Sometimes, the best things for travellers to do are free. And with that in mind, STA Travel has created your itinerary of the best free things to do in New Zealand.
If you’re looking for dramatic mountains topped with snow, lakes bluer than any you’ve ever seen and peaks that’ll literally take your breath away, then New Zealand is for you. Throw in mesmerising natural wonders from volcanos, to hot pools and all that come in between, unique sights, great people and beautiful hikes... New Zealand is your go-to!
The best part? It’s all free. This means you can visit and experience your faves as much as you like!
With so much to see and do in across New Zealand’s lands, here’s a pick of the bunch.
The Best Free Things To Do in New Zealand
1. Fiordland’s Waterfalls
DO go chasing waterfalls. This majestical sight captures the heart and soul of New Zealand’s natural awe. Some of the most beautiful sights not only in New Zealand, but in the world will be found in the Fiordland National Park, so be sure to check it out if you get the chance!
2. Roy’s Peak / Wanaka
This half day walk is a #NZMustDo. It will give you some of the most insta-worthy views of Wanaka, the lake and Southern Alps. Whilst you're here, reflect on Wanaka’s Blue Pools (some of the bluest water the world has to offer) and then don’t exercise for the remainder of your trip... this walk is a toughy, but is 10/10 worth it. Seriously. Google the Peak and check out the views.
3. Hike an Active Volcano
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a challenging and fun one-day hike through Tongariro National Park, and also (just casually) a dual World Heritage listed site. The backdrop for much of the walk is the striking Lake Taupo, and here you’ll see lava flows, an active crater, stream vents, emerald coloured lakes and magnificent views - making this an epic walk to remember. The hike includes Mount Doom – Lord of the Rings bragging rights anyone?
4. D.I.Y. Hot pools
Want to experience the therapeutic benefits of New Zealand’s thermal waters without the costs of a fancy spa resort? Hot Water Beach in The Coromandel is a bath. Literally. Natural thermal springs run under the sand between the high- and low- tide mark and you can dig yourself the hot pool of your dreams, and spade hire is available from the café... they’ve thought of everything.
5. Glow Worms!
Ruakuri Natural Tunnel Walk is a free alternative to the cave rafting which most tourists are dishing their money on. Once nightfall hits, this path comes alive with glow worms. The walk itself takes about 40 minutes to loop around back to the car park and boy is it one to remember! The best time to visit is in the pitch black so... torches are essential.
If you're heading to Waitomo then paying for a trip into Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms is highly recommended.
6. Stargaze in Canterbury
Calling all stargazers – you do not want to miss this!! Covering much of the Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie region is an International Dark Sky Reserve – the Southern Hemisphere’s sole reserve of its kind and one of only eight in the world – okay, WOW. This stargazing experience is honestly second to none. The area is proven through rather extensive testing to have the darkest and most spectacular night skies in New Zealand and the highest number of clear sky nights. Go as far as downloading an app to identify constellations such as Matariki and the Southern Cross for endless fun.
Check out the best stargazing locations in New Zealand and Australia.
7. Aoraki/Mt Cook
This is New Zealand’s highest peak and possibly the most insanely picturesque parts of the country. There’s beautiful (and easy) walks all through the park, which neighbours a freaking glacier and is just a mass of lakes, greenery, rapids, streams and some not-so-stable it really cool bridges that are suspended by wire. Yep.
8. Hokitika Gorge
This will have your friends saying, ‘yeah right, there is no way you haven’t enhanced the photo with a filter’. But, this is one of those #nofilter places. The vivid turquoise waters are bordered by lush greens that are ready to make any photographer’s camera flutter.
9. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Te Papa is a great place to start if you’re interested in gaining some knowledge into the history of New Zealand. Learn about the culture, the history, some of the amazing landmarks and enjoy
10. Queenstown Hill Time Walk
This 500 meter climb to the summit of Te Tapu-nui is nothing short of rewarding. As the name suggest, the walk is built to show the past, present and future of Queenstown and the area around Lake Wakatipu. The scenic walk is unforgettable to say the least. Once at the top, why not take some time to enjoy a little picnic on the shore of the small mountain lake before descending.
Basically, if you opt to check out these spots, you’ll be fitter than ever, have some of the most vibrant visuals forever locked away in your memory, will come away with some serious knowledge of the culture and history and will meet some absolute legends along the way... all without spending a buck!!
Guest Blog by statravel.com.au - images provided by author.
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