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Milford Sound, New Zealand

Things to do in New Zealand

New Zealand is known for its magnificent landscapes and outdoor pursuits and although its cities offer plenty to see and do, its soul belongs to the wilderness. A cruise around Milford and Doubtful Sounds allows you to enjoy peaceful Fjordland from the water, while in Kaikoura we suggest one of the award-winning whale watching tours. Discover New Zealand’s geothermal activity in Rotorua, which is also a great place to immerse yourself in Maori culture at the Mitai Maori Night.

If you're seeking more action, try an exhilarating jet boat trip along the Dart River in Queenstown, the self-proclaimed ‘adventure capital of the world’, where numerous adrenaline-fueled experiences are on offer.

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Audley Travel specialist Haley

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Ideas for experiencing New Zealand

Experiences you have as you travel often hold the longest memories. As part of their research trips, our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know New Zealand, and the best local guides. These activities reflect some of their best-loved experiences.

  • Lake McKerrow, Hollyford Track

    Routeburn Track — 3 Days


    Climb a well-graded track to Key Summit, where you can sit among the alpine plants and partake in 'The Annual General Meeting of the Mountains'. You then descend to Lake Howden before gradually climbing through lush silver beech forest to the base of Earland Falls: quite a sight in wet weather!

  • Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast

    Tasman Glacier Sightseeing Flight

    Mount Cook National Park

    From the foothills of Mount Cook National Park you can take a spectacular scenic ski-plane flight which will take you up the length of the Tasman Glacier before landing on the newly fallen snow near the top.

  • Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsular

    Kiwi Dundee Nature & Coast

    Coromandel Peninsula

    This full day excursion provides a sample of many of the highlights of this stunning peninsula. The guides at Kiwi Dundee will introduce you to areas of scenic beauty and historic significance, and will endeavor to tailor the day to the preferences of the group.

  • Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

    4x4 Safari of Scenes


    The perfect tour for those who want the thrills of an off-road adventure but also want to discover exciting 'Lord of the Rings' film locations.

  • The Grand Traverse of Mount Cook, West Coast

    Sightseeing flight over Mount Cook

    Mount Cook National Park

    This unique flight encompasses Aoraki (Mount Cook), Westland and Tai Poutini national parks, traversing 200 kilometers of New Zealand's most beautiful and spectacular alpine scenery.

  • Wellington, New Zealand

    Wellington Food Tour


    Spend time behind the scenes with a personal guide at some of Wellington's excellent food venues.

  • Tui, Ulva Island

    Birding Bonanza and Kiwi Spotting full day tour of Ulva and Stewart Islands

    Stewart & Ulva Islands

    This full-day trip is the ultimate birding and nature experience on Stewart Island. This tour also includes an opportunity to see the elusive and beautiful local kiwis, but due to their susceptibility to weather conditions the exact timing of your visit to watch them is flexible.

  • Helicopter landing, Fox Glacier

    Flight over Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

    Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

    This is a 30 minute scenic flight that will take you high above the spectacular scenery of both Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, with views across to Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

  • Taieri Gorge Railway

    The Taieri Gorge Railway


    Stretching for 77km, the historic Taieri Gorge Railway traverses spectacular changes of scenery, taking you on a journey through the rugged Taieri River Gorge. Appreciate the history of the railway as you travel over wrought iron viaducts and through hand-carved tunnels which are over 100 years old.

  • Glow worm caves, Te Anau

    Te Anau Glow Worm Caves

    Te Anau & Manapouri

    Travel by small boat and walkways in small groups through cathedral-like caves with waterfalls, whirlpools and beautiful rock formations before drifting through the 'glow worm grotto': an unforgettable experience.

  • Maori rock carvings, Lake Taupo

    Chris Jolly's Cruise on Lake Taupo

    Lake Taupo

    A scenic cruise taking you out on to Lake Taupo, to the Maori rock carvings and to historical points of interest in Whakaipo Bay.

  • A pair of Hector's dolphins

    Dolphin Swim


    This three hour excursion is perhaps the best way in the world to swim with dolphins. Kaikoura attracts dolphins all year round, hugely increasing the chances of being able to get in the water with these incredible creatures.

  • TSS Earnslaw, Queenstown

    TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm


    Affectionately know as the 'Lady of the Lake', the TSS Earnslaw has been steaming the length of Lake Wakatipu since 1912. You can watch sheepdogs in action, see the shearing or even try your hand at wool spinning. After morning or afternoon tea you then steam back to Queenstown.

  • The Coastal Pacific train, New Zealand

    Coastal Pacific


    Linking the port of Picton with the city of Christchurch, the Coastal Pacific railway offers a fantastic opportunity to discover the east coast of the South Island.

  • Sunrise Balloon Flight, Queenstown

    Hot Air Balloon Flight


    Depart early this morning on your hot air balloon flight over the magnificent scenery surrounding Queenstown. Lift off usually takes place in the valleys between Queenstown and Arrowtown with magnificent views of the unique terrain.

  • Helicopter landing, Fox Glacier

    Fox Glacier Heli Hiking

    Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

    The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are two of the fastest moving in the world, sometimes at a rate of up to 20m a year. This means that the terrain is ever-changing as crevasses close and new ones open so your guide leads you on an unplanned route which is a true adventure.

  • Milford Sound, New Zealand

    Milford Sound Nature Cruise

    Te Anau & Manapouri

    Once in Milford you will board the Milford Mariner for a nature cruise of two and a half hours which leads you the full length of the sound and into the Tasman Sea.

  • Jet boat, Siberia Experience

    The Siberia Experience

    Lake Wanaka

    The Siberia Experience offers you a selection of New Zealand's best adventurous activities all in one day.

  • Milford Sound, New Zealand

    One Day Milford Sound Fly-Cruise-Fly

    Milford Sound

    You will be flown down to Milford Sound in a twin-engine aircraft, from which you can enjoy the majestic views of the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu, Mitre Peak and the sounds.

  • Akaroa & Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

    Harbour Wildlife Cruise

    Akaroa & Banks Peninsula

    This harbour cruise is one of the most picturesque in New Zealand and gives you the chance to experience the Banks Peninsulas most majestic scenery.

  • Huka Falls Jet Boat excursion, Lake Taupo

    Hukafalls Jet Boat

    Lake Taupo

    This jet boat ride takes you upriver, through native bush and past thermal pools, to the very base of the Huka Falls, where 220,000 liters of water per second come tumbling over the cliff face.

  • Vineyard on Waiheke Island

    Waiheke Island Wine Tour


    Enjoy Waiheke's award-winning wines and locally produced gourmet delights, along with gardens and galleries, music and poetry, native birds and bush walks.

  • Lake Wanaka

    Greenshell Mussel Cruise


    Take a gentle cruise through the beautiful inner Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, enjoying the scenery whilst learning about the history of mussel farming in the area, with commentary from your knowledgeable guide.

  • Farewell Spit Eco Tours, Collingwood

    Farewell Spit Ecotour


    Farewell Spit, at the very northernmost point on the South Island, has been a sanctuary since the 1930s and is now home to over 90 species of bird including famous waders such as bar-tailed godwits, knots, curlews, whimbrels and turnstones, which spend the summer here.

  • River near Milford Sound, Fiordland

    Milford Track Day Walk

    Milford Sound

    This small group excursion gives you a taste of the majestic scenery of the Milford Track without having to dedicate 5 days to complete the whole trail. Your lunch is included, and complimentary tea and coffee are available at the start and end of the walk.

  • The TranzAlpine Train, New Zealand

    TranzAlpine Railway


    Making the great traverse of the Southern Alps, the TranzAlpine train links Christchurch on the Pacific with Greymouth on the Tasman Sea, in a spectacular journey lasting four and a half hours.

  • Tongariro National Park

    Tongariro Guided Walk

    Tongariro National Park

    This one day walk traverses the stark and spectacular volcanic terrain of Mount Tongariro, and is one of the most fascinating treks in the world. This walk is led by an expert guide who will provide informative commentary, so finding your way will not be a problem.

  • Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

    Fiordland Navigator Cruise

    Doubtful Sound

    Perhaps one of the finest options in Fiordland, the overnight Fiordland Navigator cruise on Doubtful Sound takes you to some of the national park’s most untouched and inspiring scenery.

  • Ninety Mile Beach, Northland

    Cape Reinga Fly/Drive


    This unforgettable excursion is a five hour tour of Cape Reinga and the extreme Northland. The day starts with a breathtaking flight over the west coast of Northland in a Cessna aircraft. This is the perfect - indeed, the only - way to put this stunning scenery into perspective.

  • Emerald Lakes, Tongariro National Park

    Tongariro cycling

    Tongariro National Park

    This tour, which involves walking or riding along the historic cobblestone Coach Road through a bush corridor on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, is an exciting adventure and a journey back in time.

  • Jet boat on the Dart River

    Dart River Wilderness Safari


    Board the Dart River jet-boat on a white-knuckle ride for an hour and a half up the narrow, meandering waterway, into real wilderness country.

  • Hole in the rock, Russell & The Bay of Islands

    Hole in the Rock Cruise


    Be whisked away by the high speed luxury catamaran for a comfortable journey out through game fishing waters to the Cape Brett Lighthouse before reaching Motukokako Island and the famous 'Hole in the Rock'. The excitement grows as you make passage through the Hole and on to the majestic Grand Cathedral Cave.

  • Takahe, Tiritiri Matangi Island

    Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Bird Sanctuary


    Tiritiri Matangi is a world-renowned bird sanctuary off the coast of Auckland. You will hike through the native bush on well formed tracks and boardwalks as your guide identifies fauna, bird species and birdsong, as well as many other points of interest along the way.

  • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

    Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


    Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. Explore areas of New Zealand's history, culture and natural environment via interactive exhibits.

  • Mount Eden, Auckland

    Auckland Highlights Tour


    Known as the 'City of Sails', this tour is the perfect introduction to the city as you visit several points of cultural and scenic interest; including Mount Eden with its amazing 360 degree views of the city and the city's oldest park, Auckland Domain.

  • Milford Mariner, Milford Sound

    Milford Sound Overnight Cruise

    Milford Sound

    Spending a night on board the Milford Mariner is by far the best way to experience the splendor of the majestic Fiordland scenery.

  • Beach, Queen Charlotte Sound

    Queen Charlotte Track Freedom Walk - 4/5 Days


    Board the motor launch that will take you to famous Ship Cove where Captain Cook visited five times to reprovision his ship. From Ship Cove the track climbs, giving you unsurpassed views to the North Island.

  • Hobbiton

    River and Rings Horseback Ride


    Dart Stables provide a superb riding experience through some of New Zealand's most breathtaking scenery. You will journey through locations used in such films as 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Willow' whilst taking in the spectacular surroundings.

  • Birding Bonanza and Kiwi Spotting full day tour of Ulva and Stewart Islands, Stewart Island

    Ulva Island Tour

    Stewart & Ulva Islands

    Ulva Goodwillie is a Maori Eco/Nature guide who is passionate about, and absolutely committed to, Ulva Island and its protection. As a predator free island, the plants and native birds have been able to flourish as nature originally intended, and a visit to the island is like stepping back in time.

  • Sperm whale, Kaikoura

    Whale Watching


    The local company we use who operate these boats which head out to see the whales as they come up for air, has been running trips for over 20 years and has won many awards in that time. The whole experience is not just exhilarating, but also highly educational and focused on the preservation of the marine environment.

  • Hall Arm, Doubtful Sound

    Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

    Te Anau & Manapouri

    Once on board the Fiordland Navigator you will cruise through hidden waterways where bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen playing and riding the waves under the bows, fur seals bask on outcrops around the fiord, and at times the rarest penguins in the world can be observed.

  • Maori house in Rotorua

    Mitai Maori Night


    This evening of Maori culture is both entertaining and educational. The cultural display, performed by a talented local cast, consists of the formal welcome, traditional dances and Maori weaponry display, as well as the arrival of the warriors by ancient canoe.

  • Helicopter on Franz Josef Glacier

    Heli Hike on Franz Josef Glacier

    Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers

    Join your crew at The Helicopter Line Officer, Main South Road to commence a heli hike tour. A scenic 10 minute helicopter flight takes you over Franz Josef Glacier to its icefall, where the helicopter lands and you start a two hour guided walk amongst its ice caves, pinnacles and seracs.

  • On Yer Bike winery tour, Hawkes Bay

    On Yer Bike Winery Tour


    Hawkes Bay is beautiful and most importantly flat, which makes it perfect cycling terrain. All bikes are professionally maintained and as well as safety helmets come with baskets or backpacks and visibility flags.

  • Traditional Maori Hongi Greeting

    Maori Cultural Experience


    This memorable tour brings you close to the Maori community in Kaikoura in a way that is not possible elsewhere in New Zealand. You will spend the day with the family who introduce you to a culture which dates back over 800 years.

  • Glacier cruise, Mount Cook National Park

    Glacier Boat Cruise

    Mount Cook National Park

    This three-hour tour of Lake Tasman, and the front edge of New Zealand's largest glacier, is a unique opportunity to learn about this incredible remnant of the Ice Age.

  • Lake Waikaremoana, New Zealand

    Whirinaki Eco-Culture Walk


    This full day walk into one of New Zealand's most remarkable native forests takes you to the heart of the Urewera Ranges.

  • Ulva Island, New Zealand

    Birding & Botany on Ulva Island

    As a predator-free island, the plants and native birds on Ulva Island have been able to flourish as nature originally intended. The guided walk will talk you through the unique flora and fauna and explain the on-going conservation efforts.

  • Shotover River, Queenstown

    Shotover River Jet Boat


    The Shotover Jet is an adrenaline fuelled jet boat trip through the Shotover Canyon, which towers over you on either side. Skim around crags and boulders and then enjoy the sensation as the boat spins around 360 degrees in its own length.

  • Marlborough Sounds scenery

    Marlborough Sounds Cruise


    Over the course of the trip you will learn about Maori culture and history, and enjoy the amazing bio-diversity of the Sounds whilst slowly sailing round the sheltered inland waterways.

  • Auckland

    Auckland City Tastes walking tour


    Indulge in a culinary exploration as you visit two of the city's most vibrant foodie locations: Britomart and the viaduct Harbour.

  • Waitemata Harbour, Auckland

    America's Cup Sailing


    This is a two hour excursion offering the opportunity for you to participate in sailing these grand prix racing machines. Passengers become the crew and are encouraged to take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or simply sit back and enjoy the action while sailing around the beautiful Waitemata Harbour.

  • Seal on Ohau Point

    Seal & Beach Walk

    Abel Tasman National Park

    The first part of the excursion starts with a cruise up the coastline, passing golden beaches and secluded bays, to Onetahuti (Tonga Bay), where you visit Tonga Island, which is home to the largest seal colony in the park and has many species of sea bird and sometimes Penguins.

  • Hawkes Bay winery

    Hawkes Bay Wine Tour

    Hawke's Bay

    This afternoon (half day) wine tour will take you to four of the region's excellent wineries, where you will have the opportunity to taste and purchase some of the wines for which the area is famous.

  • River on the Hollyford Track, New Zealand

    Walk the Hollyford Track

    Milford Sound

    This easy-paced three day valley walk encompasses crystal clear rivers, mirror-like lakes, waterfalls, reefs, sand dunes and surf, against the backdrop of the soaring, snow-capped Darran Mountains.

  • Dolphin, Pemba Island

    Swimming with Dolphins


    This four hour trip departs from Paihia and Russell in the morning or afternoon on a jet-powered catamaran from which you will meet one of nature's most charming creatures in the warm waters of the Bay of Islands.

  • New Zealand fur seals, Kaikoura

    Swim with Seals in Kaikoura


    One of the best nature activites in New Zealand, swimming with wild New Zealand fur seals in Kaikoura is a truly unique experience.

  • Kauri trees, Waipoua Forest

    Waipoua Forest Twilight Encounter

    The Kauri Coast

    The spiritual environment of the Waipoua Forest provides a natural stage for an unforgettable encounter with some of the largest remaining kauri trees in the world.

  • Beach, Queen Charlotte Sound

    Sea Kayaking in Queen Charlotte Sound

    Marlborough Sounds

    This one day sea kayaking adventure takes groups of no more than eight paddlers out towards the southern end of the Queen Charlotte Sound.

  • Kiwi bird

    Zealandia Night Tour


    Zealandia, which encompasses the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, is an urban wildlife haven where some of New Zealand's most endangered native animals thrive in this predator-free environment. The guided night tour begins with highlights of the fully immersive and interactive exhibition, where you will discover how this safe haven was created.

  • Yellow Eyed Penguin on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin

    Otago Peninsula Wildlife Cruise


    The Otago Peninsula is home to some of New Zealand's rarest animals, but it is also the most accessible wildlife area on the South Island. A cruise on the peninsula allows you to view this amazing array of ocean birds and marine mammals in their natural environment.