Two Trips in One! 11 Things to Do in New Zealand’s Natural Marvels via Fiji’s Tropical Beach Paradise

Two Trips in One! 11 Things to Do in New Zealand’s Natural Marvels via Fiji’s Tropical Beach Paradise

Travelling to New Zealand? Consider having a stopover in the island paradise of Fiji for a two-in-one, nature-inspired getaway!

Far away from the rest of the world, New Zealand evokes a sense of purity, mystery and thrill that you’ll find yourself lucky to experience. Home to just over 4.8 million people, this country in the Pacific Rim of Fire is the perfect place to discover off-the-beaten-path experiences. Whether it’s taking on the world’s largest rope swing or admiring the Earth’s cleanest lake, the variety of things to do in New Zealand will make you want to book a flight there right this second!

But before you do that, why not stop by at Fiji? Not only is it geographically convenient, it even gives you a chance to explore two stunning destinations on a single trip! Let’s look more closely on this list of things to do in New Zealand (and later, Fiji) for an epic two-in-one, nature-inspired holiday.

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It’s the ultimate two-in-one holiday you’ve been looking for — fly from Singapore to New Zealand via the tropical paradise of Fiji with Fiji Airways! 

Book your tickets for as low as S$865 (adult return economy tickets) from now until 12 Aug 2019, and travel by 10 May 2020.

Fly to New Zealand via Fiji from S$865

Auckland

Auckland is the largest city and former capital of New Zealand. For many years, it’s been voted as one of the most liveable cities in the world because of its relaxed atmosphere. Even so, you’ll find plenty of enthralling activities in Auckland great for your multi-destination trip.

Mount Eden

mount eden

Image credit: New Zealand Tourism

In Maori (the native language of New Zealand), Mount Eden is known as Maungawhau, and it stands as the highest natural point in Auckland. Easily accessible from anywhere in the city, this dormant volcano features a 50-metre crater considered by locals to be sacred (hence, restricted to the public). Nonetheless, you’re more than welcome to take photos in front of it!

mount eden

Image credit: Our Auckland

As of 2017, you can access the summit through a 10-minute walk from Mount Eden’s main gate. From the top, admire a 360° view of Auckland, and even the nearby Rangitoto Island on clear days. This top attraction in New Zealand also has a 22,000-square metre garden where you can enjoy waterfalls, rock formations and even rare New Zealand wildlife. Bet you didn’t expect that from New Zealand’s most populous city!

Mount Eden also used to house a traditional Maori village. If you’re interested in both nature and culture, why not explore beyond the usual trails surrounding Mount Eden’s famed crater? You might just spot the remains of the terraces and food storage pits used by these early New Zealand settlers!

Great Barrier Island

shore on great barrier island

Image credit: Auckland

Located 100 kilometres from central Auckland, the windy Great Barrier Island is the fourth largest island in New Zealand! It’s reachable through a 35-minute flight or a five-hour car-and-ferry trip from the city. But every minute will be well worth it when you’ve got a virtually untouched, undiscovered paradise waiting for you. Fun fact: There are no more than a thousand people living here!

kaitoke hot springs

Image credit: Great Barrier Island

At 285 square kilometres, Great Barrier Island has more than enough space for all kinds of nature-inspired activities. Try taking the multi-day Aotea Track, dip in the Kaitoke Hot Springs, and surf at Medlands Beach. As the island and its activities are mostly unregulated, make sure to take extra precautions regardless of your chosen activity. It’s also the best place for stargazing in New Zealand, even being designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary!

Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

waitakere ranges national park

Image credit: New Zealand Tourism

Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, a popular range 25 kilometres west of Auckland’s centre, is best known for its dramatic coastlines, as well as spectacular flora and fauna. Although its forested areas were recently closed to protect the disease-infected ancient kauri trees, most of the hills remain open to the public for exploring on foot. Doing so, you’ll discover the area’s pristine bushes, streams and waterfalls, including Karekare Falls. To make sure you don’t wander off the path, you may book a guided tour of the trails.

whatipu beach

Image credit: Gadfium

Below the western side of the ranges, you’ll come upon scenic black-sand surf beaches such as Whatipu and Muriwai. The latter is most notable for its cliff-top gannet colony which is simply majestic, to say the least. There’s also Piha Beach, which is home to the impressive 16-million year old Lion Rock. All of these are just a 40-minute drive from Auckland, too!

Christchurch

Did you know? Singapore is not the only place in the world that bears the title of “Garden City”! Located in South Island, the city of Christchurch boasts of popular attractions like Avon River and the award-winning Botanic Gardens, making it rightful of the title. Here are other sights to see in Christchurch for all you nature lovers! 

Sumner Beach

sumner beach

Image credit: Bayside Apartments

While Christchurch itself provides several green spaces to relax within its city centre, it also doesn’t disappoint in easily accessible natural wonders. One of them is Sumner Beach, ideal for when you just want to take in more of the New Zealand sun. That, you can only achieve by doing family-friendly activities like kite flying and surfing.

cave rock

Image credit: ghouldilocks85

Stretching 400 metres, Sumner Beach also features an esplanade great for cycling, jogging or walking your pet. Looking for more adventure? Make your way to the nearby Cave Rock, a rugged rock formation from where you can enjoy a refreshing view of the coast. It also offers wonderful opportunities for rock climbing and spelunking!

Orana Wildlife Park

orana wildlife park

Image credit: Orana Wildlife Park

Located at the outskirts of Christchurch, Orana Wildlife Park takes pride in being the only open-range zoo in New Zealand! It houses over 400 animals, including the only existing gorillas and orang utans in the country. Some of the animals are available for close encounters, like with giraffes and lions, where you’ll be inside a truck-mounted cage during feeding time. Of course, you can also meet a few kiwis which, in case you didn’t know, are New Zealand’s national animal!

Aside from being caring hosts to these lovable creatures, Orana Wildlife Park also engages in zoo-based breeding programmes targeted at endangered species, as well as recycling projects to help preserve the animals’ environment. On top of those, this top attraction in Christchurch allocates much of its resources into the education of visitors so that you too can participate in their initiatives. Just think about it, while you’re having a great time exploring the park, you’re also helping in the conservation of the animals and the environment! Doesn’t that just pump you up?

Mount Cook National Park

mount cook national park

Image credit: New Zealand Tourism

What’s a nature-inspired getaway in New Zealand without experiencing the country’s highest peaks? Mount Cook, or Aoraki, is part of the Southern Alps mountain range, which runs across the South Island of New Zealand. The 3,724-metre natural wonder is also the namesake of the national park it’s located in. Along with at least 20 other peaks, the park is considered one of the best climbing destinations in the Australasia region.

snow-covered slopes of mount cook

Image credit: Avenue

With both rocky and icy trails, the park offers plenty of opportunities to de-stress in rather adventurous ways. But fret not, you don’t need to have years of mountain-climbing experience to scale some of the peaks here! If you’re new to this kind of wilderness, you can take up the Tasman Glacier or Kea Point trails. Both can be trekked within 30 minutes each way, and offer views of enchanting glacier lakes.

Have more time to spare? Try traversing the 9-kilometre trail to Mueller Hut. It will take you about eight hours for a round trip, but the sights, especially of Mount Cook and Hooker Glacier, will definitely be worth the effort. At night time, it’s even better with the star-studded sky!

boat ride on an icy lake of mount cook national park

Image credit: Reach Coach

If you’re not much of a hiker, though, you can opt for a helicopter or ski plane tour of Mount Cook National Park. You’ll even land right in the snow! There are also boat trips, kayaking and relaxed walking tours including one that takes you through the fairytale-like forests in Mount Cook Village!

Wellington

Also located in North Island, Wellington is the official capital city of New Zealand. It’s also known for being the home of New Zealand’s biggest film and production houses, and most notably, the windiest city in the world! Here are some of the best things to do in New Zealand that you’ll find in this vibrant metropolis.

Zealandia

exotic bird in zealandia

Image credit: Buffy May

First up, Wellington’s most prized natural attraction, Zealandia — an internationally-acclaimed urban eco-sanctuary known to house many of New Zealand’s most extraordinary wildlife. Its most interesting feature is a predator-proof fence which was built in line with the sanctuary’s conservation objectives, but you don’t need to worry about that! At Zealandia, all you will think about is how lucky you are to be in the presence of rare or even formerly labelled-as-extinct feathered fellows, like the takahē, kākā and the kākāriki parrot.

The best way to enjoy Zealandia is through a guided group or private tour, so you don’t miss out on any fun and eye-opening details! You’ll be in the hands of well-trained and truly knowledgeable staff members who will make sure your experience transcends a typical wildlife park visit. Giving you insider info about the preservation of these stunning New Zealand wildlife is just one of them!

Wellington Botanic Garden

wellington botanic garden

Image credit: WellingtonNZ

After discovering amazing wildlife, learn more about New Zealand’s blossoming flora by visiting the Wellington Botanic Garden. Covering a total land area of 25 hectares, it’s been around for over 150 years! It features, among others, a protected native forest, a Victorian-style glasshouse and even a children’s play area. More importantly, you get to see some unique plant collections, including several of New Zealand’s oldest trees.

wellington botanic garden

Image credit: New Zealand Tourism

Wellington Botanic Garden also houses the award-winning Lady Norwood Rose Garden, a collection of more than 100 flowers beds each featuring a different variety of these dreamy flowering plants. If you aren’t busy being engrossed by the things you’ll learn while on the garden tours, you’ll most likely find yourself whipping out your camera every five seconds to capture all the beauty surrounding you. There are several ways to access the garden, such as riding the iconic Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay to enjoy gorgeous harbour views along the way!

Kapiti Island

Want more of New Zealand wildlife farther away from the city? Take a day or overnight trip to Kapiti Island! Spot endangered birds, some of which likely aren’t found in Zealandia, while taking a walking tour of this predator-free reserve. Apart from that, the island is home to New Zealand’s thriving marine life found in the Kapiti Marine Reserve. A little fun fact: The complete Maori name of Kapiti Island is Te Waewae-Kapiti-o-Tara-raua-ko-Rangitane. 

view of tasman sea from kapiti island

Image credit: Pipe42

Now, Kapiti Island is known to limit its number of visitors per day and you may only get here by booking a licensed tour. Most, if not all, of the tours include a 30-minute presentation at a specified centre on the island to help you learn about the nature reserve’s story. For the rest of your visit, you can make your way to the bird feeding station, hike up to the island’s peak for a panoramic view of Tasman Sea or take it easy with a picnic on one of the beaches.

Fiji

As you make your way to New Zealand (or back to Singapore), how ‘bout enjoying a sunny stopover in Fiji? It’ll surely give a nice, quirky contrast to your temperate New Zealand holiday. Notable for its picturesque tropical islands, clear blue waters and the “happiest people in the world”, this 333-island nation in the South Pacific is certainly worth a visit.

Sigatoka Town

sigatoka river

Image credit: Doron

If you’re going to be in Fiji for a short stay, the one thing you most definitely can’t miss doing is a visit to Sigatoka. This unspoilt town on Fiji’s largest island is home to the country’s first national park, the 650-hectare Sigatoka Sand Dunes. Located at the mouth of Sigatoka River, this tourist-friendly ecosystem is best enjoyed through a two-hour tour on foot, where you can witness ancient archaeological sites, among others.

While you’re in town, make your way to the 120-kilometre Sigatoka River. Here, you can get a glimpse of authentic Fijian culture through a guided jet boat tour. This lets you visit local villages on the banks of the river, and interact with Fijians (or Kaivitis) themselves!

South Sea Island

boats heading towards south sea island

Image credit: South Sea Cruises

No visit to Fiji is complete without a fabulous island-hopping tour. But, with only a short time in the country, which you should pick? Here’s what I’ll have to say: South Sea Island. Small yet unmistakably alluring, this unspoilt paradise in the Mamanuca Islands is just 30 minutes away from Port Denarau. If you’re really in full-on vacay mode, you can choose to spend your entire Fiji stopover on the island. Trust me, there’s more than enough things you can do to fill in your brief Fiji itinerary.

To give you an idea, the island has a semi-submersible coral viewer which you can hop on for a scenic tour of the island’s many coral reefs. Or, you can do it on your own through a snorkelling session. Depending on the cruise you book, you’re also free to tour the surrounding waters on a kayak, enjoy a relaxing island massage or go beach bumming!

2 Nights FREE Stopover in Fiji

Experiencing Fiji is made easier by Fiji Airways. When you fly from Singapore to New Zealand via Fiji, you can enjoy a free two-night stay at the Tanoa International Hotel!

Valid until 22 Dec 2019, this amazing perk applies to Fiji Airways return flights to New Zealand from Singapore. This includes return airport transfers and the option to upgrade to a first-class partner resort at special rates!

Fly to New Zealand via Fiji from S$865

*2 Night Free Stopover terms and conditions apply.

Doesn’t this sound like your kind of two-in-one getaway? Imagine experiencing New Zealand via Fiji — two world-class nature destinations — in just a single itinerary. The best part? You’re free to customise it any way you want!


Brought to you by Fiji Airways.

About Author

Joser Ferreras
Joser Ferreras

Joser is a researcher-turned-writer who likes to consider himself as a “modern-day Spartan” by taking his time and crafting his own adventures while travelling. Born and raised in the province, he has a natural liking for raw experiences and long, long walks on paved roads and rocky trails. Indoors, he's usually seen in front of his laptop, a.k.a. “Kenny”, managing social media pages, writing scripts and articles, or watching videos and reconnecting with friends.

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