If you ever needed a reason to visit New Zealand, I won’t bother trying to convince you using words. Before we even get started, let me just show you a few photos which I’m pretty sure is very likely to sway you and make you want to visit New Zealand…

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See what I mean? πŸ™‚ Now that I’ve got you on board (and probably reaching for your credit card to book those flights), the next question is what to get up to when you visit New Zealand. Well, we’ve got your covered with these 11 fantastic and unique experiences you need to have in New Zealand!

11 Unique Experiences You Need To Have In New Zealand

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1.) See New Zealand in a campervan

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The best way to explore New Zealand is almost certainly with a campervan. You gain access to the vast network of campgrounds (some of them are free) while still being able to discover this extraordinary country at your own speed… and campervans means you don’t have to compromise too much on luggage and so can pack in your essentials with you on your trip – and then some!

2.) Witness a Maori ceremony

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New Zealand’s native inhabitants, the Maori, keep their traditions alive and display them at many occasions. If there is one performance you most certainly have to see, it’s the Haka. This traditional war dance is so famous across the land and even outside of New Zealand (chances are that you’ve heard of it before) so much so that even the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team has adopted.

3.) Take a ferry through Milford Sound

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Although technically not a sound but a fjord, as you will learn from your ferry skipper, Milford Sound still is a magical place. The six-hour journey from Queenstown to the pier alone is worth every second. The sound itself will leave you speechless with breathtaking views of the fjord, majestic waterfalls, commanding mountain ranges and, with a little luck, dolphins, seals and even whales!

4.) Explore Franz Josef Glacier from the inside

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Ever hiked inside a glacier? Franz Josef Glacier, located on the South Island’s beautiful West Coast, is the place to do it. You will hike through a fascinating landscape made of ice and rock – a truly unique New Zealand experience.

5.) Explore different locations from the Lord Of The Rings movies

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If you’re a fan of the movies, taking one of the Lord Of The Rings-themed tours is an absolute must. The landscape is absolutely stunning in itself but coupling that with recognition of the scenes from the movies makes it that extra bit special.

6.) Get your adrenaline fix in Queenstown

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Queenstown is home to countless adrenaline-fuelled activities such as mountain biking, jet boating, snowboarding or canyoning. It is also the birthplace of Bungee Jumping – if this has been on your bucket list for a while, there’s no better place in the world to finally do it!

7.) Marvel at the beauty of Waiotapu Hot Springs

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New Zealand is located on the fault line of two major tectonic plates and therefore home to volcanoes, earthquakes and hot springs. Make sure to visit Waiotapu and its countless hot pools to marvel at their extraordinary beauty.

8.) Take in some urban vibes at the Wellington Waterfront

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Auckland may have the bigger population but Wellington definitely has that urban feel you’ve been craving after days and weeks of exploring New Zealand’s nature. Head down to the waterfront in the late afternoon and watch the locals have fun at any of it’s many amazing cafΓ©s.

9.) Relax on the Coromandel peninsula

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If sunny beaches, little hippie communities and a glimpse of a truly laid-back lifestyle are your thing, you will love the Coromandel peninsula. Be in for some true exploring: many of the prettiest beaches are hidden and can only be reached on foot.

10.) Stay classy San Diego on a wine tour in Hawke’s Bay

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Try to make room for one of the countless wine tours offered around the Hawke’s Bay area. Discover the wineries, indulge in premium wines and cheese while taking in the, as always, the stunning scenery of New Zealand’s North Island.

11.) Traverse the Southern Alps by train

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Trains are not a common sight in New Zealand however one of the most scenic train rides inΒ the world takes place on the South Island between Christchurch and Greymouth: the Tranzalpine Train and this is a must-do if you’re ever in the area or get the chance to do it. πŸ™‚

Experiences You Need To Have In New Zealand

And there you have it! Have you been to New Zealand before and if so, are there any unique experiences you would recommend to add to this list? If not, which one of these experiences would you most like to take part in? Let me know. πŸ™‚Β 



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  • Oh me oh my. I’ve always thought that New Zealand and Australia are too far away and too expensive to try and travel too. I really should never have opened up this blog post, cause now I just have to go… like right now. Your photos are absolutely unbelievably gorgeous.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hehe! Sounds about right. It’s far but totally worth it!

  • I really miss New Zealand. One of the most beautiful countries in the world.
    Leonie β™₯ Lo On The Go

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is such an amazing country isn’t it? Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!

  • I’m a kiwi living in London and this post isn’t helping my homesickness haha. You should definitely check out the wineries in Marlborough too, get the ferry from Picton to wellington, go to Waiheke Island, Hanmer Springs hot pools, go hiking in the many national parks and so much more! x

    http://www.hausofsarahrachel.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Whoops! Sorry about that Sarah. Hahaha! You’ve got such great recommendations. I think we need to get you to write a post to share them with all of us!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Whoops! Sorry about that Sarah. Hahaha! You’ve got such great recommendations. I think we need to get you to write a post to share them with all of us!

      • haha Im not the best writer but I can certainly recommend places! x

        • HandLuggageOnly

          And we’ll take those recommendations!!! πŸ˜‰ Sounds like you’ve got quite a few good ‘uns!

          • For sure happy to recommend! Flick me an email if you like – sarahrachel85 at gmail dot com x

  • I sooooo want to visit New Zealand!!!!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      I know the feeling Angie! ? πŸ˜‰

  • 3 out of 12 so far! I need to go back to New Zealand! Your pictures are incredible

    http://www.beachcow.co.uk

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hehe! 3 out of 12 isn’t bad – and it gives you even more reasons to go back! πŸ™‚

  • Mmmmm yes. New Zealand has been on my list for years (I blame it on Lord of The Rings… nerd alert)!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hahaha! I’m also a fan so you’re in good company here! Hehe!

  • Emma

    Eat a Fergburger in Queenstown- the most amazing burgers in the world. Dig yourself a hole in the hot water beach near Whitianga. Go to a local rugby match. Visit Te Papa museum in Wellington and Puzzling World in Wanaka.
    Just go to New Zealand- it’s amazing!!
    http://www.mytravelbugbite.wordpress.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks for the recommendations Emma!!! All sound like good additions to the list! Love it!!!

  • Rue Roxanne

    Yet another place I’ll need to check out!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Definitely! πŸ™‚

  • The most beautiful place in the world! Dying to go back!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is an awesome country! Agree with you totally!

      Lloyd πŸ™‚

  • I might go this year, guys!!! CELEBRATE WITH ME.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      No way!!! Ahhhhhhh this is… AMAZING! Please please please take us with you! Haha!

      You’re going to have the best time ever! Have you decided where to go yet?

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • WAAAAY. Hey, that’s what I always say to you! Hahaha.

        Guess what I clicked first thing after I found out it was a possibility. GUESS. This post! So I wrote some things down. All I know is the flight from Santiago goes straight to Auckland, so that’s on my list. I honestly don’t know anything else about NZ. Enlighten me!

  • Gearoidmuar

    I did most of that this year, campervan and all. The scenes from Lord of the Rings were useless, though lovely scenery. The “scenes” were actually altered by computerised graphics. I loved Akaroa and some small towns.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      That sounds like an amazing experience! So glad you had such an amazing time, it really is a great country to explore!

      Lloyd & Yaya πŸ™‚

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  • Not that I needed convincing to go to NZ, but I’m even more sold now. I’d love to explore it by campervan.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s so dreamy isn’t it… and in a campervan would be just perfect! πŸ™‚

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Marie

    I am planning to visit NZ next year, is there any time of the year you would recommend visiting it? I have thought about march/april and then stay there a couple of months. I think the fall would be so beautiful there, and i really want to see some amazing nature! At what time of the year are the photos taken, because they surely are breathtaking!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      A NZ summer would be amazing as everything is in bloom then. There really is so much to see in NZ. Which island are you going to?

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Matt Burns Travel

    I did the Transalpine Train a few years ago when I needed to get back from ChCh to the west coast and didn’t want to backtrack on the roads again via bus. Best decision ever. Great train ride and a really cool way to see a new section of the south island. Highly recommended if anyone’s thinking about giving it a go!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ahhh, thanks so much, Matt! The Transalpine Train sounds amazing. Do you have a post we can read about it? Would love to find out more.

      Lloyd & Yaya πŸ€—

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  • This list makes me miss New Zealand even more! Definitely want to go back and explore it by camper, we had a camper in Australia so did NZ by bus to save money but campers are definitely the best way!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s an amazing country isn’t it! So so happy you love it too.

      Lloyd & Yaya