Australians like to think they know all there is to know about their closest international neighbour, New Zealand, but just as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, they know nothing.
Yes, New Zealand does have a coastal capital and an incredible, thriving indigenous culture. Yes, tourists can go canyon swinging in Queenstown and cruise through the fjord in Milford Sound.
But did you know you can kayak in Milford’s pristine waters? Or that you can stay in eco-friendly tree huts in Coromandel?
They’re just a couple of the things you probably didn’t know you could do across the Tasman, here are a few more:
STAY IN AN ECO-FRIENDLY TREE HUT
Accommodation doesn’t get any more unique than tree huts!
The eco-friendly overnight experience is located in a coastal town outside of Hamilton called, Coromandel, and sees guests relax high up in a 12-acre regenerating forest estate.
Unlike the bare tree houses you played with as a child, these rooms come with a king sized bed, balcony, living area, full kitchen and in some cases, a fireplace, free wi-fi, and a claw foot bath.
The rare sleep-style is part of Inspiring Journeys’ 11-day ‘The Endless Shores’ itinerary, which features other unique activities such as a guided walk through the sacred Waipoua Forest to see the largest Kauri tree in existence, the 2,000-year-old Tane Mahuta.
Guests will also have the opportunity to take a ferry ride to the early pioneer town of Russell where they can explore the first European settlement in New Zealand, swim in the pristine Pauanui Beach and discover magical glowworms in Waitomo Glowworm Grotto.
KAYAK ACROSS MILFORD SOUND
It’s New Zealand’s more famous natural asset, and tourists can now experience it in a more personal way.
While most visitors tend to cruise through Milford Sound, there are now opportunities for them to get up close to maneuver themselves around the pristine waters via kayaks.
The experience was added Inspiring Journeys’ 12-day ‘The Southern Drift’ itinerary for those who want a quieter, adventurous trip through the fjords.
Also available on the trip is a cross country journey on the world’s most scenic rail rides, the iconic TranzAlpine Train. Guests will chug-chug past epic scenery from Arthur’s Pass to Punakaiki.
Guests will also enjoy some time out in seclusion at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park where they’ll be treated to dinner with a backdrop of Mt Cook.
SEE FIRST-HAND HOW JADE IS DESIGNED
It’s the rock almost every visitor purchases in New Zealand, and now they can get a behind the scenes look at how this national piece is designed.
Before decorating their necks, wrists and ears with the green rock, tourists can visit a jade factory in Hokitika where they’ll receive a jewellery carving demonstration and see artists at work.
The behind-the-scenes tour is done after a special overnight stay at an eco-lodge by the water front in the heart of Fiordland National Park during Inspiring Journeys ‘ 22-day ‘The Long White Cloud’ itinerary.
Other unique features of the trip include a cruise around the sparkling Milford Sound, a chance to unwind in beautiful Queenstown and a Redwoods Tree Walk experience in Rotorua.
VISIT THE WORLD’S FIRST FULLY-FENCED URBAN ECOSANCTUARY
Welcome to Zealandia in New Zealand, the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary in Wellington.
The site was 500 years in the making and is designed to restore forest and freshwater conditions to as closely as possible to their pre-human state.
As a result of ongoing hard work, the 225-hectare ecosanctuary has already helped reintroduce 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, six of which were previously extinct from mainland New Zealand.
Isn’t that incredible!
The site is a highlight of Inspiring Journeys’ 10-day ‘Inspiring New Zealand’ itinerary.
Another incredibly unique feature on the trip is the traditional Māori cultural experience at the Tamaki Village where visitors are able to learn and partake in ancient traditions including ceremonial rituals, dances and feasting.
The itinerary also includes a discovery of Doubtful Sound, an exploration of vibrant Wellington and more.
All of these unique New Zealand activities can be experienced through Inspiring Journeys, a premium brand offering immersive boutique holidays in New Zealand and Australia.
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