1. AUCKLAND CITY & SKY TOWER / (AUCKLAND)
Auckland, New Zealand is known as the “City of Sails” and it’s obvious why that is. Nestled amidst 48 volcanoes and two major harbors, you’ll fall in love with this city upon arrival. While there, a must-see pit stop is the iconic Sky Tower. At 328 meters (1069 feet!) tall with panoramic views in every direction you’ll quickly find yourself singing Drake’s “Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up!” lyrics as you take in the sheer magnitude of this structure. (Yes, that actually happened) And while there, enjoy a sunset dinner at the Sky Tower’s very own Orbit 360º for a modern and moving dining experience. This restaurant rotates a full 360-degrees every hour atop the Sky Tower, providing you a one of a kind dining experience.
Sky Tower Pricing (Adult NZD: $29 / Child: $12)
2. TASTE OF WAIHEKE – FOOD & WINE TOUR / (AUCKLAND)
If you have even the slightest obsession with good food and wine, then be sure to try the Taste of Waiheke – Food & Wine Tour. The tour begins with a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland to Waiheke Island – a haven of beautiful wineries, olive groves and beaches. (30 wineries to be exact but who’s counting?) Once island side your guided tour will begin with a first stop at Stonyridge Vineyard for wine tasting and lunch, followed by a visit to Rangihoua Estate to sample world class olive oils. At this point the fun has only just begun, you will then hit Casita Miro for an absolutely idyllic wine and food pairing experience before ending the day at Mudbrick Vineyard for wine, wine, and more wine… oh there’s also ocean views of Hauraki Gulf to equally delight your senses. We obviously left feeling fat, happy, and hydrated. #worthit
Taste of Waiheke – Food & Wine Tour (Adult NZD: $150)
3. NORTH ISLAND – ROAD TRIP / (NORTH ISLAND)
There’s no better way to see the sights and sounds of New Zealand’s North Island than by renting a car and driving your way through the countryside as you head from one destination to the next. We rented a super sexy Toyota Corolla from Europcar for a gas efficient vehicle, but most international rental companies are available to meet your desires for style and price. So why the hype? Because you’ll be treating your eyes to a vacation … expect to see dormant volcanoes, beautiful beaches, awe inspiring geysers, waterfalls, majestic mountains and green rolling hills as far as the eye can see. You won’t want the trip to end … I know we didn’t.
4. BLACK LABYRINTH – WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES / (WAITOMO)
The Black Labyrinth tubing experience in the iconic Waitomo Glowworm Caves is hands down one of the best excursions we have ever been on. The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are extraordinarily unique to New Zealand’s landscape. The entire cave ceiling glows in the dark as thousands of luminescent “glowworms” paint its vaulted limestone skies. The Black Labyrinth cave tour is a one of a kind black water tubing experience that will guide you through a pitch-black cave where glowworms provide your only source of light. Plan on jumping, climbing, and floating your way through underground river rapids, waterfalls, and wading pools at every corner. It’s a once in a lifetime experience worth trying #wePromise
Black Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Tour (Adult NZD: $138)
5. KAITUNA WHITE WATER RIVER RAFTING / (ROTORUA)
If you are an adrenaline junkie (like ourselves) and river rafting is your jam, then we have just the white water rafting experience for you. Just 15 minutes from downtown Rotorua, the River Rats team on the Kaituna River offers an exhilarating ride on this Class 5 Rapid. You’ll raft through 14 rapids in total, including the world’s largest commercially rafted waterfall, standing 7 meters (21 feet!) tall amidst the New Zealand forest. You’ll hit various waterfalls ranging in size, pass through beautiful native trees, brush filled canyons, and calm wading pools. But you don’t have to be an expert to try this river, beginners are welcome, just bring your confidence and leave your diapers at the door.
River Rats Kaituna River – Grade 5 (Adult NZD: $105)
6. TE PUIA TE PO INDIGENOUS EVENING EXPERIENCE / (ROTORUA)
Rotorua is a city known for its geothermal landscape and the Te Puia Te Po indigenous evening experience shows you just exactly why that is. The tour begins with a visit to Te Keketanga-a-Rangi (Heavenly Origins) – a space comprising of 12 monumental carvings that are as high as the sky. You will then be escorted to an authentic Maori welcome where you get to opportunity to partake in a haka performance, followed by a Maori Feast inspired by traditional indigenous dishes. After dinner, you are granted entry into the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley where you can see first-hand the awe-inspiring Pohutu geyser, a spectacle like no other. We snuck in two glasses of wine as we admired the natural wonder, which was not technically allowed but … #weDoWhatWeWant
Te Puia Te Po Indigenous Evening Experience (Adult NZD: $117)
7. WAIKITE VALLEY THERMAL POOLS SPRINGS n SPA / (ROTORUA)
We highly suggest you hit the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Springs n Spa. For $16.50 a person, you get an all day access pass to experience “The Living Waters,” which is locally sourced water from the Te Manaroa Spring, New Zealand’s largest 100% pure geothermal water source. The water from this spring is directly funneled into the spa’s main Settlers Pool (35-38 degrees Celsius), the Sit n’ Soak pool (38-40 degrees Celsius) and the Tranquil Garden and Pergola pools for an incredibly relaxing geothermal experience. And for an additional $3.50 a person, you can purchase your very own private pool at check in, which we did of course … because why not? Here you get to control the pool’s temperature while enjoying the lush scenery and geothermal activity of your surroundings.
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Pricing (Adult NZD: $16.50 / Child: $9 / Under 5 years old: $3)
8. SKYLINE GONDOLA & LUGE ROTORUA / (ROTORUA)
Fun for all ages, the Skyline Luge Rotorua is a thrilling, exhilarating ride you won’t want to miss. To get there, take the Skyline Gondola to the top of the complex. We suggest buying a gondola / luge combo pass since you’ll get more bang for your buck. We did the Gondola & 5 Luge Ride combo for $59 and were super pleased with our purchase. Once you reach the top of the complex and exit the gondola, 3 exciting Luge Tracks await you: Scenic, Intermediate, and Advanced. These fast paced tracks take you through Skyline’s very own Redwood Forest where you’ll hit sharp dips, bends, and tunnels as you take in the breathtaking views of the lake and city. Our eyes were on sensory overload, we were torn between looking at the road and looking at the view … you’ll have the same dilemma when choosing the track that’s best for you!
Skyline Gondola (Adult NZD: $30 / Child: $15)
Gondola + 1 Luge Ride (Adult NZD: $44 / Child: $29)
Gondola + 3 Luge Rides (Adult NZD: $50 / Child: $40)
Gondola + 5 Luge Rides (Adult NZD: $59 / Child: $49)
9. STRATOSFARE ROTORUA / (ROTORUA)
Lucky for you, if you took our advice for Tip #8, then you’re already at your next destination to begin enjoying the culinary wonders of Stratosfare Rotorua. Located on Mt. Ngongotaha, this was easily the fanciest buffet we had ever seen (putting Vegas buffets to shame). Good thing we wore jeans and a t-shirt #realClassy
The Stratosfare provides you with an incredible array of freshly prepared locally sourced seafood, meat and produce. They pride themselves on food excellence, which is why they’ve won the Beef and Lamb award two years in a row. Sitting high above Rotorua, this restaurant provides the perfect location for enjoying a hand-crafted drink, as you are taken on a gastronomic food journey, with 180-degree panoramic views of Lake Rotorua and its beautiful city.
Stratosfare Lunch + Skyline Gondola (Adult NZD: $57 / Child: $35)
Stratosfare Dinner + Skyline Gondola (Adult NZD: $69 / Child: $45)
10. TAUPO TANDEM SKYDIVING / (TAUPO)
New Zealand is known as the “Adventure Capital of the World” and we now see why. Between bungee jumping, hundred-foot sky swings, hang gliding, and so much more … New Zealand overwhelms its adventure seekers with plenty of options to choose from. At the top of our list however is Taupo Tandem Skydiving (New Zealand’s original sky diving company). Prices range from $199 (9,000 foot jump) to $359 (15,000 foot jump) with alternate options in between. You’ll experience exhilaration like you’ve never felt before, as you fall 200 kilometers (124 miles!) per hour and see: jaw dropping views of the snowcapped volcanoes below your feet, the beauty of the Central Plateau on the horizon, and the ice blue waters of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a free-fall you’d wish would never end!
9,000 - Foot Tandem Jump (Adult NZD: $199)
12,000 - Foot Tandem Jump (Adult NZD: $279)
15,000 - Foot Tandem Jump (Adult NZD: $359)