We have welcomed the first group of tourists under New Zealand’s border reopening plan – and it couldn’t be more fitting that they are our friends across the divide.
Last year’s trans-Tasmanian bubble was short-lived, so it’s likely that not every Aussie who came to say hello had the chance to fully experience all that New Zealand has to offer.
So we thought we’d share some of the places and attractions that we think are most relevant to their interests. Aussies – here’s a travel guide just for you.
* Back to Oz: The best new things Kiwis can hope for on the Gold Coast
* Adelaide: The Australian city that should be on every Kiwi’s bucket list
* Covid-19: First flight from Australia lands under new self-isolation rules
All Blacks Experience, Auckland
Want to know the secrets to the success of our national rugby teams? Of course you do.
This epic new attraction, which opened in Auckland’s SkyCity complex in December 2020, uses state-of-the-art technology to bring you the history and achievements of New Zealand rugby. You’ll battle it out on computer simulations testing your reflexes, strategy, and mental resilience, test your passing, kicking, and alignment skills, and even face off against the famous haka, on a four-meter-high screen.
As well as the All Blacks, you’ll find out more about our equally impressive women’s side, the Black Ferns – who, by the way, have never lost to the Wallaroos.
Look, it doesn’t matter who invented the pavlova. What really matters is who mastered it. And after a visit to Auckland’s Cibo restaurant, you won’t know who does it best.
The locals’ favorite restaurant, housed in a former chocolate factory in Parnell, is famous for its huge pavlovas, which come in different flavors, like salted caramel and ripe cherry.
Steep Range, Hawke’s Bay
While New Zealand may be best known for the zesty Sauvignon Blancs produced in Marlborough, we know you Australians tend to prefer a full-bodied Syrah. The good news is that we do this very well in Hawke’s Bay, our oldest and second largest wine region.
If you only have time for one cave, make it Craggy Range. Their cellar door is spectacular, located at the foot of the Te Mata peak, and their Syrah is excellent – in fact, their flagship Le Sol Syrah is considered one of the best in the country.
Book a wine tasting experience or sit down for lunch or dinner at the restaurant. There are also luxury accommodations scattered among the vineyards.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Center, Mount Bruce
Australia may be best known for its scary critters and flamboyant birds, but we’ve got our fair share too – and some of our best known are at the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, a sanctuary 30 kilometers north of Masterton.
In the 942 hectare reserve, you can see kiwis, takahē, kākā, tuatara, wētā and much more. Best of all, unlike some of your biting and pungent creatures, nothing you’ll encounter here will harm you.
Check out their new Maori cultural tour, Te Hīkoi o Pūkaha. You’ll be led by a guide from the local iwi (tribe), Rangitāne, who will share their traditional knowledge as you make your way through the forest, followed by a cup of kawakawa tea and the much-loved Maori treat of bread fried.
Te Papa, Wellington
Australia and New Zealand are forever linked by the events that took place in Gallipoli during the First World War, and to bring that history to life, head to the Te Papa National Museum to see the brilliant Gallipoli: the scale of our war exposure.
Created by Wētā Workshop, the exhibition features eight giant, hyper-realistic figures, frozen in a moment during war. It’s unlike any war exhibit you’ve seen before and has proven so popular since it opened in 2015 that it’s been extended for three years – it was originally due to end in April.
While in Te Papa, head to Level 4 to visit Australian-owned New Zealand racehorse Phar Lap – or at least what’s left of him. We have his bones on display, while you have his heart (located at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra) and his hiding place (located at the Melbourne Museum).
Riverside Market, Christchurch
Melbourne has the iconic Queen Victoria Market, South Australia has the massive Adelaide Central Market, and now Christchurch has the Riverside Market.
Since opening in September 2019, it has quickly become one of the country’s top dining destinations, with around 30 eateries to choose from.
We know you have great Greek food in Australia, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on one of our most legendary souvlaki slingers, Dimitris, who has a market outlet.
We’re not going to lie, we were quite disappointed when Cadbury closed its Dunedin factory in 2018, with production of some of our most iconic products (looking at you, pineapple chunks), moved across the ditch.
But the void left by Cadbury’s closure was quickly filled by Ocho, short for Otago Chocolate Company, an artisanal chocolate factory using beans sourced from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji.
Stop by the Factory Shop for their delicious bars with interesting flavors like salted caramel, short black, horopito and kawakawa, and the beekeeper (honey mānuka, bee pollen and puffed amaranth).