Thinking of doing that big trip to New Zealand next year, but you, or your kids can only do it in the summertime? You do know that, in New Zealand, summer in North America is winter in Kiwi country, right? And while you may have read about the fabulous beaches down there, it’s a bit chilly to take a dip in July or August. So what’s there to do? Well, plenty!
New Zealand – Carole B. Rosenblat
If you like adventure, New Zealand is the place for you. First, how about soaring high above the trees hanging from only a wire? Rotorua Canopy Tours can arrange this and, while you’re up there, they’ll have you walking across two swing bridges. While down on the ground, you’ll walk through the beautiful forest as your guides explain their Forest Restoration Project, helping to ensure the non-native predatory animals don’t eliminate the native bird population. Anyone can go as long as they’re at least six-years old and weigh less than 265 pounds.
Once you’ve flown high-above New Zealand, it’s time to get under it with a black water rafting trip in a cave. Sign up with Legendary Black Water Rafting Company and your guides will take you on one of three different trips which will have you exploring these underground wonders through repelling down into the caves, traversing rock formations, flying over the cave floor via zipline, and jumping down waterfalls and tubing through the water-filled darkness. But don’t forget to look up to see the stunning lights of the magical glowworms hanging from the cave ceiling. If you wish to see the glowworms with slightly less adventure involved, you can book a trip which includes a walk and a calm boat ride through one of the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Ready for more adventure? Taupo Bungy has a package which is sure to have your adrenaline skyrocketing. They’ve partnered with some of the other local adventure activity providers to create the 4Play package. You’ll start-off the day bungee jumping and then move on to jetboating at Huka Falls with HukaFalls Jet. From there, just like James Bond, you’ll hop into a helicopter with Heli Adventure Flights, where you’ll have another view of Huka Falls, as well as the thermal Taupo area. Finally, you’ll jump on a plane, only so you can jump out of it with Taupo Tandem Skydiving. And you’ll do all of this before lunch!
How about another adventure package with Rotorua Combo’s? You’ll begin by rafting the Kaituna River with Kaitiaki Adventures Rotorua. Be sure to hold on when you plunge down the Tutea Falls, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Next, you’ll climb into a giant ball to go Zorbing down a hill with Zorb Rotorua. Finally, you’ll hop on a mountain chairlift and take your turn at guiding your three-wheeled cart (known as a luge) down one of three different tracks.
If you’re in Taupo or Rotorua, you’ll notice the steam rising from the ground. These are steam vents scattered all around, as this is a thermal area. What better way to experience this than climbing in the naturally heated-water filled with minerals that locals swear are fabulous for your health and well-being? Stop by Wairakei Terraces and take a dip in their thermal pools. If you’re coming to the area with friends and family, you might just want to book a Thermal Area Tour with Taupo Tours and Charters, who will take you to the best locations and design the tour according to your needs. They’ll also do group golf and ski transportation, or work with you on a specialized trip.
There’s much more winter adventure to be had in New Zealand’s North Island including skiing and snowboarding, sledging, hiking (called tramping in New Zealand) and more.
Perhaps you’re looking for slightly less adventure. How about a trip to the New Zealand Maritime Museum? This comprehensive museum located along Auckland’s Viaduct area takes you through the native Maori history, Captain Cook’s ocean voyages and the 1995 win of the America’s Cup by Sir Peter Blake. Combine your visit with a one-hour heritage vessel cruise in Auckland Harbor and you’ll understand the special relationship New Zealanders have with the sea. Not far away is the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where you’ll discover more about New Zealand’s development through pop-culture, war history, geology, and marine-life displays. There are options for guided tours of the museum as well as a Maori show.
Finally, for a unique place to stay, head over to Woodlyn Park. Located in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves area, you’ll have your choice of sleeping in a 1950’s rail car, a 1950’s Bristol Fighter Plane, a World War Two Patrol Boat, or a Hobbit Motel room. With décor matching the accommodation type, it will be a stay your family won’t ever forget.
As you can clearly see, New Zealand has so much to offer no matter the season. So, if you want to get out of the summer heat in the northern hemisphere, New Zealand is a great choice for your summer, er, winter vacation.
Carole has spent 19 years working in a variety of positions in the Travel Industry including cruise ships, hotels, adventure tour guiding, international tour management and corporate meeting mgmt. She has the inside scoop on the business of travel and the best information on business and leisure travel.