The nation’s rich indigenous culture permeates the North Island. Auckland museums display important artifacts, and visitors can attend tribal gatherings to witness Maori cultural performances firsthand and join in a hangi, a feast of meats and vegetables steam-cooked in an underground oven.
For thrill-seekers, black-water rafting through caves by the light of thousands of glowworms is a magical, subterranean journey. Enjoy breathtaking outdoor scenery on a cruise through Milford Sound, the majestic South Island fjord Rudyard Kipling described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” For a unique perspective, take an overnight cruise, which includes a kayak tour along the fjord’s deep precipices, where waterfalls plunge over steep rock straight into the water’s depths. Adventurers eager to expend more adrenaline can also tackle Milford Track, a hiking trail that attracts trekkers from around the world.
The oceanfront city of Christchurch, with its large public botanic gardens and parks, serves as a gateway to unique experiences. Think swimming with New Zealand fur seals or taking the TranzAlpine train on a scenic journey. At the end of your vacation, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to visit the land of the Kiwis—a moniker that refers to both the charming national bird and the friendly locals.