The BugForce took a backpacker bus from North Island's Auckland, wiggling its way down south through all the sights and cities to South Island's Queenstown - New Zealand's primary activity centre - doing the customary activities such as blackwater rafting in the Waitomo caves - which, by the way, means sitting on a rubber ring in freezing river water, way way underground - jet boating and bungee jumping.
We saw most of this new world's attractions during this three week backpack bus trip, from a Maori culture show to boiling our dinner potatoes in natural geothermal waters to panning for gold to gumboot throwing. But later the BugForce realised we had missed New Zealand's raison d'être in this high speed flurry of wacky experiences - hiking, or in wintertime, skiing.
is a country of exceptional and varied splendour, and the only way to
appreciate it properly is to travel on foot, taking time to let the
tranquility and grandeur sink in. This is a land really made for walking
in quiet contemplation, not for nutty adrenalinesports, though whatever
gets you off... But if you take the trouble to go there, hike the trails,
between bungee jumps.
New Zealand is a superb country for lunatic adrenalin activities and much loved by young travellers for that reason, but also has many miles of excellent beaches for more traditional sports such as kayaking, sailing, swimming, fishing, whale watching and more. Beaches on the North Island, such as the Bay of Islands, offer the warmest waters.
Auckland Photos, North Island
New Zealand tourism is easy, safe, inexpensive, English speaking, there's a lot of budget accommodation available and local people are relaxed and friendly.
Queenstown Photos, South Island
A little publicised fact regarding bungee jumping: if you're not particularly fit and/or young, you may have some trouble with your ankle tendons afterwards. You do, after all, throw your entire body weight onto your ankles, and the rope is not the only thing that stretches, though most bungee operators these days use a full body harness to more effectively support the hurtling flesh and bone.