Home to New Zealand's oldest university, the University of Otago established in 1869, Dunedin is a vibrant coastal city with students making up more than twenty percent of the population. It has a busy social, sports and cultural calendar and numerous landmarks and attractions to explore. Add to that the spectacular natural treasures beyond the city's outskirts and it easy to see why visitors to Dunedin may have difficulty deciding what to fit into their itinerary.
Visitors to the spectacular city of Auckland, in the northern region of New Zealand’s North Island, will soon understand why its nickname is the "City of Sails". It has been reported that one in three households in Auckland owns a boat and there are upward of 135,000 yachts and launches registered in the region. Several yacht clubs and marinas are located in the Waitemata Harbor, including the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the largest marina in the Southern Hemisphere, the Westhaven Marina. Surfing is another popular outdoor activity in Auckland, with several beaches – Piha, Bethells Beach, Muriwai, Orewa, Pakiri and Omaha - offering surfers the perfect conditions to enjoy their sport.
With spectacular views of the majestic Kaimai mountain range on the North Island of New Zealand, the Hobbiton movie set offers visitors the opportunity to step into the fantasy Middle-earth featured in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, and more recently, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Created by South African-born J.R.R. Tolkien, Hobbits are little people known for their hospitality and enjoyment of a good party. Set in rolling green valleys, their interesting little homes are now part of a tour that offers insight into the lives of Hobbits, described by Tolkien as being uncomplicated, shy of 'Big Folk' and fond of food, eating up to six meals a day.
Covering a distance of 53.5 kilometers in five days and four nights, Milford Track has been a popular hiking trail for a hundred years. Located in Fiordland National Park in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island, the track was originally used by the native Māori people for transporting pounamu, valuable rocks generally referred to locally as "greenstone". It was New Zealand tour guide and explorer Quintin McKinnon who brought this beautiful part of the country to the attention of adventurous hikers by conducting guided tours along Milford Track. Parts of the track have been named in his honor, including the highest point, MacKinnon Pass.
The Willowbank Wildlife Reserve located in Christchurch, New Zealand, combines wildlife and culture into an entertaining learning experience that the whole family will enjoy. In addition to the diverse wildlife - with up to 500 animals, representing around 50 species – Willowbank offers an exciting cultural experience at the Maori village, Ko Tane, where participants can learn to do the Haka and discover the significance behind this unusual display which is performed by New Zealand's national rugby team. Participants will also learn to perform the Poi, Waiata a Ringa and enjoy the traditional rhythmic game of Ti Rakau.
In 2005 the National Geographic Adventure Magazine placed the Routeburn Track on their list of eleven top trails in the world and it is recognized by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as a Great Walk. As the track covers the South Island, hikers will begin their journey at the Southern Alps (on the Northern side of Lake Wakatipu) and complete the track at Te Anau, which is located near the Homer tunnel. Due to the distance the trail covers, there are overnight huts along the way, and a few safety precautions hikers are advised to follow.
Enjoy a unique wildlife experience at New Zealand’s Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Kiwi Encounter. Situated on 22 acres, east of Mt Ngongotaha, this is a truly amazing destination that the entire family will want to see.
Seals are playful, adorable creatures that tend to worm their way into the heart of any animal lover. However, not many people know much about the sort of lives these creatures lead. At Cape Foulwind in New Zealand’s Tauranga Bay, you can watch the delightful daily activities of New Zealand fur seals.