There's no doubt that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From its cultural history to its dramatically breathtaking scenery, New Zealand should be high on your list for 2016 and is well worth the long flight that gets you there. Our very own Charlotte has just got back from a week in New Zealand. She's scouted out the best places to go and most exciting things to do. Here's her list:
6. Explore Milford Sound
Milford Sound is absolutely stunning and a must-see for all those visiting New Zealand. Milford Sound is breathtaking in any weather. The fiord's cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards, some as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. Most people explore Milford Sound by boat and these cruises will take you to the waterfalls and wildlife. However, there are other unique ways to explore Milford Sound - by hiking, kayak or by scenic flights. Many people visit the Sound on a day trip from Te Anau or Queenstown.
The small village of Milford Sound also has a handful of places to stay. If you're hungry there's a café and a tavern in town, or you can enjoy food and drink onboard your boat cruise. We recommend staying at one of our all time favourite properties, and a place the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, William & Kate thoroughly enjoyed, Matakauri Lodge.
5. Embrace Maori Culture in Rotorua
The geothermal city of Rotorua is a magnet for travellers who stop by to discover volcanic phenomena and learn about New Zealand's Maori culture. Stop by Te Puia to see the world famous Pohutu geyser, have the opportunity to see Māori cultural performances, live kiwi, boiling mud pools, native bush and the National Schools of Wood Carving and Weaving.
4. Swim with Dolphins & Whales
This is a unique experience and many visitors to New Zealand consider this as the best thing they did on their holiday. Head down to Kaikoura on the South Island and you'll be exposed to a huge amount of marine life including dolphins, sperm whales and the royal albatross. Dive right into the warm waters and get up close and personal with these mammals. Here at Charlotte Travel, we make sure we work with partners who take extra care to make sure New Zealand's wildlife are not harmed and these partners usually have hot showers and refreshments onboard to ensure your comfort.
3. Wine Tasing in Marlborough
Marlborough, famous for producing some of the world's finest Sauvignon Blancs. Also a great destination to spend the day wine tasing at the vineyards. The most popular way to explore the country's wine regions is by bike around the grounds. If you're not intersted in biking, the grounds are appealing for those looking for romantic strolls during sunset hours. Highly recommended for couples!
2. Explore the Bay of Islands, North Island
Don't overlook the North Island of New Zealand, there's just so much to offer. One of the top things we recommend is to explore the Bay of Islands, underwater or by helicopter. As a fish reserve, reef diving is easily accessible and the fish seem to be extra friendly here. If you love oysters, stop by an oyster farm just before sunset and shuck fresh oysters to pair with a nice New Zealand wine. We highly recommend a stay at the Rahimoana Villa at Eagles Nest.
1. Go Gliding in Omarama
Omarama, by far one of the best places to go gliding in the world and home to some of the most experienced gliders in the world. Due to Omarama's perfect gliding surroundings and incredible scenery, visitors can sign up for trial flights or take a week-long course to learn how to 'go solo' in one of these gliders, the safest form of aviation.