Summer in New Zealand is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful coastlines, stunning hikes and epic road trips. Plan a long holiday or just a weekend getaway with these top summer experiences.
1. Go glamping in beautiful places
Spend a balmy summers night next to a cosy fire. Soak under the stars in an outdoor bathtub and marvel over spectacular views. Glamping (camping but with all the comforts of home) is one of the best ways to get out there and immerse yourself in some of New Zealand's coolest spots, without sacrificing comfort. Whether you're after an eco-retreat by the beach(opens in new window) or a secluded spot with panoramic mountain views at Lake Wanaka, there'll be a glamping spot for it.
2. Bike your way around New Zealand's best cycle trails
Grab your helmet and hit the trails! Spread over the entire length of the country, there is no shortage of accessible cycling trails and mountain biking tracks. Spanning from the Bay of Islands to Queenstown the 22 Great Rides are an excellent way to explore New Zealand on two wheels. Not sure where to start? Let one of the many tour operators take care of logistics - they will package it all up - shuttles, bike hire, accommodation, repair kits, maps, meals and emergency support. Easy!
Hire a campervan and explore New Zealand with friends or family this summer! A home on wheels is one of the best ways to see and experience what our country has to offer, campervan travel opens you up to those little pockets of paradise of 100% pure New Zealand beauty. Wake up to majestic mountain views right at your doorstep, enjoy sunsets and stargazing from a different camping spot every night, all the while taking your 'home away from home' with you. If you're after some inspiration on where to go, check out these campervan road trip ideas.
4. Take a scenic train journey throughout New Zealand
Great train journeys should be on everyone's list this summer - relax in style on the Coastal Pacific, the Northern Explorer and the TranzAlpine. Sit back and enjoy a one-way trip or settle in for the whole journey. Known to be the most relaxing way to experience New Zealand’s rich diversity and breathtaking beauty, train travel is scenic travel at a slower pace. Showing you some of the country's hidden spots and inland exploration that is not normally accessible by car.
Grab your boots and tramping gear and hike through New Zealand's wilderness. Tramp through national parks surrounded by New Zealand flora and fauna and giant kauri trees. Listen for native bird calls on short family friendly nature trails or tackle a challenging multi-day alpine track. Take on the Kepler Track, or climb through vast alpine plains and volcanic areas on the Tongariro Crossing, or walk under New Zealand's tallest mountain on the Hooker Valley Track and be greeted by a lake filled with icebergs at the end. Don't forget to check the weather before you go!
6. View dolphins, whales, penguins in their natural habitat
The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the refreshing water of the Pacific Ocean is enticing you in. With about 15,000 kilometres of coastline, New Zealand offers plenty of places for you to get up close to local marine life. Swim with dolphins in Kaikōura, watch in awe as the albatross spread their gigantic wings, see cute little blue penguins as they waddle onto land for the evening in Oamaru. Learn more about our beautiful marine life by booking a tour with a knowledgeable guide and experience New Zealand's underwater world.
7. Challenge yourself to something adventurous
This summer, test your wits, get out of your comfort zone, feel alive and challenge yourself to do something new! There is no shortage of adrenaline rush activities here and the long hot days create an epic playground for adventure lovers. Are you brave enough to fly through the sky with a bungy jump or skydive? Feel the power of the water on a jetboat, zipline through native forests, squeeze your way between canyons or explore beaches on horseback - whatever your definition of 'adventure' is, New Zealand has it!
The long balmy nights and bright mornings during summer mean there is plenty of time for long brunches, alfresco lunches and romantic dinners. Quench your thirst with a craft beer experience or enjoy a glass of a fine New Zealand wine at one of the many famous vineyards. Fresh, locally produced food is found all over the country and some destinations really are a foodies paradise. Take a leisurely road trip and enjoy the best food and wine experiences and farmers markets.
Did you know Great Barrier Island is entirely off-grid relying on renewable solar power and collection of freshwater? Also, it's the only island in the world to officially receive Dark Sky Reserve status - that's a big deal. Chatham Island's are two islands off the coast of the South Island and just a couple of hours flight from the mainland - and the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy life as it used to be. With unusual rock formations, sea views, seafood and walking tracks ''the Chatham's'' are a great getaway. Or, check out the well-known wine mecca of Waiheke Island, or the dark sky sanctuary of Rakiura/Stewart Island. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get to a unique New Zealand island.
Summer isn't truly summer until you go to an outdoor summer event! Fill your puku (stomach) at a Food and Wine event in the quaint town of Martinborough, as the region comes to life with Toast Martinborough(opens in new window). Go back in time and celebrate Napier's unique heritage with jazz concerts, vintage and classic cars and dancing on the the streets during the Art Deco Festival(opens in new window). Or ring in the New Year at the foot of the mighty Southern Alps at Rhythm and Alps(opens in new window). Good vibes, sun-kissed skin and great company - what more could you ask for!
Note: Be sure to check each event's website around health and safety requirements in attending the event.
BONUS: Take some time out at one of our amazing beaches
A kiwi summer isn’t complete without spending some time at the beach with friends and family. But maybe this year you could mix it up and try a new experience while you’re there? Take a surfing lesson to develop a new skill, or even hire a paddleboard and cruise along some calmer waters.