New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
New Zealand (MÄori: Aotearoa [aÉ”ËˆtÉ›aÉ¾É”a]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-MÄui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of 268,021 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi). New Zealand is about 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. The country's varied topography and sharp mountain peaks, including the Southern Alps, owe much to tectonic uplift and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, and its most populous city is Auckland.
10:00am-12:00pm : Wellington Zoo
From the country's trademark kiwis to rare Sumatran tigers and sun bears, get close to species from the four corners of the world at Wellington Zoo. The oldest institution of its kind in New Zealand, the zoo has over a century-long tradition in the housing and preservation of animals. Today, the zoo plays home to over 100 different species, including insects, birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals. Numerous interactive programs let you pet a cheetah, feed a lion, play with meerkats, or even spend the night. Snacks, drinks, and refreshments are available on site, and all the facilities are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
12:30pm-3:00pm : The Great War Exhibition
Discover more about New Zealand's role in World War II at The Great War Exhibition. Housed in the Dominion Museum in Wellington, the four-year temporary exhibit was created in 2015 by New Zealand filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson to honor those who served in the war. As you walk through, you'll experience this defining period year by year through strikingly recreated scenes, displays of artifacts and images, and more. You can also take a guided tour for a more in-depth visit.
3:30pm-5:30pm : Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
The whole family can get a dynamic and in-depth overview of New Zealand at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, one of the nation's main cultural institutions. The museum's native name loosely translates as the "Place of Treasures," an apt description for a building featuring six floors of collections that include everything from Maori artifacts and medieval clothing to animal fossils and local arts. With high-tech galleries designed to engage and educate visitors of all ages, the exhibits narrate the history and development of the Pacific Islands. Be sure to walk through the national art collection, and for a hands-on family-oriented experience, head to one of the themed discovery centers. The easiest way to explore the vast galleries is by guided tour--these leave from the second-level info desk several times a day.
6:30pm-11:00pm : Tongariro National Park
9:30am-1:30pm : Mount Ruapehu
Situated within a national park, Mount Ruapehu represents not only the highest mountain on North Island, but also one of the world's most active volcanoes. Known locally as the "Pit of Sound," this 2,797 m (9,176 ft) volcano erupted massively in 1945, and rumbled again in 1969 and 1973. A small eruption in 2006 caused a 2.8-magnitude earthquake. Despite continued activity, the mountain's slopes feature two of New Zealand's largest ski fields, offering runs for both beginners and experts. Alpine huts owned by private clubs cater to adventurous climbers and hikers. Check the weather forecast before you go and bring basic survival equipment if you plan to explore on your own.
2:00pm-4:00pm : Mead's Wall
4:30pm-5:00pm : Te Porere Redoubt
5:30pm-6:00pm : Ridge Track
6:30pm-8:30pm : Taupo
10:00am-12:30pm : Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Taupo adrenaline/extreme tours provide a range of ways to get that perfect dose of adventure in New Zealand. You can skydive, bungee jump, or spend a day navigating an obstacle course. These activities remain a good way to get in some exercise or experience something completely new with a skilled instructor/guide. Depending on the activity, your chosen adventure could take between 90 minutes and an entire day.
1:00pm-3:00pm : Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley
Relax in ancient baths as native birds flit overhead at Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley, a natural thermal spa that allows you to indulge in the outdoors. Take a dip in healing waters, reputed to have smoothing effects on the skin. Test out multiple thermal pools throughout the site while watching for local wildlife, including regional bird species. Top off your visit with a homemade baked good and Devonshire tea at the onsite cafe. If you're inspired to stay longer, check out the tranquil campsite.
3:30pm-5:00pm : Huka Falls Walkway
Hike or bike the trails around Huka Falls Walkway, draining the country's largest lake by surface area and appealing to both amateur photographers and adventure seekers. Just upstream from the mighty falls, the Waikato River enters a rugged canyon and narrows abruptly from 100 m (328 ft) down to just 15 m (49 ft) across. The sudden constriction of the river's flow creates massive pressure that helps make Waikato's dramatic 10 m (33 ft) splash into a freshwater pool all the more spectacular. Walk a footbridge to admire the force of the falls, which the native tribes called "Hukanui," the Great Body of Spray. To get even closer to the roaring waters, try jet boating on the river.
10:00am-11:30am : Clay Break Taupo
12:00pm-2:00pm : Huka Prawn Park
The whole family can explore and play at Huka Prawn Park, New Zealand's only prawn farm. As well as producing over 30 tons of shrimp a year, this quirky aquaculture venture plays host to a wide range of games and activities. Begin your visit with a guided tour of the prawn nursery and hatchery before practicing your putt at the hole-in-one golf challenge, trying your hand at prawn fishing, or resting your feet in the geothermal footbath. Kids will enjoy testing their balance on the adventure walkways and tinkering on the water piano. When hunger strikes, you can feast on your own haul of shrimp or visit the riverside restaurant.
2:30pm-4:00pm : Mind Junction
Find something for all the family at Mind Junction, an amusement park with a host of different activities to be enjoyed by all age groups. From a giant maze and a shooting simulator to an impressive LEGO display, the park offers experiences both cerebral and active. Try your hand at the flight simulator, or challenge your friends to a game of mini golf--the attraction strives to provide something for everyone. An onsite cafe makes a nice environment for a cup of coffee, and an extensive array of picnic tables gives you the chance to recharge.
4:30pm-5:00pm : Huka Honey Hive
Treat yourself to New Zealand's largest range of honey products at Huka Honey Hive. Learn about the story of honey--from bee, to hive, to jar--in the educational area, with special views inside beehives providing insight into the beguiling lives of one of nature's most important species. Taste a variety of different honeys and honey products before purchasing your favorites at the onsite shop. The knowledgeable staff happily discuss the many uses of honey and the health benefits it provides, including in imaginative skincare products. With so many delights on offer, make sure to try the local favorite: gourmet honey ice cream.
6:30pm-8:00pm : Rotorua
10:00am-1:00pm : Zipline
1:30pm-3:00pm : Horseback Riding Tours
Saddle up and gallop across New Zealand's countryside on a guided horseback riding trip from Rotorua. Joining a guided horse trekking adventure provides you with access to all the needed equipment, so you ride safely and get to explore all the area's winding little paths. Depending on your skill, you can choose between short 30-minute rides and longer 2-hour trips. This activity is ideal for novice riders or kids, who can choose to ride on calm ponies--experienced equestrians can hop on full-grown horses.
3:30pm-5:00pm : Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest
Bike or hike through Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, a pristine natural world featuring a spectacular stand of giant California Coast redwood trees. Just 5 km (3.1 mi) from downtown Rotorua, "the Redwoods" (as the forest is locally known) serve as a 55,000 hectare (135,000 acre) playground for adventurous visitors wishing to experience New Zealand's lush wilderness by walking, cycling, or horseback riding. Considered one of the world's top mountain biking locations, the forest offers more than 160 km (99 mi) of trails catering to both beginner and expert riders. Be sure to check out routes wittily named "Be Rude Not To" and "Gunna Gotta." Hikers can explore a network of scenic trails, many of which offer sweeping views of Rotorua.
5:00pm-5:30pm : Redwoods Treewalk
Admire Rotorua's redwood forest from a different perspective with Redwoods Treewalk. Journey across 23 suspension bridges among the majestic redwoods, most of which are over a hundred years old. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the pleasant stroll and take in the peaceful ambiance. Opt for the nighttime walk to experience the forest after sunset, when the walkway lights up with lanterns.
9:30am-10:00am : St Michael's Catholic Church
10:30am-1:00pm : Te Puia
Take a guided tour of the thermal geysers at Te Puia, Rotorua's undisputed star attraction. A short ride south of the city center, this thermal reserve features over 500 hot springs. The most famous of the many geysers is the aptly named Big Splash, erupting at least two dozen times a day and spouting water as high as 30 m (98 ft) into the air. Other highlights include regular cultural performances and popular hangi feasts, allowing visitors to experience the local cuisine. Don't miss the carving and weaving schools, where you can learn about the traditional methods of Maori artisans.
1:30pm-3:30pm : Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Discover the surreal volcanic landscape of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, a natural geothermal area stretching over 18 sq km (7 sq mi). Choose one of three self-guided trails, each of which boasts numerous colorful lakes, rock formations, and mud pools. Enjoy the vivid hues of the geothermal pools, and take stunning shots of the eerie, sulphuric hot springs. The visitor center provides amenities, including a cafe and gift shop.
4:00pm-6:00pm : Waikite Valley Thermal Pools
Relax and unwind in the soothing waters of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. The complex encompasses a number of warm pools surrounded by lush foliage as well as private spas overlooking the valley. Learn more about the natural setting with a peaceful stroll along its signposted eco-trail, dotted with information about the ferns, mosses, and springs of the area. The educational walk leads to the Te Manora Spring, the largest source of pure boiling water in New Zealand and one of the springs that feeds into the main splash pool. Once you've worked up an appetite, head to the onsite cafe for a light meal or snack.
6:30pm-9:30pm : Auckland
10:00am-11:30am : SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium
On the Auckland waterfront, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium showcases the underwater treasures of the South Ocean through more than 30 exhibits and 9 themed areas. You can get really close to king and gentoo penguins, see stingrays and jellyfish, and even stroll through an exciting shark tunnel. Adventurous visitors can try shark diving, with or without a protective cage.
12:00pm-2:30pm : Auckland Museum
Learn about New Zealand's rich history at Auckland Museum, serving as both a major cultural institution and a war memorial. Designed in the 1920s as a commanding neoclassical temple, this structure features an impressive copper dome, added in 2007. The ground floor, dedicated to the Auckland area's natural and military history, houses impressive displays of Maori artifacts, including a war canoe and a carved meeting house (which you can enter only after removing your shoes). The upper levels feature more military exhibits and a display about the region's volcanic fields, including a fascinating simulation of an eruption. For the sake of convenience, take a guided highlights tour, included in your admission ticket.
3:00pm-3:30pm : Pauanesia
Bring a bit of New Zealand home with you from Pauanesia. The store's goal is to capture the spirit of the country and share it with the rest of the world in its beautifully designed items for the home. Choose from tablecloths, cushions, blankets, and towels, or opt for something more personal, like jewelry. Your purchase supports local artisans, and each item has a special story.
4:00pm-5:30pm : SkyTower
Charge your camera for panoramic photographs from SkyTower, the tallest structure in New Zealand. Auckland's eye-catching landmark, this 328 m (1,076 ft) observation and telecommunications tower rises over the city's business district and remains best known for its unique needle-like design. An elevator whisks you to the top in less than 40 seconds, leaving plenty of time for breathtaking views from one of the observation decks. For an extra kick of adrenaline, take a peek at the city below through the glass-floor panels. If you happen to be here at sunset, you can see the colors changing over the city and enjoy a cocktail at the tower's cafe/bar.