A trio of top days touring New Zealand

New Zealand offers a myriad of holiday experiences; but which highlights are local favourites? Below, we share three of our most-loved kiwi destinations.

In New Zealand, amazing landscapes decorate the length of both the North Island and South Island and many wonderful experiences await. Whether you seek the spectacular scenery of our mountains, rivers, lakes and coastline or cultural and culinary delights, we have what you are searching for. For more than 30 years MoaTrek has been showcasing the best parts of New Zealand to visitors from around the world, sharing the most special corners of our country on our small group tours. As a result, we know a fair bit about the most beautiful places to visit, but we also love getting clients off the beaten track.

Here are three of our favourite New Zealand experiences – don’t miss incorporating them into your kiwi holiday.

Visit the home of the forest giants

In the upper North Island of the country lies one of our greatest living wonders - the ancient and mighty Waipoua Forest. Here, you will see mature kauri forest alive with birdsong and home to a diverse range of native trees. Most notable of all are the giant kauri trees - spectacular in both physical scale and age, these majestic old trees are the jewel in the crown of Waipoua. Wander the mystical forests to encounter the Kauris up close. Feel the energy when you look up at the massive Tane Mahuta 'Lord of the Forest' - a 2000 year old leviathan that is New Zealand's largest tree. Meet Te Matua Ngahere, the country's oldest living tree, estimated to be as old as 4000 years and learn about the Maori myths and legends of the forest. The visit to the Waipoua Forest is a popular activity for visitors and kiwis alike, and many deem the experience to be highly spiritual.

Golden beaches of the Coromandel

The Coromandel Peninsula is wrapped in over 400 kilometers (250 miles) of stunning North Island coastline – here, you will find some of New Zealand’s best beaches. At the famous Hot Water Beach, a quick dig in the soft sand during low tide reveals an upwelling of thermally heated mineral water which becomes the ultimate natural spa pool. Soaking up the thermally heated waters just metres from the refreshing Pacific Ocean is a very unique experience. Nearby, Hahei Beach also boasts golden sand and is great for a relaxing stroll. And don't forget your camera - the clear, blue water of the Pacific sets the scene for some great snapshots. Cathedral Cove is one of the most spectacular coastal gems in the region. A small, intimate cove where jewel-coloured water and white sand are surrounded by steep cliffs and framed at one end by a waterfall and at the other, a cathedral of rock that leads to another small, picturesque beach. For the best Cathedral Cove experience, cruise the pristine waters on a glass-bottomed boat from which you can enjoy both the marine life and the amazing scenery.

The thriving marine life of Kaikoura

Kaikoura, located on the upper east coast of the South Island, is arguably the best place in the country to view New Zealand's vibrant marine life up-close. This is the ultimate location to view the majestic albatross and the area is frequented by as many as 12 different species. To witness these princely gliders - along with thriving populations of penguins, petrels, shearwaters and turns - take an unforgettable bird watching cruise along the magical Kaikoura coastline. You can also go whale watching on a boat cruise or scenic flight. Kaikoura’s waters are home to the mighty sperm whale, the largest toothed whale on the planet, and humpback whales are regular visitors here too. On shore, seal colonies play in the shallows and bask on the rocks and it is possible to get some great close-up photos.

It’s easy to experience these magical places with a MoaTrek small group tour. All of our itineraries include showcase the very best of what New Zealand has to offer – and the above three destinations are definitely up there. As well as forest giants, stunning beaches and fascinating marine life, many of our tours include glaciers, a scenic flight over Milford Sound, kayaking in a pristine lagoon and experiencing the resort town of Queenstown. Find out more on our website, or contact us directly.