New Zealand is lucky enough to be overflowing with glaciers to hike, bike trails to ride, mud baths to soak in and fish to catch, and February just happens to be one of the best months to get out and experience it all. So before the air starts to cool and the leaves turn gold, it’s time to make a dent on your to-do list.
Go Looking For Glow Worms
Get up close and personal with the glow worms of Rotorua on an unforgettable nocturnal adventure. You’ll kick things off with a short, guided walk through dense bushland (keep your eyes peeled for possums or wallabies), before reaching the glow worm grotto. Here, the tiny critters come alive, twinkling and sparkling as they perform their nightly magical show just for you.
Extreme Jet Boat Ride
There’s a reason Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world: it’s chock-full of heart-pumping experiences like a jet boat ride along the famous Shotover River. Reaching speeds of up to 90 kilometres per hour, you’ll hurtle across water as shallow as 10 centimetres and hold on for dear life during 360-degree spins. Prepare to scream.
Explore Wellington On Two Wheels
Look, we know Wellington is a hilly destination, but hear us out when we say one of the best things to do in the New Zealand capital is go bike riding. Sound strenuous? Not if you hire an electric bike. That’s right, you’ll be powering up and down the city’s slopes – passing popular landmarks such as Oriental Bay, Mount Victoria, Te Papa Museum and the busy waterfront – without even raising a sweat.
Hike A Glacier
Calling all diehard explorers, this one’s for you! This once-in-a-lifetime expedition begins with a scenic helicopter flight from Queenstown over some of the South Island’s most jaw-dropping landscapes. Landing on either Franz Josef Glacier or the Tasman Glacier (the choice is up to you), you’ll then have around two hours to crawl through frozen caves, slip between narrow chasms and gaze in awe upon towering walls of ice.
Relax At Hell’s Gate
Don’t let the name put you off, a visit to Hell’s Gate is actually one of the most soothing things you can do in Rotorua – especially in February when the weather is at its mildest. Located within one of New Zealand’s most active geothermal zones, treat yourself to a full-body soak in the mud baths of this natural spa complex. Said to ease muscle pain and rejuvenate the skin, you’ll emerge a new, refreshed person – or so it’s said.
Venture To Milford Sound
Milford Sound is one of those places that needs to be seen to be believed, and the best way to experience it is on a day trip from Queenstown. Getting there is half the fun, as the only way into Fiordland National Park is along a narrow, winding road that weaves around snow-capped mountains and through deep valleys. Once you’ve arrived, there will be a boat waiting to take you out on the jet-black water, and that’s when you’ll be able to fully appreciate the sublime beauty of this otherworldly environment.
Zipline Through The Rotorua Forest
Reach new heights in Rotorua on a zipline course that zooms through centuries-old forest canopy. Suspended 22 metres in the air, and with six different cable lines to traverse, you’ll get a birds-eye view (that’s if you’re brave enough to keep your eyes open, of course) of the protected ecosystem, while also learning about the region’s history and native birdlife.
Visit Kapiti Island
Just an hour’s drive and a short ferry trip from Wellington is Kapiti Island, one of New Zealand’s most stunning nature sanctuaries and a predator-free bird haven. The gorgeous isle offers a wonderful opportunity to spot some of the country’s most unique feathered occupants, including rare species such as the kākā, kōkako, takahē and kererū. There are also walking trails to explore and quiet beaches to take a dip in.
Try Fly Fishing
Not sure Queenstown’s ‘adrenaline’ vibe is for you? Never fear, there’s still plenty of fun to be had that doesn’t involve jumping from extreme heights or attempting to break the land speed record. Enter fly fishing. You’ll head out with an experienced guide for a day of casting lines and catching trout in some truly magnificent locations. And that could mean dinner is also taken care of.
Journey To Middle Earth
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve watched the movies a million times or need to Google who Frodo is, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this Lord of the Rings-inspired adventure. You’ll depart for Middle Earth (Glenorchy and surrounds) from Queenstown, stopping where many a famous scene was filmed. Keen fans will recognise the sites of Lothlorien, the Fortress of Isengard and the Forest of Amon Hen, while LOTR newbies will have no trouble appreciating the breathtaking scenery.