Land, sea and air: Four spectacular experiences to make the most of your summer

The Christmas holidays may be a fast-fading memory, but summer is definitely not over in Aotearoa yet - there's still time to do something new around New Zealand and make the most of the longer days and warm nights.

Over the last couple of years, many Kiwis have taken the opportunity to explore their own backyard, tick off bucket list destinations and activities they'd been meaning to get to.

Among them were members of Newshub's team who were challenged by 100% Pure New Zealand to visit four popular holiday destinations around Aotearoa and do something new to unlock the best summer ever. 

Here's how they went.

1. Kayaking in Milford Sound

Newshub's Verticals Editor Daniel Rutledge headed to Fiordland to go sea kayaking in Milford Sound with Rosco's Milford Kayaks

Arguably the country's most scenic region, here he found glaciers and rainwater plummeting off towering, rainforest-clad cliffs as water fell into the sea below.

Paddling around the fiord on a kayak is an ideal way to take in the area's amazingly spectacular views, as well as getting you up close and personal with seals, dolphins and of course, those breath-taking, thundering waterfalls.

"I'm ashamed to say it took me over 40 years of living in New Zealand before I finally visited Fiordland for the first time. I can't overstate how silly that is and now I'm telling all my mates to stop putting it off like I did and just get there," said Rutledge.

Milford Sound Roscos Milford Kayaks.
Milford Sound Roscos Milford Kayaks. Photo credit: Newshub

"The place has an other-worldly feel that you really can't appreciate until you experience it in person. Milford Sound is unbelievably stunning and sea kayaking is the closest to the water you can be while exploring it.

"I love my coffee as much as anyone, but having a glacier waterfall hit you in the face in the morning? It's the best way ever to wake up!"

The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is fantastic with gorgeous, picturesque views. Even better is being driven in a Tesla with Envy Experiences, making the trip even more relaxing and luxurious with a friendly, informative driver who knows all the best places to stop along the way. Just look out for those cheeky kea!

2. Glass Bottom Boat tour in Whitianga

Our Online Entertainment Editor Monika Barton went up to the Coromandel to go on a Glass Bottom Boat in Whitianga.

This is a great way to explore the stunning Coromandel coastline and the Te Whanganui-A-Hei marine reserve, including Cathedral Cove, sheer cliff faces, towering pinnacles, incredible rock formations and sea caves.

But the glass-bottom boat is what makes this tour unique - you're not just enjoying the landscape's magnificent views, you're also exploring an underwater wonderland rich in fascinating marine life and biodiversity, all without getting wet.

"I've been to the Coromandel loads of times, but never spent a couple of hours cruising over its sparkling blue waters on a glass-bottom boat. That makes for a pretty perfect afternoon," said Barton.

Coromandel Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga.
Coromandel Glass Bottom Boat Whitianga. Photo credit: Newshub

"The tour guide and skipper were super lovely, friendly and knowledgeable, chiming in with interesting facts and welcoming questions from the group. I was delighted when the glass-bottom floor was revealed and the minute we hit the marine reserve we were treated to an incredible view of the seafloor and all its very tame inhabitants. Checking out the sea caves and getting up close to the rock formation at Cathedral Cove gave me an amazing look into the Coromandel I've never had before. 

"Don't forget to bring your togs - you'll definitely want to take up the opportunity to jump in and have a quick snorkel with the fish before heading back to the mainland!"

3. Whale watching flight in Kaikōura

Daniel Rutledge also got to go to Canterbury to experience a whale watching flight in Kaikōura with Wings Over Whales.

The picturesque coastal town sits between the rugged mountains of the Kaikōura Ranges and the vast Kaikōura Canyon in the Pacific Ocean, which reaches depths of around 2000m.

"Kaikōura is such a cool place for a summer holiday, especially if you love delicious fresh seafood and amazing sea creatures. Thanks to a super deep ocean trench being close to the shore, you don't have to travel far off-land to see incredible, massive whales," said Rutledge.

Kaikōura Wings Over Whales.
Kaikōura Wings Over Whales. Photo credit: Newshub

This unique geography is the perfect environment for an extraordinary array of marine mammal life - most famously, for whales, with a sperm whale population living in the area all year round.

"I've never done any of the whale-based tourist activities in Kaikōura before. It's fun to hang out and watch the New Zealand fur seal colonies in the area, it's awesome to swim with the dolphins and check out some albatross; but people travel from all over the world to Kaikōura for the whales for good reason. Every Kiwi should make a point of doing this themselves for it is truly incredible."

4. EBiking in Wellington

Technology Editor Mike Kilpatrick made the rubber hit the road in Wellington with an eBike tour of the city with Switched On Bikes.

Rated as the number one outdoor activity in Wellington by TripAdvisor users, this is a brilliant way to explore the Capital's beautiful bays and waterfront with the eBike's assistance taking the sting out of the steeper uphill roads.

There are options for super fit cycling experts, casual first-timers and everyone in-between, with informative, entertaining personal guides to teach you about the city's history and point out all the important highlights along the way.

"I've spent a fair amount of time in Wellington in the past, but it's never been quite as much fun or as rewarding as my recent trip touring around the city on an eBike. What a way to spend a beautiful summer's day," said Kilpatrick.

Wellington Switched On Bikes.
Wellington Switched On Bikes. Photo credit: Newshub

"I highly recommend Switched On Bikes. The staff were incredibly helpful and made sure that the bike was perfectly suited for me before letting me head off on my four-hour jaunt.

"The pedal assist bike I used proved perfect for the flat cycle paths around the Wellington waterfront, as well as zipping up Mt Victoria later in my tour. You even get a secure lock so you can stop at one of the many cafes on your chosen route for a coffee and a well-earned break."

This article was created for 100% Pure New Zealand.

For more summer deals and travel inspiration, visit 100% Pure New Zealand.

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