Nz general activities waiheke island drone water boats land joshua mccormack
Nz general activities tui bird
Nz general activities mount cook hiking trail
nz-south-dunedin-general activities-sunrise-surfer-water
Nz general activities waiheke island drone water boats land joshua mccormack
Nz general activities tui bird
Nz general activities mount cook hiking trail
nz-south-dunedin-general activities-sunrise-surfer-water
Truly experience New Zealand with these

Must-do activities

Get the most out of your journey and discover New Zealand through the eyes of a local. Dive deep into New Zealand’s culture, identity, and landscape and experience our unique small-scale activities as you connect with local Māori and their fascinating culture.

Of course, guidebooks can send you to well-known places, but only locals can tell you where the locals go - and as you start planning your holiday to New Zealand, we're here to help you choose the best activities for you.

At TravelEssence, we have carefully selected small-scale, locally-owned and environmentally friendly activities. A range of unique experiences that showcase the best of New Zealand.

Observe the mighty albatross and learn why it represents beauty and power to the Māori; swim alongside dolphins as you learn about the centuries-old link they have to this magical land, deep dive into Māori culture, and learn to appreciate its cultural significance, and get ready for once-in-a-lifetime experiences with TravelEssence.

The TravelEssence guarantee:

Top activities in New Zealand for couples

New Zealand is a dream come true for couples looking to create unforgettable memories together and seeking the perfect blend of adventure, romance, and natural beauty.

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Activities in New Zealand for families

New Zealand is a treasure trove of family-friendly adventures. Whether you're exploring lush forests, majestic mountains, or charming towns, there's something for everyone.

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Have close encounters with native wildlife

New Zealand is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world. A country surrounded by the ocean, it is no surprise that Kaikoura’s nutrient-rich waters attract magnificent marine animals such as whales, dolphins, penguins, seals, and the mighty albatross. But let's not forget the many land-dwelling animals who are just as impressive - such as the elusive Kiwi bird - New Zealand’s national icon.

With TravelEssence, you are guaranteed animal encounters that are sustainable, led by locals who are environmentally conscious and who support the protection of these mighty species.

So go whale watching or yellow-eyed penguins spotting, or search for a Kiwi on Stewart or Kapiti Island - safe in the knowledge that you are not just seeing and learning about these incredible animals up close, but also that this is done in a way that does not disturb them.

"I love to watch animals in their natural habitat, either organised with a local guide or by myself. It always fascinates me!"

Nicole, Travel specialist

Meet the locals

Embracing the Māori culture and spending time with locals is the best (and, we think, the only way) to properly understand New Zealand’s identity, culture, landscape, and people.

At TravelEssence, we promote tours with local Māori people who can tell you the stories of the myths and legends they've learnt from their ancestors, teach you about the Māori people's special connection to the land, and how to feel the difference in the atmosphere of the rainforest, as the day transitions into night.

That's why we can't wait for you to meet local legends such as Johnny. Living on the wild West Coast of the South Island and with a bushy grey beard, muddy gumboots, and jeans, Johnny is renowned for living off the grid and preserving his much-loved Awakari Valley. Johnny is someone who will introduce you to the history and wilderness of New Zealand in a way that only a true local is able to do.

Embrace the fascinating Maori culture
Embrace the fascinating Māori culture
Visit Waipoua Forest with Maori guide Maria | New Zealand holiday
Visit Waipoua Forest with Maori guide - Maria
© TravelEssence

Cycle the best trails

A magical land such as New Zealand hides some of the most unique places on Earth, which can only be reached by bicycle or foot.

That is why we encourage discovering New Zealand’s diverse landscape by cycling along its many available trails. Would you like to explore the Marlborough, Gisborne, or Hawkes Bay vineyards? Or maybe you are after a bit more adventure?

Conquer the Great Lake Trail, Otago Rail Trail, or the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We know which are the best, and thanks to our expert knowledge, we are able to match them to your level of experience and wishes.

Cycle the Otago Rail Trail

Central Otago, New Zealand

Cycle along the 95 mile long railway line

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Cycle the Tongariro River Trail

Taupo, New Zealand

Take it easy, cycle at a relaxed pace and enjoy a family day out

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Explore the coastline

Being an island nation, it is no surprise when we tell you that New Zealanders absolutely love the water and all activities that involve it.

With 9,320 miles of coastline and surrounded by the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, you are never too far away from the water.

Set sail in the Bay of Islands and the Coromandel, kayak the waters of Marlborough Sounds and Doubtful Sound or go snorkelling and diving at Poor Knights Islands. Thanks to our personal links with New Zealand, and the teams who live Down Under - we have found the best small-scale water activities for you to experience which simply cannot be found elsewhere.

Take a scenic flight

New Zealand's rugged and breathtaking landscapes are mesmerising up close, but nothing quite prepares you for the sights you will witness as you soar above some of Mother Nature's most impressive scenery.

Take to the skies and capture a birds-eye view of New Zealand during a scenic flight aboard a helicopter, floatplane, or twin-turbo aircraft.

View places which aren't normally accessible as you soar above snow-capped peaks, crystal clear lakes, active volcanoes, golden beaches, and mystical fiords. We have found the best local scenic flight suppliers in New Zealand, and we cannot wait for you to experience taking to the skies and take in the sheer beauty of this magical land Down Under.

Discover New Zealand’s best scenic flight

Franz Josef & Fox, New Zealand

Experience one of New Zealand's most spectacular scenic flights

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Conquer the Fox Glacier Heli Hike

Franz Josef & Fox, New Zealand

Experience a helicopter ride and landing on a glacier

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Newzealand south abeltasman boat

Would you like to find out a little more?

We offer regular online presentations. Get to know New Zealand a little better. And see if you like what we offer and what we can offer you. It’s free, of course, and no obligation. You can find our next online presentations here.

Sign up for an online presentation

Spectacular hikes

New Zealand is full of spectacular walking tracks. From easy-going day hikes to adventurous multi-day hikes, there is a range of options to suit all experience levels.

Let us arrange a private tour that will see you go deep into the wilderness of New Zealand’s national parks, such as Mount Aspiring, Abel Tasman, and Fiordland - led by experienced and knowledgeable local guides who will tailor-make it to match your fitness level and requirements.

Be guided by a local Māori into the Te Urewera Rainforest and learn about the region's deep history. Follow the coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula and conquer one of the world’s best day hikes - the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or a local favourite, the Routeburn Track.

Taste the best of New Zealand

New Zealand has made a name for itself when it comes to producing quality wine. Waipara Valley is the fastest-growing wine region in the county. Its long, dry summers, high sunshine hours, and cool nights allow for a variety of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir grapes to be grown here.

Central Otago is best known for producing New Zealand’s finest Pinot Noir, while Marlborough and Blenheim produce world-famous Sauvignon Blanc. For those looking to incorporate history with wine tasting, Hawke’s Bay is renowned for fruitful and award-winning wineries, as well as being home to New Zealand’s oldest winery - Mission Estate.

Of course, where there is world-class wine, there is also food to match. That is why we cannot wait to share with you some of the best spots for you to indulge in fresh seafood and a fusion of local produce, innovation and flair that are guaranteed to set your taste buds on a gastronomic tour right across the island.

Fly and dine on Waiheke Island

Auckland City, New Zealand

Take a flight over the islands of the Hauraki Gulf and land on Oneroa Bay

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Explore the Marlborough wine region

Blenheim & Marlborough, New Zealand

An award-winning tour with a professional driver and local guides

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Who will you be travelling with?

Get tailored information based on your travel companions

Ready for the holiday of a lifetime?

Discover a world beyond ordinary

At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.