As the new year draws closer, it’s time to make our new year resolutions and travelling, without a doubt, always ends up on that checklist. What better way to start planning for next year’s vacations than with these 12 amazing reasons to (finally) visit New Zealand in 2020.

1. LOOK TO THE STARS: The Pods at The Lindis, Southern Alps

Immerse yourself in nature by day and the sublime wonders of the Milky Way by night, snuggled in your private universe within the pristine Ahuriri Valley in New Zealand’s South Island.

TREND: Many new accommodations in New Zealand are now turning towards a more sustainable approach in hospitality. They include the Night Sky Cottage, Park Hyatt Auckland and Sherwood Queenstown.

2. CHILL OUT RESPONSIBLY: Splore Festival (21 – 23 February 2020)

Chill out on the beautiful shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park for three days of rocking good times. The boutique festival invites you to a weekend of arts and music on the ancestral land of the mana whenua, Ngāti Whanaunga and Ngāti Paoa. The themed eco-party encourages mindful partying and international guests are welcomed with a powhiri (Māori welcoming ceremony) every year.

3. LIVE LIKE THE LOCALS: Laidback farm-life experiences

Photo : https://ahikajourneys.com/

Meet the locals at home on a hosted farm experience with Ahika Journeys. Your hosts are experienced farmers, growers, producers, makers and creators who have lived, worked and cared for the land for generations. Relax with great wine and distillery tours, coastal adventures, premium food and laidback activities such as fishing during the day.

4. GIVE BACK: Blue penguin conservation, Otago Peninsula 

Tiny, cute and endangered – these little blue penguins are the stars of Kaitiaki Tautoko. It is an exclusive hands-on conservation experience where participants can embark on a guided tour to witness and learn about the protected native species from experienced guides.

DID YOU KNOW: New Zealand is the ‘penguin kingdom’ with more penguin species and more accessible opportunities to see them than anywhere else in the world.

5. SAIL BACK IN TIME: Waka Adventures Tairawhiti, Eastland

Experience Māori culture and the renaissance of ancient voyaging and navigation with master mariner Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp, who has sailed the Pacific Ocean many times. Sailing out of Gisborne on a traditional Māori Waka Hourua, you will learn first-hand the ancient art of wayfinding that lead to the discovery of Aotearoa New Zealand around 1,000 years ago.

TREND: Waka Adventures Tairawhiti embodies a new wave of authentic Maori culture products and experiences developing in New Zealand that combines travel with edutainment to provide newfound appreciation for Maori cultural heritage.

6. FIND SANCTUARY: Earth Energies NZ Sanctuary, Waikato

Photo : https://www.earthenergiessanctuary.com/

Rejuvenate your senses with a tranquil healing experience in this intimate countryside retreat overlooking the Hauraki Plains. On an organic farm, Earth Energies offers you a wellness journey like no other with serene sanctuary retreats and deep relaxation therapy sessions.

7. DISCOVER NEW TRAILS: Paparoa Great Walk, West Coast 

Open for hiking from 1 December 2019, the Paparoa Track is New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk – a multi-day trail through a spectacular alpine and coastal wilderness. The 55km track travels east-west across the Paparoa Range, taking you through alpine tops, limestone karst landscapes and thriving rainforests to provide breath-taking views.

COMING UP: Hump Ridge Track will open as New Zealand’s 11th Great Walk for the 2022 walking season.

8. ETHICAL EATING: Follow the Realness trail

In New Zealand’s land of abundance, you’ll never have to go far to source fresh and local produce. Adding to an extensive network of farmers’ markets, a newly-introduced website called The Realness allows diners to check out some of the best ethical and independent eating destinations in the world, bringing you an unmatched gastronomical experience.

9. REMARKABLE STAY: Park Hyatt Auckland

Opening early 2020 on Auckland’s downtown waterfront, the Park Hyatt Hotel is emerging with a unique design story based on deep collaboration between developers and the local Māori tribe, Ngati Whatua. The hotel’s ethos, exterior appearance and interior elements are inspired by the significance and abundant natural resources of New Zealand, offering expansive views across Wynyard Quarter's Lighter Basin and out to the Waitematā Harbour.

10. MARKING HISTORY: Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and The Endeavour, Auckland

13 September 2019 – 15 March 2020

Photo : https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/

Go back 250 years to first encounters between Māori and Pākehā (Europeans) during The Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand. While official events take place in late 2019 in the four regions where the two races met face to face (Bay of Islands, The Coromandel, Eastland and Marlborough), visitors will be able to learn more about the first onshore meetings between Māori and British, Tupaia’s relationships with Māori, and his role as cultural broker among other historical impacts.

11. MULTI-GEN NATURAL RELAXATION: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

Photo : https://www.newzealand.com/

Soak, slide or indulge naturally at Hanmer Springs, a popular all-ages family attraction and New Zealand’s largest alpine spa. Soak away your worries in naturally-heated mineral waters at five beautiful new bathing pools in a natural wooded riverside setting. Dive into the Conical Thrill tube and raft ride that launches you at 13.5m, traveling at high speed, dropping and climbing all the way to the finish. 

ON THE SIDE: Hanmer Springs also offers other attractions in the form of excellent wineries, thrilling jetboat rides and bungee-jumping activities.

12. CAMP OUT ON HOLY GROUND: Staydium Glamping at Eden Park

Cosy up for a romantic sleepover in New Zealand’s original Garden of Eden, otherwise known as Eden Park – the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby. Choose to watch either a rugby or cricket match in a well-appointed glamping dome overlooking the field or combine your stay with a ‘Haka on the Park’ behind-the-scenes experience and learn to do the famous pre-match activity on the celebrated turf.

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