16 Reasons to visit New Zealand in 2016

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  • 16 Reasons to visit New Zealand in 2016

Whether you want to pedal or peruse, clap or cheer, there’s sure to be an activity, event or location in New Zealand for you in 2016.

1. Go stargazing in the world’s clearest skies

In 2012, a 430,000ha area around  Tekapo, in the Canterbury, was designated the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Visit Mt John Observatory or if you strike it right you may witness the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis).

Christchurch - Canterbury
Lake Tekapo, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Maki Yanagimachi/Earth and Sky Ltd

2. Stay at a remarkable new luxury lodge

Helena Bay is one of the most beautiful bays along a coastline full of breathtaking, sheltered sandy coves – and in 2016, three exclusive villas will open to guests right on the water.

Northland & Bay of Islands
Helena Bay Lodge, Northland & Bay of Islands

By Helena Bay

3. Visit New Zealand’s first museum of contemporary art

Len Lye is one of New Zealand’s most influential artists and in 2015 a gallery dedicated to his work was opened with great fanfare.

New Zealand
New Plymouth, New Zealand

By Glenn Jeffrey

4. Challenge yourself at Lake Taupo

Cycle around Lake Taupo on the 40th anniversary of the iconic Lake Taupo Challenge in November. The lake is as large as Singapore - however you can enter bite size distances for the challenge. 

Lake Taupo
Lomba Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, Lake Taupo

By Tourism New Zealand

5. Have a taste of Christchurch's burgeoning hospitality scene

Five years on from the earthquake of February 2011, Christchurch has a host of new restaurants and a confident local identity.

Christchurch - Canterbury
C1 cafe, Christchurch - Canterbury

By Tourism New Zealand

6. Wine and dine on Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island produces some superb wine and fabulous food. Small wonder that Lonely Planet recently named the island “best in travel” for 2016.

Auckland
Cable Bay Vineyard, Auckland

By Cable Bay

7. Visit Peter Jackson’s Great Trench Experience

Lord of the Rings director Sir Peter Jackson has taken on what used to be Wellington’s Dominion Museum, to create a world class World War One experience. The museum exhibition opened in 2015 but the Great Trench Experience, is due to open in 2016.

Wellington
Great War Exhibition, Wellington

By Mark Tantrum

8. Cycle the West Coast’s newest trail

Cycling the South Island’s rugged West Coast is an adventure you’ll treasure forever. The West Coast Wilderness trail’s 4-5 day ride travels from Ross to Greymouth via Hokitika and Kumara.

West Coast
West Coast Cycle Trail, West Coast

By West Coast Cycle Trail

9. Run a marathon in a natural wonderland

If you’ve ever wanted to pound the path of a brand new marathon, you’ll be sure to head to Hawke’s Bay in May. This inaugural event follows roads and bike trails before making its way through vineyards.

Hawke's Bay
Hawke's Bay Marathon, Hawke's Bay

By Lagardere Unlimited

10. Get close to local wildlife at Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo has recently opened “Meet the Locals”. Described as the zoo’s love letter to New Zealand, ‘Meet the Locals’ celebrates New Zealand’s diverse flora and fauna.

Wellington
Blue Penguin di Wellington Zoo, Wellington

By Wellington Zoo

11. Get a kick out of watching rugby

Following their most recent Rugby World Cup win, the All Blacks team will be welcoming a host of fresh faces onboard and, to see how those new players stack up, in 2016 there are plenty of test matches for fans to attend. 

New Zealand
New Zealand All Blacks, New Zealand

By Kai Schwörer

12. Cruise into an Art Deco paradise


In February 2016, for the first time ever, Pacific Pearl will call into the Port of Napier during the annual Art Deco Festival. The Hawke’s Bay city of Napier is renowned for its Art Deco architecture.

Hawke's Bay
Napier, Hawke's Bay

By Tourism New Zealand

13. Go mountain biking in Rotorua

Crankworx is the world’s biggest mountain biking festival with events worldwide. Experience Crankworx Rotorua from March 9-13, 2016.

Rotorua
Crankworx, Rotorua

By Chester Boyes

14. Celebrate 30 years of cutting-edge culture

The New Zealand Festival in Wellington is the longest-running and largest multi-arts festival in the country and includes some of the world’s top acts. 

Wellington
NZ Festival, Wellington

By Jeff McEwan

15. Taste some of New Zealand’s craft beers

Boutique breweries are opening the length of the country using New Zealand hops. Wellington beer festival Beervana is a great place to sample Kiwi beer. 

Wellington
Bir Racikan Lokal, Wellington

By Two Bearded Men

16. Get festive at Auckland City Limits

Music to the ears of music lovers, the City Limits Music Festival is coming to Auckland in on March 19. Inspired by the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas, over 40 artists will be taking the stage.

Auckland
Fat Freddys Drop, Auckland

By Supplied

Where to Next

Top 10 Instagram spots for 2015 →

7 Epic must-see Instagram spots in New Zealand →

5 of our favourite photos of New Zealand →