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Ten things to see in New Zealand in 2017

Ten things to see in New Zealand in 2017

There are few places which compare with New Zealand when it comes to the sheer variety of attractions and activities on offer especially when you can combine it with the British and Irish Lions tour in 2017.

There are few places which compare with New Zealand when it comes to the sheer variety of attractions and activities on offer especially when you can combine it with the British and Irish Lions tour in 2017.

As the packages become available for supporters, we’ve come up with ten of the highlights following the same path as the Lions next year.

Official Lions Supporter Tours are available now!

Whangarei Falls

If all the excitement of the Lions tour-opener against a Provincial Union XV gets too much, then Whangarei boasts a beautiful waterfall to ease the tension and soothe the senses.
 
Immensely picturesque and delightfully secluded, the falls are a short drive from central Whangarei and are easily accessible by public transport, while a trail runs back into the city for those feeling a bit more adventurous.
 
You can wander the 1km circuit of the falls in about half an hour – so you won’t be away from the action for too long – on well-marked paths, take in the 26.3m high falls and ease your nerves.
 
If a more extended break is needed, then the Sands Road circuit takes about three hours without being overly strenuous.   
 

Queenstown Wine Tour

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The Lions arrive at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch on June 10 to take on the Crusaders before heading south to Dunedin and the Highlanders on June 13 and then returning north to Rotorua to tackle the Maori All Blacks.
 
Dunedin is the perfect location from which to sample Queenstown’s delights. Lake Wakatipu forms a glorious backdrop to a tourist’s paradise, whether extreme sports, wildlife parks or wine tours, Queenstown is a haven for travellers.
 
Home to New Zealand’s thriving Pinot Noir trade, Queenstown is the perfect spot from which to indulge in wine, cheese and spectacular scenery. With a plethora of wine tours available, choose according to taste and warm up for the test series in style.
 

Prepare your nerves

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Skydiving, canyon-swinging, bungee jumping, paragliding, hang gliding, if ever the desire surfaced to jump great heights, Queenstown is probably the place to do it.
 
With ten days until the first test, head out from Dunedin and put your nerves to the test at one of Queenstown’s many extreme sports venues. There really is no shortage of thrills for adrenaline junkies and all among the most stunning of settings.
 
Get a unique glimpse of Lake Wakatipu with ‘Hydro Attack’, a shark-shaped high-speed boat tour that can dive five feet under water and 18 feet in the air.     
 

Christchurch 185 White Empty Chairs Earthquake Memorial

Rugby fans across the globe united in grieving Christchurch’s loss after the horrendous 2011 earthquake that claimed 185 lives.
 
One of the sport’s great heartlands, the losses were felt keenly in the rugby community and this memorial is a touching tribute to those who passed away.
 
For a simple, moving and unforgettable visit, 185 White Empty Chairs is unmissable. The Christchurch Rebuild Tour provides a great platform from which to witness the memorial along with the city’s wider regeneration.    
 

Tamaki Maori Village

 
There’s no better time to experience Maori culture in all its splendour than when the Lions prepare to tackle the Maori All Blacks.
 
Indulge in an authentic ‘Hangi’ Maori feast of slow-cooked meat, vegetables roasted in underground earthen ovens and witness a ‘powhiri’ welcome ceremony, haka and traditional Maori performance at Tamaki, a ‘marae’, or Maori village.
 
Tour services run directly from central Rotorua and include all transport, food and performances.
 

Hamilton Classics Museum

 
A real boy’s day out, the Classics Museum encompasses motor history with its excellent collection of all things car-related and beyond, with a wide range of toys, pinball machines and rockstar statues.
 
Located in the Frankton area, you can enjoy a meal at ‘The Jukebox Diner’, a 50s style restaurant with a 13-metre tall replica Wurlitzer Jukebox entrance, surrounded by Elvis and Betty Boop statues.
 

Hobbiton

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One of New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions, based in Matamata, the set of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies is a two-hour drive from Auckland and an hour from either Hamilton or Rotorua.
 
Whether taking a tour of the 37 Hobbit holes, or enjoying a pint in the Green Dragon, Hobbiton is well worth the drive and if you’re a serious buff, you can stay overnight on a farm in the gorgeous surrounding Matamata district.
 
The tour guides leave no stone unturned as they show you all 44 dwellings on site and even the least enthusiastic Lord of the Rings fan will have a day and night to remember.
 

Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa

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With the first two tests in Wellington, fans will have plenty of time to sightsee around the nation’s capital and thankfully, it is unlikely to disappoint.  
 
New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington rarely receives a bad review and tourists flock there to witness a wonderfully diverse selection of exhibitions.
 
Queues can be extensive, so arrive early. Once inside there is something for everyone and their World War One Gallipoli exhibition, opened to mark the war’s centenary, is incredibly powerful while the DreamWorks show is one for big kids.
 
Explore the history of Maori rights and migrants with guided tours from £7 and free entrance to the Gallipoli exhibition.
 

Mount Victoria

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The 196-metre high mountain just to the east of central Wellington provides panoramic views of the city, its harbour and the ocean.

Also the site of a Lord of the Rings scene, you can ride a bus to the summit if you’re desperate for the views, but don’t fancy the walk, however, if you stroll or drive, the views are an absolute must.
 
Visibility can be a problem at times, but with two tests in Wellington, it is worth waiting for the ideal day to scale Mount Victoria’s heights and take in the spectacular vista.  
  

Tiritiri Matangi Island

 
A 75-minute scenic ferry ride across Hauraki Gulf from Auckland, Tiritiri Matangi Island is a protected sanctuary for rare, endangered birds and is the perfect tonic to final test week on the North Island.
 
The Tiritiri guides are exceptionally well versed and well worth their £40 price tag, which includes the round ferry trip.    
 
The island hike takes around an hour and a half and your guide will give you plenty of time to appreciate the breathtaking scenery and unique array of endangered birds. 

While the window for Priority Access Pass has closed, official supporter ticket-inclusive travel packages will go on general sale soon, so click here to be notified about the full Lions tour experience.

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