Paragliding in Queenstown
Holidays in New Zealand and holiday ideas for the first or even third time visitor to New Zealand is what we specialise in at Bridge & Wickers, a bespoke specialist travel firm based in London. Holidays to New Zealand…where does one begin? I am glad that this website, What To Do In Wellington is able to assist people making up their minds about what to do when one arrives on holiday in New Zealand…but first, where am I now and what is happening today?
It’s windy this morning in Lanzarote, reminds me ‘windy Wellie’ (oops I shouldn’t say that should !?) my wonderful new home town. We have been here now staying at my Mum’s bungalow for the last two weeks and have 5 days left, so we have to make the most of it. Over breakfast Katie and I were discussing some of those other special places in New Zealand we either have not been to or would most like to go. We came up with the following, though I’m sure there will be others.
Walking the Routeburn Track
New Zealand’s stunning scenery makes walking one of the country’s top activities I would love to experience. One of the best regions is Fiordland National Park, simply because no other area matches its beauty. There are four major tracks – the Milford, Kepler, Routeburn and Hollyford – and though the Milford is the most famous, the Routeburn is shorter and has more varied scenery. When we first visited Milford Sound we flew in and out as time was pretty tight, but given the option it would be best to drive in and fly out. The views of those majestic mountain ranges and breathtaking fiords from the air were awesome – something any visitor would marvel at.
The walking track follows a 24-mile route through two World Heritage Areas – through forested valleys rich with bird life, waterfalls, turquoise-blue rivers, deep green lakes and spectacular mountain scenery. Apparently you can walk independently or as part of a guided group, usually over three days (though it can be done as a day-walk). The path has four huts and two campsites so advance booking is essential. Sounds great eh? Well, apart from buying new walking boots, we would have to ask Katie’s mother to look after Tom and Reilly as we could not possibly take them with us at their age, 1 and 3 respectively.
Swim with dolphins and watch whales
Ok, I admit it, I have never swam with dolphins, whale watching yes, but not dolphins! To do this the best spot in New Zealand is just off Kaikoura on the South Island, a mixture of very deep water and the mixing of warm and cold currents forces nutrients to the surface, providing a rich habitat for a variety of marine life. This in turn means visitors can see sperm whales, dolphins and seabirds such as the royal albatross.
You can join the Maori-owned Whale Watch Kaikoura which runs up to 15 sailings a day, or Haka Tours which has teamed up with Dolphin Encounter for dolphin-watching and swimming. Boats have hot showers too! These trips are bookable with Bridge & Wickers, contact our sales team.
Jump from a plane (would you, could you?!)
Whilst I am planning to do this very soon (anyone want to sponsor me?!) New Zealand is one of the world’s great adventure playgrounds, seducing even the usually sofa bound. Katie is quick to remind me that she has already done a skydive with all her brothers and sisters in Taupo which is most definitely the country’s skydiving capital. A 12,000 ft tandem skydive, with no experience required, costs approx £76 and is worth every penny!
New Zealand easily adapts to its seasons so that summer hiking destinations turn effortlessly into winter playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders. Katie and I first experienced the ‘Remarkables’ skiing range a few years back. Definitely not the Alps but nevertheless a fantastic place to let your hair down and ski some pretty impressive slopes. We particularly enjoyed the half way house cafes before ‘Apres Ski’ activities commenced in nearby Queenstown! Wilderness walking, tramping and climbing are also widely available. I also say to people back in the UK “why not capitalise on cheaper flights from the UK and fly during the New Zealand winter?” (June to October) . The Southern Alps offer various resorts – notably Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone. Another good thing to try are the various guided backcountry heli-skiing options, where you are flown to out-of-the-way spots and escorted to the best runs… awesome, although a little more costly than just a day ski pass! Cocktails at Eicharts, followed by dinner at the ‘Bunker’ or the ‘Botswana Butchery’ for starters or definitely try one of Queenstown’s classic ‘fergburger’ … delicious!
Great ‘Fergburger’ advertising, well done lads!
So there we are then….that’s enough for one day, more later, so much more…!
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