The Gateway to the World Down Under

Everyone seems to have a trip down under on their list of things to do at least once.    Everyone also knows that off the east coast of Australia lies the neighbouring country of New Zealand and there the trip of a lifetime awaits.

Getting there is easy.  Non-Stop flights leave daily (seasonal) and in 13 hours you’ll be welcomed by very friendly New Zealanders in Auckland’s airport.  Then it’s a short cab ride to your hotel or you can catch a connecting flight to any of the 16 regions and enjoy their hospitality.

Now that you’re in New Zealand what is there to see and do?  You’ve no doubt heard the expression. “The list is endless.”  In New Zealand, it really is.

On the first day in Auckland there is no better way to take in the harbour views than to jump on a jet boat and experience a unique on-the-water adrenaline rush.  The Auckland Adventure Jet is a supercharged boat carrying up to 23 passengers in grandstand seating to ensure everyone has the best view as the boat spins and turns and does tricks along Waitemata Harbour.  Jet Boating is a New Zealand invention so there’s no better place in the world to discover this thrill.

Auckland is also home to the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, and at the 192 metres above the ground you can step outside and walk the 1.2 metre walkway around the tower with no handrails and nothing but the air around you.  You can also tie on to a wire and jump off the tower and hurtle to the ground at 85 kph before soft landing in the Sky City Plaza below.

queenstownimage_250x188If the glory of nature beckons you, there are safaris into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.  The park is home to over 25 of the southern hemisphere’s 37 marine mammals and on any trip you stand a very good chance of spotting dolphins and whales in their native habitat. Back in the city you can stop at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium where you take an underwater journey and discover a diverse collection of aquatic life up close including the world’s largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony, the world’s biggest species of stingray and the country’s largest collection of sharks.

Eco-tourism is big in New Zealand and just 40 minutes from central Auckland you can embark on a wilderness adventure aboard the Rain Forest express, a narrow gauge railway located deep in the heart of the Waitakere Ranges.    If you’re lucky enough to take this trip at night you’ll find the tunnel passages are lit by glow worms but you also must take the journey by day or you’ll miss the ancient forest and incredible waterfalls.

For those who just want a relaxing vacation you can saddle up and have your horse take you on a slow walk along the beach.   There are also several museums, tons of shopping, and more than enough sites to keep you busy.

For bicycle enthusiast, renting a bike is easy and affordable just about anywhere in New Zealand.  Most bicycle rental locations include free maps of the local area, including any points of interest such as amazing wineries/cultural museums etc.

Awaroa-Abel-Tasman2_250x188And this is only Auckland.  There’s still Christchurch, Coromandel, Rotorua, Bay of Islands, Bay of Plenty, Hastings Wine Region, Wellington, Marlborough Wine Region, Mount Cook, Queenstown, Wellington, Dunedin….this list goes on, and on.

And it is easy to add on Australia to any New Zealand vacation.  Air New Zealand & Downunder Travel encourage travelers to visit both with great pricing initiatives.

For more information on creating your perfect down under vacation, visit our offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, go to downunder-travel.com/hotnzsummer or phone toll free at 1-866-470-4414.