New Zealand is cracking open its borders after a long year of isolation, allowing lucky Aussies to enjoy all the country has to offer.
This two-way trans-Tasman bubble means there’s no need to quarantine on either end of your journey, so if you’re looking for a change of scenery, then New Zealand has it in spades.
And as Australia is the only country allowed in, if there was ever a time to jump across the ditch and visit your Kiwi neighbours without the usual crowds, it’s now! We know it won’t take much convincing, but read on to discover five fantastic reasons to visit New Zealand and make your next overseas getaway one to remember.
1. To be blown away by Milford Sound
If we’re talking scenery that puts New Zealand on the tip of everyone’s tongues when asked “where in the world do you want to visit most”, Milford Sound is at the top of the list. Blue water tumbles into the Tasman Sea, dozens of waterfalls spill from the surrounding cliffs and bottlenose dolphins mingle with passing boats. Covered in a blanket of mist, the scene here is so surreal it feels almost otherworldly. But such beauty comes with a price – the Milford Sound usually receives around a million visitors each year. Not this year, though! This year, it’s all yours.
2. To taste world-class wine among stunning scenery
No doubt you’ve picked up a bottle or two of Otago wine in your time, but there’s nothing quite like trying it at the source. Some of the world’s best Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay are produced in this humble cool-climate region, and no visit would be complete without stopping by a winery. Swing by a local family-run vineyard to learn about the art and science behind producing award-winning wine. But it is New Zealand, after all, so as well as enjoying delicious sips of the local vino, you’ll soak in absolutely spectacular views while you’re at it.
3. To discover the country’s best on two wheels
Move over Amsterdam! If there was ever a place that was truly built for cyclists, it’s New Zealand. The country welcomes two-wheeled adventurers with open arms, and the Rail Trail route through Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s best. Not only is the ride made pleasant by excellent trailside facilities, the legendary scenery is sure to stop you in your tracks. Venture from Queenstown, a paradise for thrill seekers, then pedal past old gold-rush towns, meandering rivers and striking plains. Let your bicycle broaden your horizons, offering access to secluded spots that can’t be reached by car.
4. To show the kids an amazing time
A playground for the young and young at heart, your kids will love New Zealand just as much as you do. After being cooped up inside for much of the last year, the whole family will delight in the wide-open spaces, fresh air and unforgettable moments that New Zealand has to offer. Kayak across the clear blue waters of Lake Wanaka, cycle through untouched countryside and seek out rare birdlife on Stewart Island, including the iconic kiwi (the bird kind, not the people kind!). With no dangerous creepy-crawlies, heaps of kid-friendly activities and a cuisine that’s pretty close to home, there’s few better places for a fun-packed family adventure.
5. To have the whole place to yourself
This little country of 4 million people sees almost as many international visitors each year, and this may be your only chance to explore it without the convoys of cruise ships and coaches. What’s left behind is the real New Zealand – full of friendly locals eager to welcome you back in. Don’t waste an hour queuing for a burger or a cup of coffee when you could be swimming, hiking, cycling, kayaking or just sitting back and taking it all in. So be sure to get there before the trans-Tasman bubble bursts and the rest of the world comes rushing back in!