Favorite Obscura-esque Tourism Activities in NZ?



I spent Jan - March 2018 in New Zealand. It was MAGICAL!

One of my goals was to find small, unique tours that would let me meet locals and really experience a place.

Here was one of my favorites (I’ll try to post more soon!):

I went on a paddleboard tour of glow worm caves with Rotorua Paddle Board Tours.

I met the guys that created the business at the Rotorua weekly farmer’s market (which is amazing, it happens on Thursdays, if I remember correctly). They were two friends who had just opened their business the week before. When I told them I’d love to go on a tour, but was leaving in the morning, they said, “find one friend to do it and we’ll take you right now.” Clearly, I went. It was incredible. It felt way more like going out on the lake with friends than a paid tour. We paddled in the sunset, tried to do acrobatic tricks (I fell off my board several times), paddled through caves, and ended the tour laying down on our boards looking up at glow worms. I relive that adventure often.

If you have questions about traveling New Zealand, I’ll do my best to answer them!


Have to ask , did you see any Tuatara’s ?


I did!
I went on an incredible tour of Moutohora, which is a protected island. To go on the tour, we had to empty our backpacks, scrub our shoes, etc.
The island has many rare animals, including the tuataras. We spotted them sunbathing on the ground, just outside of their holes. I didn’t get a picture though, they were easily startled and ran away.

Here’s an article about the tuatara population on the island: Tuatara at home on island - NZ Herald

Do you have a special interest in tuataras?


That sounds awesome ! I’m definitely jealous hahaha

I was reading about the island assisted colonizations / translocations of wildlife the other day , I would love to visit some of New Zealands Islands one day , it would be a dream come true.

I’m absolutely fascinated by tuataras and a lot of the stranger evolutionary distinct species found in different parts of the world. There is just something about a species that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs , only takes one breath per hour and that can live for almost 200 years that makes it just mindblowingly interesting and also incredibly precious.

It would be a real tragedy if they go extinct and with climate change that possibility is sadly begining to look more and more likely.


Ooooo - I didn’t know some of those facts about tuataras! They are incredibly tough and oddly cute, all at once! I hope they survive, too!

Places like NZ give me hope! They really care about conservation and protecting their native species.

I hope that you make it to NZ. I had wanted to go for 6 years, so I was worried I’d be a little disappointed, due to the prolonged anticipation. Not at all. I don’t know where you’re flying from… I flew from CO and found a great deal from following Scott’s Cheap Flights alerts. It was about 1/2 of normal fares.


I agree , I think in New Zealand there is a lot more hope for threatened species than in other parts of the world. I know that the Kiwi’s wont give the tuatara up for lost without a fight which is definitely a reason for hope.

How about the landscapes ? how did you find them ? I know that New Zealand is meant to be breathtakingly beautiful

Its definitely on my long term list but there is just so many things to see and experience that I guess I wont get there for a long time yet.


It seems the weather must have been quite warm if you were paddle boarding at sunset. Do you have a sense about what the range of months during which someone could be in the water comfortably in the vicinity of the glowworm caves?

Also, were the these particular caves, or elsewhere?



January through March is summer in New Zealand, so the water will be warmer. My husband and I went cave tubing in Waitomo with Black Water Rafting Company in mid-April. Since the whole thing happens underground, we wore full-body wetsuits with a thermal layer underneath. I was still pretty cold when we finished. But it was an incredible experience; we floated through caves filled with glowworms and jumped off a waterfall.