If you’ve reached the latter part of your twenties, now is the perfect time to cross off some of New Zealand’s top travel must-dos. There’s no better way to welcome your 30’s than with the adventure of a lifetime – so make sure to add these 15 incredible experiences to your bucket list.
Do a multi-day hike at Milford Sound
The exquisite Milford Sound attracts people from the world over because of its diverse natural wonders and unmatched beauty. The area is surrounded by multi-day trails for experienced hikers and easy day walks for the less-experienced too. If you need a bit of inspiration, this handy guide will help you prepare for your visit.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Follow the New Zealand Cycle Trail
New Zealand is a place of Great Walks and Great Rides. The latter is a series of multi-day cycling routes that will take keen riders across various scenic points across the country. Highlights include the Great Taste Trail, Queen Charlotte Track, the Thermal by Bike Trail, and the Timber Trail.
Head on a Marlborough Sounds wine tour
The Marlborough Sounds is New Zealand’s biggest wine-growing region. Not only does it hold an enviable international reputation for its Sauvignon Blanc varietals, the area is also quite popular among visiting connoisseurs and everyday wine enthusiasts. A ferry trip from Wellington to the South Island is the usual gateway into this viticulture must-see.
Drive through New Zealand’s breathtaking mountain passes
The South Island is known for its sublime backdrops – and one of the best ways to experience this beauty in its finest form is by heading on a road trip. You’ll get to see a glacial lakes, alpine ranges, and stunning forestry as you make your way through some of the local mountain passes: your options include Arthur’s Pass, Haast Pass, Lewis Pass and Lindis Pass.
Watch the sunrise in Gisborne
If you’re well-versed in your New Zealand trivia, you’ll know that Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the morning sun. Catching a glimpse of the Gisborne sunrise calls for a bit of commitment: you’ll need to be up bright and early so you can head up the East Cape Lighthouse for the best views. If the trip sounds like too much of a mission, don’t fret – anywhere near the beach will make the early start worthwhile.
Watch the sunset on the West Coast
You’ve seen the sun come up on the East Coast, so why not venture further south to the West Coast region? Punakaiki Beach is best renowned for its Pancake Rocks, but it’s quite a good place to watch the sunset too. Just settle by the rocky headlands and watch as the dawn colours grace the skies as the sun tucks away into the Tasman Sea.
Experience some of the local quirks
New Zealand is home to some compelling traditions that you won’t find elsewhere. From gumboot throwing and sheep-shearing competitions to a selection of quirky landmarks and statues – there are plenty of colourful experiences around just waiting to pique everyone’s interests.
Swim with the dolphins in Akaroa
If you find yourself near Christchurch, the town of Akaroa is a fantastic place for a day trip. The town is known for its distinctive French settlement and its showcase of rare marine species like the Hector’s Dolphin. There are cruises and tours available for wildlife enthusiasts wanting to see these critters from up close.
Wellington takes pride in being New Zealand’s culture capital. A night out on Cuba Street will bring you plenty of live music to listen to – from the bars to the busking streets. Other downtown music venues to put on your radar include Meow and The Rogue and Vagabond.
Explore Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges
The Waitakere Ranges is one of the best places in the Auckland region to hike, cycle, or to bask at some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking waterfalls and majestically rugged coastlines. The regional parkland is located just a 45-minute drive from the city centre and boasts more than 16,000 hectares of native forest.
Go surfing in Raglan
Located just west of Hamilton, the Waikato town of Raglan is a must-visit for all surfers. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, there are various beaches to catch some epic swells, including Ngarunui, Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Ruapuke.
Kapowairua (aka Spirits Bay) is located on the northernmost area of New Zealand, near Kaitaia. The campsite operates on a first-come-first-serve basis and is surrounded by lush forests and pristine beaches. For those who want to get active, the campsite is right in the midst of the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway.
Try your hand at black water rafting in Waitomo
Waitomo is best renowned as a caving destination, but it’s got a handful of adventurous experiences on offer. Black water rafting is a good way for thrill seekers to relish the glowworm-lit limestone formations as they embark on an epic journey they will remember for years to come.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.