Destinations · Things to Do · New Zealand · Culture
May 17, 2022 Words: Susan Hanson

5 for 5 in New Zealand

Top things to see and do in some of our favorite Kiwi ports.

Share:

New Zealand consistently ranks atop travelers’ must-visit list, and for good reason. This breathtaking country has it all: jagged, snow-capped peaks, jaw-dropping Milford Sound, supervolcanoes, pristine sandy beaches, living Māori culture and thriving arts communities—along with some of the world’s most innovative, sustainable cuisine and seriously good wines.

Seabourn heads beyond Auckland to several other Kiwi ports on both North Island and South Island. Here are five things to see and do in each.

Wellington (North Island)
Blessed with stunning natural wonders and sporting an infectious creative energy, the compact city affectionately known as “Welly” was just named “the coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet.

  1. Step inside a modern marae (meeting house) at Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s cutting-edge national museum that consistently ranks among the top in the world.
  2. Follow a walkway through the forest canopy at Otari-Wilton’s Bush, the only botanic gardens dedicated to New Zealand’s unique flora with more than 1,200 species on display.
  3. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, stopping to enjoy a gelato or relax with a gin cocktail on the lawn at popular St. Johns Bar.
  4. Meet sun bears, red pandas, meerkats, and other curious fauna at the interactive Wellington Zoo.
  5. Head to the charming village of Martinborough, where you can walk or cycle to more than 20 boutique vineyards.

Dunedin (South Island)
Wildly beautiful with rugged scenery and rare wildlife, Dunedin boasts a proud Scottish heritage and the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the Southern Hemisphere.

  1. Discover Dunedin’s rich literary history while following the Writers Walk through this UNESCO-designated City of Literature, giving a nod to the Robert Burns statue standing over the central Octagon.
  2. Explore Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle dating from 1871 and restored to its original Victorian grandeur.
  3. Meander through the sprawling Dunedin Botanic Gardens, resplendent with nearly 7,000 plant species displayed in a formal rose garden, Rhododendron Dell, and the elegant Edwardian Winter Garden glasshouse.
  4. Join an interactive tour of historic Speights Brewery to learn about its award-winning beers and ales, then sample a few in the new tasting room.
  5. Head to Pukekura at the end of the Otago Peninsula, home to colonies of little blue penguins—the world’s smallest—royal albatross, and Otaga shags with their chimney-pot type nests.

Christchurch (South Island)
Reborn after the earthquakes of 2011, the world’s newest city charms with an ever-changing urban landscape and creative, quirky edge—not to mention its breathtaking alpine backdrop and Canterbury wine region.

  1. Stroll through the botanic gardens in leafy Hagley Park, the heart of Christchurch since the 1850s.
  2. Visit the one-of-a-kind Transitional Cathedral—aka, the “Cardboard Cathedral”— constructed nearly entirely of cardboard to replace the Catholic church damaged during the 2011 earthquakes.
  3. Ride in a punt (flat-bottomed boat) along the lazy River Avon, or head to Mona Vale—a former homestead turned heritage gardens—for high tea in a lovely riverside setting.
  4. Spy the infamous kiwi bird, feed a Kunekune pig, and take part in a Māori haka or poi dance at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.
  5. Take a rafting trip along the gentle, Grade 2 rapids through the scenic Waiau River canyon.

Nelson (South Island)
One of the sunniest spots in Kiwiland and a haven for artists, this lively city invites with its many art galleries and studios, luxuriant Queens Gardens—and Abel Tasman National Park right at its doorstep.

  1. Get revved at the Nelson Classic Car Museum, Australasia’s largest private car collection of vintage automobiles.
  2. Watch master glassblowers in action at Hoglund Glass Studio, one of Nelson’s many galleries and art studios.
  3. Go tramping—New Zealanders term for hiking — in Abel Tasman National Park, trekking through native bush and along golden beach sand while admiring the impressive rock formations and wildlife.
  4. Take a spin along Nelson’s Craft Beer Cycle Trail and taste some of the local beers produced in New Zealand’s craft brewing capital.
  5. Head to Golden Bay and Te Waikoropupū Springs, the largest cold-water springs in the Southern Hemisphere renowned for the remarkable clarity of its waters.

Tauranga (North Island)
Gateway to the otherworldly geothermic landscape of Rotorua, this waterfront city lures with its buzzy streets and laneways lined with shops, pubs, and cafés—along with plentiful murals and public art installations.

  1. Cross the harbor bridge to Mount Maunganui, a laidback town boasting one of world’s top-ranked beaches. Trek to the summit of the extinct volcano—locals call it Mauao—for 360-degree views across the Bay of Plenty.
  2. Follow the forested trail to Kaiate Falls, a stunning waterfall with a series of cascades that tumble down into a swimming hole.
  3. Journey to Middle Earth—or rather, the Hobbiton Movie Set—where you can peek inside hobbit holes and even dress up as your favorite Lord of the Rings character.
  4. Head to Te Puia, a living Māori village situated in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, where you can experience their ancient culture and explore the reserve’s many hot pools, steaming vents, and erupting geysers.
  5. Hang out at The Strand, downtown Tauranga’s dynamic waterfront area and dining mecca with its popular tidal steps and bombing platform.

Ready for your Kiwi adventure? Seabourn offers an array of ultra-luxury New Zealand voyages to this fascinating region for you to experience this fascinating region.

Ready to set sail?

Consider these upcoming voyages:

16-Day Australia & New Zealand

DEPARTS: Sydney, Australia
ARRIVES: Auckland, New Zealand

from $8,499*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

16-Day New Zealand & Australia II

DEPARTS: Auckland, New Zealand
ARRIVES: Sydney, Australia

from $9,499*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

16-Day Australia & New Zealand

DEPARTS: Sydney, Australia
ARRIVES: Auckland, New Zealand

from $8,999*

Explore Itinerary

*Per Person, USD. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses are included. Additional terms apply.

Rock Formations on Wharariki Beach, New Zealand
Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand
Colorful Vineyard Marlborough area, New Zealand
Te Pākira Cultural Performance at Whakarewarewa, The Living Maori Village, Rotorua, New Zealand

RELATED ARTICLES

Click below to join our mailing list, which includes Current content, to find out about some of the world’s most unique destinations Subscribe