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Top 20 FREE activities in New Zealand

With New Zealand being crowned as one of the most expensive holiday destinations in the world there is a misconception that you have to spend a lot of money to have fun in New Zealand.

Since Jordan and I moved here 5 months ago, we have experienced a number of New Zealand’s famous attractions. I can’t deny how awesome the Waitomo Caves, Hobbiton, Fox Glacier, Bungy Jumping, Milford Sound and White Island were, but some of our most memorable adventures haven’t cost us a penny!

Here are some of our favorite activities (and a few on our to-do list) that are completely FREE and still let you experience the beauty, adventure and culture that New Zealand has to offer.

Top 20 FREE Activities in New Zealand

1. Fly down the natural slip-n-slide at the Rere Rockslide outside Gisbourne. Grab whatever your can to propel yourself down this wet-n-wild ride – whether it’s a body board, inflatable mattress or your backside – it’s a ton of fun any way you choose! Watch our video here – after watching I guarantee you’ll want to go!

Rere RockSlide 

2. Dig your own hot tub in the sand at the Hot Water Beach in Coromandel Peninsula. Be sure to grab a spot with cool ocean water access or you may burn your feet!

Hot Water Beach 

3. Explore the abandon gold mining caves at Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway. Make sure you don’t make a wrong turn or you could get lost! (not really :P)

Karangahake Gorge Gold Mining Caves

4. Explore the maze-like network of limestone rocks at Labyrinth Rocks Walkway near the Abel Tasman. Keep your eye out for little creatures along the path (maybe even David Bowe)

Labyrinth Rocks Walkway 

5. Watch the baby seals play while the adults soak up the sun at the Kaikoura Seal Colony. This fella is always ready to pose for the camera.

Kaikoura Seal Colony 

6. Let the Glow worms illuminate your path down the old railway trail outside Taumarunui. Be sure to bring a torch as it does have a bit of a ‘Sleepy Hollow’ vibe.

Glow Worm filled tunnel 

7. Admire the natural archway along the beach at Cathedral Cove.

Cathedral Cove 

8. Explore the underground Clifden Limestone Caves in Southland. This 300m cave system is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. It’s a self-guided tour, with a few wet spots, so be sure to explore in pairs!

Clifden Caves

9. Spend the day hiking to the summit of one of the world’s most conical volcanoes – Mount Taranaki. The climb is not for the faint hearted but you can ‘scree ski’ your way down to the bottom!

Mount Taranaki 

10. Soak in the natural hot springs under a bridge in Waiotapu. A steaming hot stream meets with a cool river creating the perfect temperature to relax in.

Hot Pool in Waiotapu 

11. Get a taste of Middle Earth with a walk up to Meads Wall at Mount Ruapehu. Feel like you’re in the battle of the Second Age as you stare down Mount Doom.

Mead’s Wall 

12. Spot the Elephant Rock along the sand flats at the Three Sisters Beach. Spend hours exploring the colourful exposed caves and water pools at low tide.

Elephant Rock 

13. Be amazed at the series of bright turquoise coloured lakes along the route from Queenstown to Lake Tekapo.

Lake Ruataniwha 

14. Saturate your senses with the beautiful scenery on one of the greatest short walks – Ruakuri Scenic Walk in Waitomo.

Ruakuri Scenic Walk

15. Listen to the bubbling mud at New Zealand’s largest mud pool outside Waiotapu.

Boiling Mud Pools 

16. Have a chance encounter with a yellow eyed penguin on Otago Peninsula outside Dunedin (also on our to-do list)

Yellow eyed Penguins

17. Have the beauty of the rushing waterfalls take your breath away at Rere Falls, Huka Falls, Waipunga Falls and the majestic drive to Milford Sound.

Rere Falls 

18. Get a taste of New Zealand’s culture at one of the many festivals around the country – Festival of Lights, Maori in the City and Caffeination to name a few.

The famous Huka – Maori in the City 

19. Take in one of the many New Zealand wineries offering free wine tasting along the famous Marlborough wine region outside Blenheim.

Wine Tasting 

20. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful black, white, orange and brown sandy beaches all across the country.

Gisbourne 

So whether you’re on a budget or just looking to add some activities to your agenda, there are so many things to do in New Zealand at no cost at all! So go out and explore what nature has to offer in this beautiful country!

Know any other cool free activities in New Zealand? We would love to hear about it so leave your comments below!

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