Can you believe it’s already May? Where has the year gone? If you’ve already used up all your good ideas for road trips and weekend activities, there’s no need to worry because we’ve got you sorted.
This month’s line-up of cool things to see and do around the country includes a couple of cracking hiking and biking trails, some wonderful destinations for day trippers and even a rock climbing excursion. And now that you’ve got no excuse to sit at home, it’s time to get out and enjoy yourself.
Tackle the Remutaka Cycle Trail
Explore the rugged side of Wellington on a two-wheel adventure along the picturesque Remutaka Cycle Trail. Covering about 35 kilometres of semi-challenging terrain, you’ll bike through the bird-filled Pakuratahi Forest, over bridges and past old railway lines. After riding into Cross Creek in the lush farming region of Wairarapa, you’ll be shuttled to another section of the track known as the Wild Coast Trail, which definitely lives up to its name. Isolated and bumpy, the route hugs the shoreline (keep an eye out for orcas and dolphins) before finishing in Orongorongo.
Remutaka Cycle Trail Highlights
Go Bungy Jumping in Rotorua
Face your fears when you go bungy jumping at Rotorua’s Velocity Valley Adventure Park. Home to a hair-raising collection of rides, the 43-metre high bungy platform is one of the park’s scarier experiences, and will absolutely test your mental strength. Once kitted up in your full-body harness and padded anklets it’s time to jump, and you’ll free fall towards the ground at a speed of roughly 60 kilometres per hour. You can even opt to go tandem, ensuring the scares are shared.
Taste Your Way Through Auckland
Auckland is a city exploding with yummy treats and world-class produce, but do you know where to find all this delicious goodness? After this three-hour foodie tour you certainly will. With a knowledgeable, culinary-obsessed guide leading the way, you’ll stroll the streets, stopping to devour handmade chocolates, sample local artisan products and chow down on some mouth-watering ice cream. And to quench the inevitable thirst you’ll have worked up, the gastronomic journey concludes with a wine and beer tasting.
Auckland City Food Walk
Rock Climbing in Queenstown
Get fit, have fun and admire the breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu when you challenge yourself to a half-day of rock climbing. Unlike many of the other extreme sports on offer in Queenstown, you can take rock climbing at your own pace, and it can be enjoyed in a far more relaxed, social setting than something like skydiving or jet boating. All the gear is included and a professional instructor will be on hand the entire time, so whether you’re a nervous first-timer or regular climber, get ready to reach new heights.
Half-Day Rock Climbing
Sip Cocktails in Wellington
Drink in Wellington’s nightlife when you hit the town in search of the best spots for a cheeky cocktail. This two-and-a-half hour walking tour skips the tourist traps and instead introduces you to a range of local haunts and secret bars that are home to some of the city’s best tipples. You’ll meet master mixologists, learn about the history of each venue and try some super inventive cocktail creations. And it’s important to note that snacks are also provided.
Wellington Cocktail Tour
4WD Tour of Macetown
Once a thriving gold mining village, the now uninhabited settlement of Macetown has been transformed into a Department of Conservation reserve that’s well worth checking out. And the best way to do so is on a half-day 4WD exploration of the historic site, kicking off with a bouncy ride along an old miner’s wagon trail that involves plenty of epic river crossings. Upon arrival at Macetown you can explore the remaining structures – including a bakehouse and old schoolroom – before attempting to strike it lucky by panning for gold in the Arrow River.
Macetown 4WD Tour
Explore the Coromandel Peninsula
Hot springs, incredible hikes and stunning scenery; if you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Auckland, there’s no going past the Coromandel Peninsula. The first stop on this full-day jaunt is the famous Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa to soak and relax in. Next is a wander along the Cathedral Coast Walk, a winding coastal track through scenery so sublime it was actually used in The Chronicles of Narnia films. To finish up you’ll make the short, steep ascent to the summit of Mount Paku, which offers 360-degree views of Tairua, Pauanui and Slipper Island.
Coromandel Day Trip
Chopper Over Mt Tarawera
Sure, a vast, lunar-like landscape such as Mount Tarawera can be appreciated from ground level, but to truly take in its otherworldly beauty you’re going to need a chopper. Departing Rotorua, on a helicopter tour of this geothermal area you’ll be treated to extraordinary aerial views of crater lakes and domes – all formed in 1886 during New Zealand’s largest-ever eruption. Your pilot will provide an informative commentary on the region’s history, culture and geology, and a short landing on the summit allows you to properly see the site up close.
Mt Tarawera Helicopter Tour
Hike the Routeburn Track
The Routeburn Track is a must-do for avid trekkers, but if you don’t have three full days to complete it in its entirety, this shortened version makes for a fantastic alternative. With the spectacular Southern Alps as your backdrop, you’ll set off through Mount Aspiring National Park, passing snow-capped peaks and glistening lakes. Your experienced guide will explain the historical significance of the track and help point out native birds – of which there are around 59 species in the region, including the world’s only alpine parrot. At 22 kilometres in length it’s no leisurely stroll, but if you can handle a bit of tough terrain, we promise the rewards are great.
Routeburn Track Guided Hike
See Auckland After Dark
There’s no denying Auckland is a wonderful place to visit by day, but night-time is when the harbour city really comes to life. This evening exploration starts at Silo Park, where you can walk along the wharf for amazing views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in all its glowing glory (the solar-powered LED light display cost 10 million dollars). The rest of the night is like a highlight reel of all the city’s most iconic spots, including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Mount Eden, Mount Victoria Reserve and the affluent suburb of Devonport. Just be sure to dress warm, and don’t forget your camera.