This relatively small and isolated country is home to a treasure trove of surprises, many of which you can’t find anywhere else on earth. Whether you’re planning to swing by The Land of the Long White Cloud on your own or on one of the New Zealand guided tours, be sure to get these on your itinerary because you’ll never find them back home.
- Spot a kiwi bird. This cute little bird is the national symbol of New Zealand, but unfortunately, they are critically endangered, though there are some tireless efforts going on to help save the flightless land-dwelling creature. If you have time, drop into one of the reserves to check out the breeding programs or spend some time volunteering with the conservation initiatives.
- Learn about Maori culture. The customs and traditions of the Maori people on New Zealand go back more than a thousand years when they arrived on dugout canoes from their ancestral homeland. There have been efforts in recent years to stop the language from dying out. There are few things as powerful and intense as watching the haka war dance and chant.
- Look up at the stars in the world’s largest dark-sky preserve. Dark-sky preserves are relatively new and set up in zones that offer extraordinary stargazing opportunities. Expect them to have little to no light pollution and staggeringly good views of the Milky Way. Okay, so they do have DSPs in other countries, but New Zealand’s Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve is the largest