Here at Kiva, we are constantly trying to learn about the world around us, dreaming about visiting new places, meeting new people and trying new things. We know that you, as Kiva lenders, share a lot of the same interests, which is why we started a series featuring some of the top can’t miss things to do and see in countries around the world.
Our next spotlight is on New Zealand. We asked family, friends and of course, our seasoned Kiva travelers for their best tips for enjoying mythical Middle Earth. Let us know in the comments below if you have any suggestions we missed. We would love to hear them. Happy travels!
1. Travel to Matamata and explore the Hobbiton Movie Set where the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit were filmed. Extra points if you take a picture in front of Bag End.
2. Spend the night in a Maori village and stay in a traditional Marae, a sacred Maori gathering place made up of buildings designated for dining, celebrating and sleeping.
3. Take a picture with some sheep. They are everywhere. New Zealand is home to 3 million people yet 60 million sheep.
4. Make your way out to the Coromandel Coast and hike to the breathtaking Cathedral Cove.
5. Eat a lamington. Prepare yourself for chocolatey coconut goodness.
6. Revel at the beauty of the Waitamo glow worm caves.
7. Indulge your playful side and go zorbing in Roturua.
8. Experience an adrenaline rush and go white water rafting.
9. Marvel at the geothermal parks Wai-o-tapu and Waimangu.
10. Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands.
11. Traverse active volcanoes, cold mountain springs, lakes and thermal steam vents at Tongariro Crossing — New Zealand’s best one-day walk. Be warned though, this outdoor adventure is not for the beginner; it is at least an 8 hour walk with steep incline.
12. Go canyoning at night near Piha.
13. Hike Fox Glacier.
14. Visit the Te Papa museum in Wellington.
15. Order a fish sandwich at Murder Burger on Ponsonby Road in Auckland.
16. Hug a giant Kauri tree in Paihia.
17. Meet a Kiwi bird, the national symbol of New Zealand.
18. Go whale watching in Kaikoura.
19. Soak in the hot pools at Hamner Springs.
20. Enjoy a glass of world-renowned sauvignon blanc in Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest wine growing region.
21. Kayak your way through the stunning Abel Tasman National Park.
22. Witness the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguins at the Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve in Dunedin trying to protect the endangered birds.)
23. Cruise around Milford Sound.
24. Eat at Fergburger in Queenstown.
25. Ski (or snowboard) at Treble Cone in Wanaka.
26. Explore Christchurch, the third most populous city in New Zealand, and go see the Botanic Gardens.
27. Take a helicopter ride over the Southern Alps.
28. Ogle the Franz Josepef glaciers, the fastest moving glaciers in the world.
29. For any Lord of the Rings Fans out there, take the Trails of Middle Earth tour. Ask for Bob McKinley (apparently he knows literally everything, maybe even more than Stephen Colbert).
30. Do something crazy in Queenstown like bungy jumping off of Bungy Bridge. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world.
31. Attend a Rugby match.
32. Take a boat cruise in Fiordland and spot some marine life.
33. Relax on the beautiful Tunnel Beach.
34. Drink an L&P.
35. Wake up early and watch the sunrise in Gisborne, the first place in the world to see the sun each day.