Pete the Kiwi's top 10 iconic New Zealand experiences
From awe-inspiring landscapes to delicious food, a unique culture and rare feathered friends, New Zealand offers the experience of a lifetime. Here are my top 10 picks!
Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. Though they arrived here more than 1000 years ago, you'll see their language and cultural influences on New Zealand everywhere today. Watch a Māori cultural performance, visit a marae or take an authentic and in-depth tour with a Māori tourism operator - just some of the great ways to get a deeper understanding of this unique culture.
Get your feet wet! Over 15,000 kilometres of coastline and large lakes in the interior means you're never far from the water no matter where you are in New Zealand. Whale-watching, sailing and scenic cruises or ferries are some of the many ways you can get a unique perspective of our gorgeous country.
You're in wine country here. Spend an afternoon sampling a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir and dining at a vineyard restaurant overlooking the vines. What a chilled-out way to drink in the New Zealand atmosphere.
New Zealand is home to countless native species of trees and plants, and they come together to form a beautiful rainforest. It has dense undergrowth and looks exotic, but don't worry - there are no dangerous insects or animals lurking about. There are fantastic walkways through the New Zealand bush and mate, it's a great way to connect with nature.
New Zealand's mountains, lakes and rivers form a dramatic backdrop to an exciting range of adventure activities making New Zealand the perfect place to unleash your adventurous side. If stepping off a bridge is a step too far, there are activities to suit every level of thrill seeker.
A journey to Middle-earth isn't complete without a visit to the Hobbiton Movie set or one of the many locations across New Zealand where the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movie trilogies were filmed. Say hi to my mate Gandalf if you see him!
Get it? New Zealand has amazing birds that are found nowhere else in the world, many of which can't fly. Like me! Whether it's watching penguins surf into shore each night at Oamaru or kiwi-spotting on Stewart Island, observing New Zealand's feathered friends is a special experience.
I love food. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, it's no surprise that the fish and seafood in New Zealand is the best you will ever taste. Our country is also famous for its dairy, honey, fruit, lamb and beef, so don't miss trying the amazing fresh produce, classic Kiwi favourites and innovative modern cuisine.
New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where getting away from it all is so easy. Nearly everything here is away from it all! Get off the beaten track and leave the more well-known destinations to discover the rural and real New Zealand with its charming small towns and scenic spots. They'll make you smile, and take your breath away.
For the very most authentic experience in New Zealand, your best bet is to just strike up a conversation. You know, talk to the people! Kiwis are very proud of their land, and they're very laidback and sociable. Like yours truly! Have a yarn - that means a chat - with a local, and you'll find the best tips and places to go in this country we call home.