New Zealand journey information: What's new in New Zealand now that borders are open


New Zealand, it has been some time. Too lengthy, actually. The COVID-19 pandemic reduce us off from one among our closest neighbours, one among our dearest pals, and we missed it.

The Land of the Long White Cloud simply has a lot to supply travellers, from white-knuckle journey to a incredible meals and wine scene, from world-beating points of interest to immersive cultural experiences. And in fact, all of this stuff continued to exist in New Zealand regardless of our absence, and in lots of cases they continued to develop.

There’s been so much happening in New Zealand in the previous couple of years. New inns. New points of interest. New experiences. If you are planning to go again throughout the ditch after an enforced absence, these are the perfect of New Zealand’s current additions.


Hotel Britomart, Auckland, New Zealand 

Hotel Britomart, Auckland.  Photo: Patrick Reynolds

New Zealand’s lodging suppliers have been undeterred by the pandemic and the closure of worldwide borders, with loads of thrilling new lodge openings happening since Australians had been final round (that’s, discounting our transient “bubble” association with our Kiwi neighbours).

In Auckland, the spotlight of the current arrivals is definitely the Voco Auckland City Centre (, with 201 good rooms and suites within the coronary heart of the town. The lodge additionally boasts Auckland’s highest rooftop bar, in Bar Albert, and Mozzarella & Co, a restaurant that does a la carte pizza and pasta.

Elsewhere within the metropolis, the Hotel Britomart ( is New Zealand’s first “Five Green Star” lodge – an area design classification for eco-friendly buildings – whereas the QT Auckland ( is a daring new addition to the town panorama. And remember The Convent Hotel (, a boutique property that is set, as you could think about, in an previous convent, with 22 stunning suites, and an Italian-leaning bar and restaurant referred to as Ada that may be a vacation spot in itself.

But, as they are saying, there’s extra. In Wellington, Naumi Studio Hotel ( opened in late 2020, and is about in a heritage constructing with fantastically designed rooms. Also within the Kiwi capital, there’s Pipinui Point (, a luxurious lodge perched on a towering, 250-metre-high cliff simply exterior the town.

And then let’s flip our consideration to the South Island. Begin on the prime, in Nelson, the place Pihopa Retreat (, which opened in mid-2021, affords six luxurious suites in beautiful surrounds. Nearby in Marlborough wine nation, 14th Lane Urban Hotel ( opened in late 2020, providing luxurious lodging in what was as soon as a nightclub in central Blenheim.

In Christchurch, in the meantime, every of the 5 flooring on the new Muse Art Hotel ( has been assigned to a special native artist, giving the property an actual level of distinction, in addition to a neighborhood connection. The new design lodge, The Observatory (, additionally brings an thrilling lodging choice to the historic Arts Centre district.

There have been loads of openings down in ski nation too. In Queenstown, there’s The Carlin (, New Zealand’s first six-star lodge (it is a factor, apparently), and the city’s first seven-storey constructing (additionally a factor). This is one luxurious property. In close by Wanaka, these chasing new properties might strive Cross Hill Lodge and Domes (, a glamping hideaway on the lakefront, or Mt Isthmus (, an unimaginable luxurious villa sitting on a 7000-acre station overlooking the lake.

And lastly to the far south, in Dunedin, the place Fable ( opened in mid-2020, and marks a whole revamp of a Victorian-era lodge as soon as often known as Wains; there’s additionally Ebb Dunedin (, a contemporary boutique property.


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The Lake Dunstan Trail. Photo: Miles Holden/Tourism New Zealand

New Zealand has all the time supplied a number of the best snowboarding and the perfect white-knuckle adventures on this planet, and nothing has modified there. In truth, it is solely improved.

Exhibit A must be the Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp (, a brand new hub for all issues loopy and adventurous within the South Island, an outfit that may facilitate all the things from heli-skiing to snow-shoeing to browsing to glacier trekking to tenting out below the celebrities in the midst of the wilderness. The base camp itself is kind of pretty, too.

Nearby in Queenstown, adventurers ought to try the Coronet Loop Trail (, a 50km backcountry observe round Coronet Peak, which opened in March this 12 months and is already attracting loads of hikers and mountain-bikers eager to sort out terrain that is by no means beforehand been explored. Over the move in Wanaka, 4WD specialists Ridgeline Adventures ( have added a brand new expertise, the Dingleburn Safari, a 4WD journey and stroll that explores the personal, high-country Dingleburn Station.

There are a couple of extra new biking trails to take a look at within the South Island, too: the 55km Kawatiri Trail (, which is opening progressively over the course of this 12 months, on the west coast from Westport to Charleston; and the Lake Dunstan Trail (, a very spectacular 55km pathway that hugs the cliffsides above the titular Otago lake, and ought to be on any eager adventurer’s hit listing.

There’s additionally loads of motion to whiten your knuckles within the North Island, too. In Auckland, climb aboard a jet-ski and revel in a guided tour of Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf with the brand new Sea Auckland Jet Ski Tours (, which opened in November final 12 months. A bit of additional south in Rotorua, in the meantime, Skyline Rotorua ( – a family-friendly journey centre on the prime of a mountain overlooking the city – added three new luge tracks in 2021, rising the full there to 5. The new tracks took 4 years to finish, and have a number of corkscrew turns, metropolis views, and 4 tunnels.

In stunning Lake Taupo, Taxicat Adventures ( has launched excursions to the Western Bays facet of the lake, which was beforehand untouched by tourism operators – and in reality, nonetheless the one method to entry this space is by boat. On this family-friendly afternoon tour, passengers will see waterfalls tumbling into the lake, towering cliffs that stand 100 metres above sandy bays, and revel in a picnic whereas bobbing on the pristine waters of Te Papa bay.


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Geysers by Night at Te Puia. 

The Kiwis have been busy. Not content material to simply sit out the pandemic and see how issues go, they have been throwing open the doorways to new vacationer points of interest all through the nation. Beginning in Northland, above Auckland, we’ve got the Hundertwasser Art Centre (, in Whangarei, a novel and attention-grabbing constructing that homes the biggest assortment of Austrian artist and architect Friedenreich Hundertwasser’s work exterior Vienna – an ideal complement to close by Kawakawa’s iconic public rest room block, designed by Hundertwasser. Also in Northland, Hanmer Springs (, an intensive array of pure hot-spring swimming pools, has undergone a multi-million-dollar redevelopment, and has loads to supply guests of all ages.

Moving right down to Rotorua, there are many new points of interest to take a look at. Begin with the Tamaki Maori Village (, which unveiled an intensive improve and some new experiences in May this 12 months. The spotlight is the brand new night expertise, a four-hour immersion into Maori tradition, which incorporates storytelling within the village and surrounding forest, and a four-course meal, with a conventional hangi.

Also in Rotorua, there is a new expertise on supply on the Te Puia ( geothermal space: Geysers by Night. Starting at nightfall and armed with a torch, guests are escorted via the park’s 3km of illuminated trails by skilled guides who share the historical past and the tales of the valley, earlier than arriving on the world-famous Pohutu Geyser. This is the primary time the geyser has been capable of be considered at night time, lit by floodlights, and it is a tremendous factor to see.

Moving to the South Island, there’s nonetheless loads that is shiny and new. Begin with Ride from the Sky (, an expertise that is solely been supplied from January this 12 months, and an unimaginable method to see the Southern Lakes space. You start in Queenstown, with a scenic flight throughout Lake Wakatipu, earlier than leaping on a motorcycle and driving 32km, traversing rolling hills on a path from Von Hill to Walter Peak, after which settling down on the Walter Peak Homestead for a scrumptious barbecue lunch. The day ends with a cruise again to Queenstown aboard the TSS Earnslaw steamship.

Also within the South Island, there is a new wellness providing within the city of Methven, about an hour west of Christchurch: Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa (, which opened in late 2021. The advanced affords a community of interconnected swimming pools, all with beautiful views of the Southern Alps. There are family-friendly areas, and in addition adults-only swimming pools, for the final word rest. Enjoy a poolside canape and a drink when you’re there.


You’re by no means going to be in need of meal in New Zealand. This is a rustic that has all the time completed meals effectively, from swish fine-diners to nation bakeries to cafes that do a high-quality flat white (although do not get the locals began on who invented these). Since borders closed in early 2022 there have been loads of additions to the New Zealand food and drinks scene, from Auckland all the best way right down to Dunedin.

In the previous, be sure you try Parade (, a Ponsonby stalwart that has a brand new location, an American-influenced diner that now has a giant, sunny backyard house, and a liquor license, which implies you possibly can wash down the tasty burgers right here with a cocktail or a craft beer. Another notable addition to the Auckland scene is The Bridgman (, a schmick bar and bistro in Mt Eden. The deal right here is pub grub made fancy, with nice drinks to match.

There’s additionally kingi (, a sustainable, moral seafood restaurant in Britomart. And do not miss Florets (, a cult bakery in Grey Lynn recognized for the perfect sourdough sandwiches on the town.

We flip now to Wellington, lengthy New Zealand’s culinary hub, the place there have in fact been loads of new openings, even in powerful, COVID-affected occasions. One of essentially the most thrilling is definitely Mabel’s (, a restaurant whose roots date again to 1978, when Burmese migrant Aunty Mabel opened The Monsoon, one among New Zealand’s first Burmese eating places. The trendy iteration, run by Mabel’s granddaughter Marler, will take you straight to Myanmar.

Also new to Wellington, there’s Koji (, a contemporary, Asian-fusion fine-diner, and Lola Rouge (, set within the new Naumi Studio lodge, which serves high-end pan-Asian delicacies. And for these after a drink, there’s now Southward Distilling (, the place you possibly can mix your individual gin and hold the bottle, and The Beer Engine (, New Zealand’s first small-batch, contract brewery, with an incredible taproom.

Down within the South Island there’s additionally loads happening. In Christchurch, try Hali (, the extra relaxed sibling to star British chef Simon Levy’s fine-diner Inati. For drinkers, name into Wilko (, a basic “dive bar”, although one which has craft beer, area of interest spirits and pure wine. There’s additionally Londo (, a wine bar with a give attention to small plates of seasonal, native produce.

Heading additional south, in Wanaka, Arc ( has been added to the native scene – it is a good brunch and tapas joint with a powerful wine listing. And in Dunedin, pay a go to to Steamer Basin (, a cracking microbrewery set in a disused industrial house on the waterfront, and Ebb Café (, a part of the Ebb Hotel, the right spot for an off-the-cuff breakfast or lunch.



New Zealand has a surfeit of luxurious lodges which have redefined the best way the nation is skilled, and the perfect of them would possibly simply be Matakauri. Perched on a hillside excessive above Lake Wakatipu, exterior Queenstown, Matakauri is the luxurious you are on the lookout for, the place you possibly can calm down in your stunning room, go to the spa, dine on the restaurant, play golf, discover native wineries, and even take a helicopter flight over Milford Sound. See 


There’s by no means been a scarcity of spectacular fine-dining eating places in New Zealand both, and it is heartening to seek out that one among our favourites, Hiakai in Wellington, has survived the struggles of the pandemic. Hiakai is helmed by chef Monique Fiso, who takes in components of Maori delicacies – components and cooking methods – to present diners a real style of New Zealand. Be positive to guide forward, as this 30-seater is eternally widespread. See 


For eager hikers, that is bucket-list stuff: the Routeburn Track, one among New Zealand’s community of “Great Walks”, a 33-kilometre path that meanders via a number of the South Island’s most spectacular alpine surroundings. This is usually a three-day hike, from Routeburn Shelter, close to Queenstown, to the Divide, close to Lake Fergus, with well-equipped huts to remain in alongside the best way. See 


A visit to New Zealand is not full with out a deep-dive into Maori tradition, with out doing one thing immersive, one thing instructional, one thing enjoyable. And that is the place Whakarewarewa, a “marae”, or conventional Maori gathering place, simply exterior Rotorua has all the time excelled. At this “living village” friends can study Maori tradition, plus hear the historical past of the land, and take a look at a couple of of the geothermal points of interest that the world is thought for. See 


Our closing previous favorite is a complete city, Wanaka, within the South Island. Wanaka is all the things that is nice about close by Queenstown, solely on a smaller scale: it is a hub for snow sports activities and different journey actions, it enjoys a wonderful location proper by a lake, there is a top-notch meals and wine scene, and that laidback life-style that New Zealand does so effectively. What’s to not love? See