Three Ways to Experience New Zealand

A place that truly puts the great in outdoors, New Zealand is a spectacular place for a road trip, blending ancient forest, volcanic terrain and epic coastline with compelling culture...

Wildlife Spotting

From penguins and kiwi birds to dolphins and whales, New Zealand’s spectacular scenery is home to a dazzling array of wildlife. Swim with New Zealand Fur Seals in the shallow waters of the Kaikoura Peninsula on the South Island. Spring is lamb season in New Zealand, so during a drive in the countryside you’re sure to see lots of cute and fluffy lambs!

Take to the water with playful dolphins in their natural environment at Paihia in the Bay of Islands on the North Island and head to Akaroa Harbour on the South Island to see New Zealand’s playful Hector’s dolphin. It’s the only place on the entire planet where you can get up close and personal with the world’s smallest and rarest species of dolphin.

Plus, no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a sighting of the native kiwi bird! Spring is the time when the baby kiwis hatch but during the autumn, Stewart Island turns into a hive of activity for birdlife and this is one of the best places to view this ever so shy nocturnal feathered friend in its natural environment.

Experience Maori Culture

New Zealand has always been worth crossing the world for, but 2022 saw the  first-ever nationwide celebration of the Maori Matariki Festival fêting the rising of the star cluster of that name (also known as the Pleiades) in the midwinter skies, which marks the winter solstice and start of the Maori New Year.

In 2023, the bank holiday will take place on 14th July but the festival will last for several weeks from late early June into July, with exact timings varying by region and local customs. A time for both gratitude and hope, the festival focuses on family, community, culture and end-of-harvest feasting, and many restaurants will serve Matariki menus featuring indigenous ingredients.

Stargazing

Between June and August, southern hemisphere nights are at their longest and skies at their clearest – perfect for stargazing (the ancestral Maori were gifted astronomers who navigated by the stars). Make stargazing part of your New Zealand itinerary – this is one of the finest places in the world to do it, not least in the Aoraki Mackenzie gold-rated dark sky reserve embracing Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, alpine villages and Mount John Observatory. There are also two dark sky island sanctuaries above Great Barrier Island and Stewart Island.

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