Can’t wait to be able to pull out your passport and book an international holiday? In anticipation of the Trans Tasman travel bubble being an option for solo travellers in the near future, we have pulled together 5 of New Zealand’s more unique holiday experiences.
Located in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is just a 30 – 40 minute ferry ride from Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. Home to world renowned vineyards, award winning wines and stunning beaches, you can walk, ride, drive yourself or jump on a Fullers bus to make your way around the island.
You can choose to do Waiheke in a day or spend a night or two to truly soak up the relaxed atmosphere of the island. Start your day with a hike on one of the trails, enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many dining destinations and finish your day with a visit to a winery or two. You can even visit one of the Olive Groves to learn about the Olive Oil harvesting techniques, and of course experience some tastings!
Waitomo Caves Blackwater Rafting
One of my all-time favourite experiences was crawling through the Waitimo Caves, shivering with anticipation and possibly the very cool climate, taking my tube behind my back to position my backside before taking a leap into the air and plunging into the water beneath me in the almost pitch black cave.
With adrenalin pumping in my veins, we then floated around in the dark and regained our composure. Once we had settled down a little, our guide threw us a New Zealand chocolate bar favourite, a chocolate covered marshmallow in the shape of a fish, and we lay there in our tubes, in a glow cave nibbling on our chocolate bars. It was just amazing – a sensory experience like no other.
The Waitomo caves are located approximately 2 hours 40 minutes south of Auckland. You can either take a bus or hire a car. The roads are good in New Zealand however always allow a little longer than what you normally would based on the distance due to winding roads.
The Marlborough Sounds
Made up of four distinct sounds – Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, Pelorus, and Mahau, at the top of the South Island, the Marlborough region is known for its wine, fishing and natural beauty.
You can access the region from the seaside towns of Picton or Havelock. Join a guided tour aboard a cruise, charter your own vessel or hire a kayak to meander your way through the winding waterways.
Why not take to foot and make your way along the 70 km Queen Charlotte Track.
Aro Ha Wellness Retreat
If you’re looking for a wellness retreat fused with luxury, Aro Ha is for you. Located 45 minutes from Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island, Aro Ha is a multi-award winning retreat where even the local Maori elders have declared that the venue has been built on a powerful meridian.
You’ll spend your days saluting the sun in your morning yoga class before taking a hike to explore the subalpine trails, perhaps a kayak around the island, or walk over some suspension bridges before dining on a well-earned lunch. In the afternoons, take some time for yourself before joining in a cooking or horticulture class or work on your strength & flexibility with a pilates class. Time for restorative yoga at 6pm followed by dinner and rest.
With only 32 beds at the retreat, groups are also small – generally a maximum of 16. Aro Ha also offers the Eco Single room type meaning you won’t be charged a single supplement!
A natural beauty of mountains, lakes and forests, Lake Wanaka can be found 1.5 hours from Queenstown. It is the ultimate getaway for anyone looking for stunning scenery, crisp fresh air, lots of outdoor activities coupled with boutique shops, art galleries, museums, great cafes & restaurants serving local produce and an award winning distillery.
Some of the highlights include the Lavender Farm, abseiling Deep Canyon, horse trekking, hiking the Roys Peak track or take to the skies for an airborne adventure over Mt Aspiring and the Milford Sound. You can also access 4 ski fields in the winter months from June to September and take advantage of the Alpine conditions with a heli-ski.
New Zealand Farmstay with working sheep dogs
Growing up on a farm in New Zealand, I have very fond memories of milking the cows, riding on the back of the tractor throwing hay out to the cows, being told I’d be sent to the pig pen if I didn’t eat all of my dinner, attempting (badly) to ride the horses, helping myself to the chook feed and ‘working’ in the kiwifruit packing shed.
A farm stay will give you that unique experience and one that for so many of us is either a fading memory or perhaps just a loose ideal. You can see what it takes to manage a farm, how each day is different and what joy you get from being outdoors and physical for most of the day.
Smallburn Farm located in Cromwell, Central Otago is a working sheep & cattle farm where you can experience the genuine life of a farmer. Embark on a 4WD farm tour conducted by Farmer Peter, outlining the history of the property and the area, as well as an overview of the day to day workings of the farm. If staying for more than one night, you are also invited to “help” on the farm.
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