Exploring New Zealand’s National Parks

Natures Retreat Exploring New Zealands National Parks

Utah couple celebrate a landmark birthday by hiking in New Zealand’s wildest natural playgrounds. Experience Punakaiki’s iconic pancake rocks and marvel at breathtaking alpine drives along a breathtaking alpine drive drive.

Experience New Zealand like never before on this unforgettable tour. Visit renowned eco retreats and interact with rare animal species that inhabit large tracts of open space.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand’s most celebrated national parks offers beautiful golden beaches and coastal forests lined with turquoise coves surrounded by pine forest. Abel Janszoon Tasman was an renowned Dutch seafarer renowned for exploring these waters; thus making Abel Tasman a truly tranquil yet adventurous experience for visitors alike.

Abel Tasman National Park’s most beloved attraction is its 60km (37 mile) Abel Tasman Coast Track, an epic three to five day tramping trek considered a Great Walk. If that’s too daunting a task for you, shorter sections of this track may also be explored or you can stay at one of several Department of Conservation (DOC) huts found throughout Abel Tasman. Be sure to book well in advance!

Kayak tours of Abel Tasman National Park provide another enjoyable means of exploration, allowing visitors to feel the sea-floor that has helped shape this national park. For an even more unique and unforgettable tour experience, take to the skies from Nelson Airport Heli-base on board a helicopter – it will give you a bird’s-eye view that won’t soon be forgotten! Alternatively, opt for snorkeling and diving experiences at Tonga Island Marine Reserve or Tonga Island Marine Sanctuary for unforgettable memories.


Akaroa sits atop a volcanic harbour and boasts many of the same activities found throughout New Zealand, from charming cafes and boutique galleries to stunning landscapes.

Experience fairy-tale like charm at The Giants House, an original garden and art experience with mosaic sculptures and water features designed by local artist Josie Martin – making this one of the top things to do in Akaroa for an afternoon trip or even overnight since there’s also a bed and breakfast attached.

Explore Akaroa on a guided tour that features a cruise around its harbor’s sea caves and volcanic cliffs, the International Antarctic Centre – including their Snow and Ice Experience, learning about Maori canoes such as waka (double-hulled Maori canoe) used for trade and travel; learning about double hulled canoes such as the double-hulled canoe used during trade travel as well as wine tasting with local producers! You will have plenty of opportunities throughout your tour to sample wines and cheeses produced locally!


Kaikoura boasts an enchanting rocky peninsula encircled by majestic snow-covered mountains that create an incomparable natural setting that never ceases to amaze visitors.

Marine mammal encounters abound here as well. Whale watching trips depart daily from here, and dusky and hector dolphins can often be found year-round. For an unforgettable seal colony encounter, join a 2.5-hour seal swimming tour; return hotel transport is included in this bucket-list-worthy experience!

Fyffe House, built out of whale vertebrae, is another must-see attraction in town and provides an intriguing insight into New Zealand history.

Rotorua is an exhilarating cultural center where traditional Maori culture still flourishes. Here, visitors can enjoy bubbling geysers and relaxing mud pools; immerse themselves in glowworm-filled caves; shop handmade art souvenirs including gold gilding pottery paintings or jewellery for yourself or as presents; as well as plenty of opportunities for shopping artisan goods like pottery, paintings or jewellery that is unique!


New Zealand vacations would not be complete without experiencing one or more of its stunning national parks, especially Tongariro National Park with its world-renowned hiking trails for all skill levels.

Nelson Lakes National Park provides a more tranquil option. Just an hour from Nelson, this compact park boasts numerous lakeside walks – such as the 15-minute Bellbird Walk at Lake Rotoiti Jetty or 1-hour return Brunner Peninsula Nature Walk, for day walkers; more serious trampers can traverse alpine lakes, tarns, honeydew beech forests that host tuneful tuis and bellbirds, all while enjoying scenic lakeside walks!

Nelson offers many popular activities, including visiting its many art galleries such as Suter Art Gallery or sampling its best wines by strolling through Moutere Valley on either a self-guided tour or joining one of their hop-on hop-off wine tours. Also worth seeing are Nelson Provincial Museum and World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars museums.

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park and Dark Sky Reserve, situated four hours northeast of Christchurch by road journey along Lake Pukaki and reaching it via breathtaking road journey, stands as an epitome of New Zealand’s alpine wilderness. Boasting stunning mountain landscapes dotted with glaciers, towering ice peaks, ski plane rides and hiking trails as well as home to New Zealand’s highest peak (Aoraki), as well as 19 other 3000m+ peaks and numerous alpine glaciers; its tiny Mount Cook Village provides ideal hiking experiences tucked into its base among mountains surrounded by rock peaks – ideal conditions for discovering this alpine wilderness experience!

There are a couple of great spots in the village for taking in the scenery and having lunch, including The Hermitage Hotel which often attracts large crowds but boasts incredible views, or head out on an unforgettable half day Glacier Kayak tour with local company Glacier Adventures. Additionally, Glacier National Park is famous for its spring lupins – introduced weeds which produce vivid purple blooms when exposed to sunlight – providing perfect Instagram photo opps!