Why New Zealand Is An Ideal Destination For Outdoor Activity
Mentioning the country of New Zealand often conjures up images of scenic mountain views, gorgeous lakes and vast expanses open, green land. So, naturally, the country is essentially a magnet for outdoorsy tourists! This is well known, but it’s still worthwhile to explore how New Zealand has maintained its reputation among outdoor enthusiasts, beyond its pure natural beauty. So in this piece we’ll look at some of the highlights, for hiking, camping, exploration, and some general recreation.
Picturesque Beaches & Islands Near The Big City
New Zealand is an island nation, so naturally some of its top destinations include beautiful beaches and islands ripe for exploration. Great Barrier Island, for example, is New Zealand’s fourth-largest island and contains multiple beaches ranging from lazy lagoons to surfing hot spots. It’s also only about 90km away from the city of Auckland, making it possible to go from the bustling urban jungle (where you may well be staying) to a scenic and relatively secluded area in short time. You won’t find much in the way of organized hiking trails there, but a long walk on the beach can certainly help you to get a few hours’ exercise.
If that’s not enough, West Coast beaches like Karekare, Muriwai, Piha and Bethell’s Beach are also within driving distance. At these destinations, black, volcanic sand beaches give way to big rocks and an active surf, with Piha Beach in particular a favorite among surfers. Visitors looking for a quieter experience can opt to go to Karekare, where you can actually find a few campgrounds to spend the night at if you like.
Hikes For Everyone
It just about goes without saying that this is an unrivaled country from a hiking perspective. The highlight of the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s “Great Walks” list, Milford Track, is the option to look nat first. The track promises outdoor adventure for everyone, and spans roughly 54 kilometres. Walking through Milford Track is a great way to view a rare combination of rain forests, river rapids and even mountains formed by glaciers eons ago. It’s accessible to both novice and experienced trekkers, and even offers guided tours for both.
Ultimately, the Milford Track is just one of many options around the country as well. There are some more involved hikes for which you need a certain level of experience and may need to be equipped for climbing. There are also some more leisurely walks that will only challenge you minimally, but will still expose you to magnificent scenery. So much of the country is walkable though that it pays to do some extensive research, if you’re in it for hiking. Your own personal taste should play a role in the hiking areas you prioritize.
A Vibrant Outdoor Sporting Culture
New Zealand’s reputation for outdoor activity includes leisure as well, in addition to hiking, camping, water sports, beach walks, and the like. For that reason we’ll also point out that the country’s sporting culture also offers great opportunities to enjoy some time outside, perhaps as you rest your legs from a few days on the trails. New Zealanders are known for their passion for rugby and cricket in particular, and they’re accustomed to seeing some of the best teams in the world in both. The country also has an active and widespread betting industry, which over time only adds excitement to the sporting scene. With many of the fans having placed bets online on outcomes, they’re invested in the action in more ways than one, and this can make the buzz around a given cricket or rugby match quite a lot of fun.
Considering all of this – the presence of world-class outdoor sports and the fans’ enthusiasm, not to mention some magnificent stadiums – sports can offer a great mix of recreation and a yet another excuse to spend time outdoors.
Relaxing With Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Finally, for those seeking another relaxing alternative to exploration and hiking, but not quite ready park themselves in stadiums to watch local rugby, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is also an option. The SUP scene in New Zealand is remarkable, with places like Rotorua, Whangmata, Poor Knights Islands, etc. all catering to people with interest in the hobby. It’s a great thing to try if you’ve never done it before, and if you have, you know it’s yet another way to get out and enjoy an area’s natural beauty – which, in New Zealand, is as good or bette than any other place in the world.