Looking for something to do this university break? We've compiled a list of the top thing (or things) to do in each region - a road trip to hit them all maybe?
It's hard to narrow down the entire Auckland region to one destination or activity, which is why we’ve gone with an island 18 km off the coast. This is where you’ll find the idyllic little sanctuary that is Waiheke Island. This haven of nature is quickly becoming a popular getaway spot for locals and visitors alike. Waiheke Island is known for its tropical sub-climate, world-class vineyards and pristine beaches, among other things. The range of fantastic things to do on Waiheke is enough to make sure that everyone can enjoy their day.
Waiheke Island boasts a vast variety of activities to accommodate even the most discerning palate. From water sports like stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and jet skis, to fine dining, helicopter rides, vineyard tours and more. If you asked a local, they'd say to make a day of it, visit the vineyards, have a meal in town, spend some time on a beach, and finish the day with some stargazing. Waiheke is one you just can't miss.
The mighty Waikato is home to what is likely one of the most recognisable locations in the world: Hobbiton. If you’re a die-hard Tolkien fan, the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata needs no introduction. A quick drive from Hamilton is all it takes to reach this wonderful recreation of Middle Earth. Here you can see the original Hobbit holes that were used in the making of the films, take a drink at the movie set inn The Green Dragon, take the guided tour to get all the best locations and info, and top it off with a fresh cookie from the bakery! More than 300,000 people each year can't be wrong, Hobbiton is a can't-miss location.
Canterbury is home to the beautiful city of Christchurch. The stand out activity in Christchurch, apart from just getting out and enjoying the surrounding land, would be one of the many wildlife and eco-tours that run out of the city. Canterbury boasts sweeping plains, weaving waterways and a pristine coastline, which is home to a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. Here you can find some of the world's most spectacular wildlife with so many ways to experience it.
Whether you want to swim alongside majestic marine mammals, or stroll serenely through native bush, Canterbury is a must-visit for nature buffs.
Check out Riccarton Bush, a protected, ancient native kahikatea forest, where Canterbury tree weta and great-spotted kiwi live among 600-year-old trees. In the heart of Christchurch, only 4km from the city centre you'll find this tranquil pocket of nature that even many locals are yet to discover
If you're feeling like getting out on the water, look into one of the many dolphin encounter tours available.
One of the coolest things to do in the Wellington region would have to be the Weta Cave. The Weta Cave Shop is the hub of Weta Studio Tours where you can get a chance to see life-sized sculptures straight from the movies, wander through their mini-museum, and watch their exclusive documentary. Even if you're not the biggest movie buff, you can't help but find it at least a little bit cool seeing creatures come alive in front of you!
If you're at all interested in science, history, or art, you need to head to Te Manawa, hands-down the best museum in the region. Te Manawa has ever-changing attractions, plus the permanent exhibits that prove to be massive crowd pleasers. It's a great place to learn of the early settlers of Maori descent who settled in Palmerston North in the very early days, as well as read facts about the fauna of the region including insects and water creatures. There's also the Rugby Museum upstairs so you can check that out at the same time!