abel Tasman. In this very spot, you are in the right place for adventurous activities. You can go hiking, kayaking, swimming or snorkelling. Sea kayaking is 100% recommended! The water is relatively calm, and the course takes you past beautiful bays and beaches with green palms. Not in the mood for action? Find a spot on one of the many beaches where you can enjoy the surroundings in peace. Who knows, you might even see dolphins, seals or even penguins.

Explore Abel Tasman with a kayak | New Zealand active holiday
Connect with nature at Abel Tasman
© TravelEssence
Three seals on the shore with two people kayaking in the distance
Spot unique wildlife

Climb the ice-cold glaciers of New Zealand

Along the rugged west coast, you will find a completely different kind of nature: specifically the ice-cold glaciers. The best known are the Tasman Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. With a length of 27 kilometres, Tasman Glacier is also the largest glacier in New Zealand!

Nothing is as spectacular as climbing a glacier. It may sound daunting, but rest assured it is not. You can explore the glacier safely under the guidance of an experienced guide. Don't feel like climbing? Then, you can also choose to hike! In any case, don’t forget to dress warmly and wear good (and worn-in) walking shoes.

Tip! Get dropped off on top of a glacier by a helicopter and explore the glacier on foot. Our passionate guides can show you the secrets of these natural wonders.

Conquer the Fox Glacier Heli-Hike | New Zealand active holiday
Conquer Fox Glacier
© TravelEssence
Conquer the Fox Glacier all year round
After a helicopter drops you off, explore on the area on foot

Fly over the waters of the Siberia Valley

Many people bypass the areas around the town of Makarora. We think that's a real shame because here, you can enjoy the most beautiful nature. Makarora is located in the west of the South Island on the Haast Pass Highway, between Wanaka and the West Coast, and near Mount Aspiring National Park. Makarora has a population of only 70 people and is the gateway to visit the park. This national park is known for its rugged nature, from valleys and rivers to snow-covered mountains and waterfalls.

Combine a helicopter flight with a 'tramping trip' and an adventure on the water. You will be dropped off in the Siberia Valley, where you can then take a walk through the valley and along the river. In a jet boat, you will speed over the crystal clear rivers surrounded by mountains.

“I was lucky enough to experience Mt Aspiring National Park and Siberia Valley with a local company. This is one of the most incredible and memorable experiences I have ever had.”

Brooke, Product manager
The ultimate adventure, discover New Zealand in 3 ways

Cycle along the gold mines of Otago

Otago is located in the south-east of the South Island. Gold was found in this region around 1860, after which gold diggers from all corners of the globe came to Otago to try their luck. In a short period, the region became very successful!

You can admire the remains of this period by taking a bike ride on the Otago Central Rail Trail. This bike tour takes you over an old railway line, through tunnels and along bridges. You will discover the area between Dunedin and Central Otago, while you see the sheep grazing in the meadow and enjoy the beautiful views of the vineyards. After cycling, don't forget to pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir, locally grown at the nearby vineyards.

Take a bike ride on the Otago Central Rail Trail
A man cycling on a gravel road in the country with
Be mesmerised by wide open spaces

Swim with fur seals in the waters of Kaikoura

Full of excitement, you stand on the deck of the boat, gazing at the sea. You suddenly see the huge tail from a whale in front of you. Various species of whale live off the coast of Kaikoura, including sperm whales. That is why the town is seen as one of the best places in the world for whale watching. All year round! But how do you get the best view? Are you going to jump on board a boat or by plane? Because it is also a good idea to see the whales from above!

Kaikoura is not only a home base for whales, but also for fur seals. It is even possible to swim between fur seals with the small-scale excursions of Seal Swim Kaikoura. Onboard a boat, you will sail to a place just outside the village, where bays are protected by rocks so the young seals can swim safely. Under the supervision of an instructor, you will dive into the water to swim with the playful fur seals.

Fur seal | New Zealand wildlife
Have close encounters with New Zealand's unique wildlife
© TravelEssence
Kaikoura is a water wonderful filled with many beautiful marine animals

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