Host Spotlight: Anna and Grant

By Fred Jéquier

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we interviewed Anna and Grant about their tiny house in Akaroa, South Island.

A photo of Anna and Grant with their children and the family dog!
Keep on reading to hear more about their property below!

1. What is the story behind starting your glamping site?

We live on a farm in Little Akaloa that had been Grant’s family farm for five generations, and when the English settled in New Zealand in the 19th Century, the Waghorn family picked Little Akaloa as their place to farm. There is a real family connection to the farm. We took over from Grant’s parents about 12 years ago and have since had our three children over here. We also own a construction company which Grant commutes to in Christchurch most days.

We followed George Clark quite extensively, and the tiny house phenomenon was taking off in New Zealand. So we designed a tiny house that our builders could construct as another string to our bow. We have sold several tiny houses, all with their own twist but with the high pitch roof. People have bought them for glamping sites, and of course to live in. We really wanted to focus on design as a lot of tiny houses are very similar and lack in the design aspect, so we wanted to upscale our tiny house and make it more high end. What a perfect place to trial the tiny house! On our farm with views over the bay, looking out to the Pacific Ocean, native bush, and it's tucked away in the middle of our sheep farm. It is in total isolation with the sounds of the ocean, native New Zealand birds like tui and bellbirds, and the odd sheep.

2. What did you do before becoming a glamping host?

I host as Grant runs his business but, I always get him to help clean out the hot tub and BBQ! I am a high school teacher and teach physical education so we are a very outdoor family, and make the utter most of where we live. There are some great little surf spots around the Peninsula and often you’re the only ones there.

3. What drew you to glamping?

I wanted to share our place with others as we feel so lucky to live here. I also think it's so important for people to reconnect with nature, their surroundings, and each other, as well as having some time away from the technological world. It really makes you appreciate the simple things and the beauty of our environment. I also love styling and really enjoy creating a little space/home for others to share.

4. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?

I think of glamping as still having home comforts but in total isolation! I think it’s really important to have an amazing bed with gorgeous linen. Everytime I make the bed, I just want to dive in as it looks so super comfy. We have a cedar hot tub which you just have to keep stoked up with firewood, so it’s like heaven sitting in there on either a rainy day or a warm summer’s evening with a wine or beer. We have a bespoke hot shower that we designed to be quite large but still fitting into a small space. It’s living in luxury but living in remoteness. The tiny house is run on solar power so I also believe it's about making a small footprint on the environment as this is important to us, particularly with the climate changing.

5. What is the most special thing about your property?

For me it's definitely the ocean. I love watching the sea, it changes all the time. Others have said they love the isolation, being in nature, the waterfall (we have a small waterfall which is a short walk behind the tiny house), the history of the bay, exploring the Peninsula, all the hidden Bays, and of course Akaroa is pretty cool as it was a French settlement.

6. What do you love the most about running a glamping site?

I feel so satisfied when I know couples have had an amazing time! I really hope I provide a romantic, luxurious, peaceful getaway! I also want people to go away feeling refreshed yet grateful for the environment in which they have been in, away from the cities! Hopefully it creates or reinforces a love for nature.

7. What are some of the challenges you face?

In summer it is non stop, so it can be busy with cleaning super quick before the next guest arrives! I finally understand the importance of a check-in/check-out time. Also in summer, being coastal and high up, the farm is incredibly dry so we really worry about fires and with the hot tub we hook up to gas hot water instead.

8. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.

We have only been going since January but we have had two engagements, which is incredible to me as the tiny house and our farm will always remain a special place for those couples. We also have had several honeymoons and wedding anniversaries celebrated at the tiny house.

9. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?

Peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful!

10.Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.

When guests arrive they park their car in a small car park at the entrance way to the farm. They then walk up through our native bush, which is only about five minutes but it is uphill! I think this walk adds to the excitement and intrigues people as they have no idea what to expect. There you see our beautiful tiny house which is clad in timber and is starting to silver off so it blends in around the Manuka bush.

I always make sure I have the hot tub lit, so it is warm on arrival, and you can see the smoke from the hot tub which looks super inviting. There is a lock box where the key is kept. We have a strict policy to keep well away from guests as I don't want to disturb them or interrupt them in anyway, but we are always reachable should they need us.

There is a super comfy queen-size bed—it's funny because my husband is so big on king-size beds but I think queen-size beds are so much more cosy! I use the best possible linen and always wash it in camomile and lavender which leaves it smelling devine. There is a little fire in the corner of the room and plenty firewood!

There is a small modern kitchen with a fridge and gas hob. The walls are lined in white wash ply and this gives the tiny house it's lovely smell. I am big on candles so there are candles everywhere. There is also a modern bathroom with a timber shower. Outside there is native bush and rolling hills, with the odd sheep grazing. On the deck we have a Cocoon outdoor fire which burns on biofuel, and there is a wee two-seater bench that looks out to the vast ocean.

11. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?

Wow, tough question! I’m always happy with whoever stays! We both love Dave Grohl, we think he’s so cool. Also Jack Johnson is a musician, a surfer, and he's big on saving the planet. Plus, he loves New Zealand so we would love for him and his wife to come and stay!

12. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glampsite you would like to share with us?

We may put another tiny house up on a different site on the farm. I think I will do this one black. I just need to lock in my husband to build me another one!

To book an unforgettable stay at Anna and Grant's incredible tiny house in Akaroa, click here!

Where to go in December : Australia and New Zealand

By Eric Wright

As the days get longer and the nights grow milder, December in Australia and New Zealand means the start of barbies on the beach, comfortable temperatures, and of course, the hectic build-up to Christmas.

That's why we've compiled some of the best destinations on the eastern side of the Southern Hemisphere to have a warm holiday celebration. With the cities totally chockers, escape to one of these fantastic, rural locations and have yourself a ripper this December!


1. Wollemi National Park, New South Wales

Just a couple of hours northwest of Sydney, the World Heritage-listed Wollemi National Park boasts an abundance of scenic trails in a dramatic setting, along with heaps of rivers for unforgettable arvos of kayaking and swimming.

At this unique site, you shouldn't miss the chance to complete the iconic walk from Thredbo to the summit of Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, where the panoramic views from the top are simply breathtaking.

2. The Blue Mountains, New South Wales

With 1 million hectares of majestic forests, epic canyons, and sparkling waterfalls, it's no wonder that over 4 million people flock to this pristine landscape each year. Scenic World at Katoomba is a must with its Scenic Skyway gondola that traverses the Jamison Valley—offering spectacular vistas of the Katoomba Falls, Three Sisters, and Mount Solitary.

After a day of adventures, you can retreat to your own unique getaway and enjoy the vast views of eucalyptus trees seemingly stretching on forever, cold one in hand.

3. Namadgi National Park, New South Wales

Located just 45 minutes drive from Canberra, Namadgi National Park offers a rural haven away from the crammed streets of the city in December. As aboriginal people were living in the area during the last ice age 21,000 years ago, there are an abundance of fascinating sites just waiting to be discovered.

If you're looking for a relaxed holiday full of scenic drives, history, and bushwalking, you'll have found your perfect getaway in the grassy valleys, wetlands, and boundless eucalyptus forests of this gorgeous National Park.

4. Bruny Island, Tasmania

Home of the stunning South Bruny National Park, this one-of-a-kind island offers an unbeatable wilderness retreat. With fur seals, fairy penguins, and white wallabies calling this region home, animal lovers will be in their element.

Visiting in December means that the penguin breeding season will be in full swing, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these slippery characters plod ashore at the picturesque seaside town of Penguin or at Point Sorell.

New Zealand

1. Waiuku near Auckland, North Island

Only an hour from Auckland, the winding Awhitu Peninsular and the iconic black sands of Kariotahi Beach in Waiuku offer a great weekend getaway with sublime coastal views. You can set off on the waters and take the opportunity to kayak and enjoy a magical sunset on the water in the Waiuku Estuary—all before returning to your secluded getaway for an evening of relaxation.

2. Lake Wakatipu, South Island

As the third largest lake in New Zealand, the lightning bolt shaped waters of Lake Wakatipu boast incredible levels of purity and cleanliness, making this an ideal spot for water sports and cruises while surrounded by epic scenery. If you're looking to get your blood pumping, head over to the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, the historic birthplace of bungee, and make the leap of faith from the height of a 10-story building!

3. Lake Wanaka, South Island

Situated in the spectacular alps on the South Island of New Zealand, the pristine lakes and mountains in Wanaka, along with its proximity to Mt. Aspiring National Park, make it a premier site for outdoor activities. Roys Peak is not to be missed, as you'll be in awe at the magnificent views of Wanaka, the lake below, and the humbling peaks of the Southern Alps.

This December, immerse yourself in this incredible world of glaciers, majestic mountains, and deep alpine lakes from this equally as stunning bell tent rental.

4. Waipara Wine Region, South Island

Renowned as New Zealand's premier wine-producing region, the sprawling vineyards, award-winning wineries, and awe-inspiring scenic walkways of the the Waipara Valley make it an idyllic escape for lovers of Pinot Noir and outdoor adventure alike.

Just 45 minutes north of Christchurch, get away from the concrete jungle this December, and surrounded yourself with the stunning panoramic vistas from this accommodation in North Canterbury.

What else makes your glamping wish list this December? Check out what made ours here!

Host Spotlight: Kim and Stuart

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we have Kim and Stuart, who manage an off-the-grid cottage in Waiuku, a town in the Auckland Region on the North Island, New Zealand.

1. What is the story behind you starting your glamping site?

Over the years, we have been collecting bits and pieces with the idea of building a little cottage at the back of the farm, where we could relax and watch the river valley below. Initially, it was going to be just for us, but once we got started, we knew it would be a wonderful place to share with others—the perfect glamping spot.

2. What did you do before becoming a glamping host, and what drew you to glamping?

We have both traveled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Europe. Being bought up in a rural environment, we have an open-door policy to our home, with a constant flow of family and friends. Joining the Glamping Hub family seemed like an ideal way to keep meeting interesting people and sharing this special place that we live.

We also run a busy farming business, as well as do extensive conservation work to rejuvenate the whitebait spawning habitat that surround us. A portion of the profit from our glamping rental goes towards helping to fund this project.

3. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?

The cottage is glamping without the canvas tent. Perched high on a hilltop and off the grid, it lets our guests enjoy its beauty and tranquility in complete privacy. A glamping experience should be simple, yet luxurious—a place where you can go to recharge and relax—and our cottage ticks all the boxes.

4. What is the most special thing about your property?

The cottage has many things that make it a special experience. Its location gives you complete privacy with the most amazing views, yet it's less than 60 kilometers from downtown Auckland. There is an outdoor bathtub with hot running water that is set into the hillside among the reeds, as well as a cozy romantic fire for heating in the winter and bi-folding windows and French doors that open the cottage up to the outdoors in the summer.

5. What do you love the most about running a glamping site? What are some of the challenges you face?

The best part of running a glamping site is meeting all the different people that pass through and seeing how much they enjoy their stay. They often turn up looking rather stressed, having battled Auckland traffic or just finished a busy week, but they always leave looking relaxed and chilled out. Our challenge is to fit this new adventure into our already busy lives, but so far, so good.

6. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.

Our most memorable guest experience was sharing our Christmas day with a lovely couple from Germany. Along with our family and other friends, we had eight different nationalities around the Christmas dinner table. It was a day of food, wine, cricket in the sun and great conversations—a real Kiwi Christmas.

7. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?

The most-used words in the feedback we receive are amazing, peaceful, and wonderful.

8. Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.

Our guests are free to roam our 500-acre farm. They can take our flat-bottom punts and explore the wet land, as well as walk or bike through the native bush. Mostl, though, it's about doing nothing—soaking in the bath and watching the world spin from your hilltop perch.

9. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?

If we could have anyone staying at the cottage, it would have to be those who truly need a break from their everyday pressures. This place has a special wairua, or spirit, that seems to calm and relax people, and it's so nice to share that with others.

10. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glampsite you would like to share with us?

We have plans to make a dedicated circuit walkway from the cottage to the wetland, and we hope to have a foot bridge in the near future. The bridge will allow our guests to walk among the river delta and along the two kilometers of board walks that we are in the process of installing.

For the perfect New Zealand getaway, you can book Kim and Stuart's unique cottage here!

Host Spotlight: Brenda and Bruce

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we have Brenda and Bruce, who manage a luxury camping tent in Raglan on the North Island of New Zealand.

1. What is the story behind you starting your glamping site? What did you do before becoming a glamping host, and what drew you to glamping?

We have been involved in the hospitality industry for the past 18 years, owning cafés, bars, and accommodations in various locations around the North Island. We really enjoy the interaction with people!

When we purchased our 10 acres in Te Uku four years ago, it had a self-contained unit, and this was the start of our bed and breakfast offerings. We were looking at ways to utilize our land, and we came across the glamping tent concept. We thought this was a perfect opportunity and location to introduce a rural retreat.

2. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?

Our glamping tent is essentially a tent; however, from the moment you arrive, you instantly experience the "wow factor"—with an in-ground fire pit to roast marshmallows as the sun sets, following dinner on the four-burner barbecue. We provide year-round comfort with a heat pump and the luxury of a spa pool under the stars.

3. What is the most special thing about your property?

It is a rural property that is only 10 minutes away from the world-renowned surfing town of Raglan. We not only offer a farm experience, but also the opportunity to visit Bridal Veil Falls. At a mere 13 kilometers away, you can walk through the native bush to view the 55-meter waterfall.

4. What do you love the most about running a glamping site? What are some of the challenges you face?

We love meeting, greeting, and hosting people from all over the world. We haven't really experienced any challenges; however, we always try to ensure the experience is perfect for all of our guests.

5. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.

Our most memorable moments thus far have be when we had two separate couples chose our location to get engaged at.

6. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?

Wow, amazing, and luxurious.

7. Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.

We provide a rural experience with five-star hotel amenities, which includes luxury linens on the queen-size bed, a tiled shower and toilet, a Bluetooth speaker, bottled water, juice, and Nespresso coffee. We pride ourselves on these small details, like providing marshmallows and biscuits to make s'mores around the fire pit; a relaxing spa pool to stargaze from; and a heat pump to keep you cozy all year round. We also like to keep our guests entertained with various board games, including giant Jenga.

8. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?

The CEO of Glamping Hub, so he can experience firsthand how beautiful our site is.

9. 10. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glampsite you would like to share with us?

Yes, we are currently looking into expanding our offerings with another unique glamping experience at our rural property. We are excited to introduce this to you in the near future!

For the perfect New Zealand getaway, you can book Brenda and Bruce's luxury camping tent here!

But wait! We have a double feature this month, so click here to read all about Emilie and Chad's tiny house rental, too.

Host Spotlight: Glenys and Kevin

By Jackie Dreyer

Editor's note: Each month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we have Glenys and Kevin, who manage a breathtaking castle in Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand.

A view of the exterior of the castle in winter time.

Pretend your family is the royal family at this stunning castle in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand.

1. When was the first time you heard the term glamping?

It's hard to pinpoint exactly, possibly a year or so ago, but it was such an interesting word and concept that it resonated immediately with us.

2. What inspired you to have your own glamping site?

We were approached by one of the friendly Glamping Hub team members, who saw the potential of The Mudcastle as a glamping destination, and it went from there to becoming a reality.

3. If you could describe your property or the glamping experience you offer in three words, what would they be?

Genuine, unforgettable, and inspirational.

One of the many beautiful bedrooms inside the castle.

There's no way you'll ever forget a stay at this unique castle rental.

4. What was your first glamping /camping experience?

We haven't had one yet!

5. Why would you recommend people to go glamping?

It's such a fantastic concept to stay in places where the focus is not primarily on offering cookie-cutter, standard guest experiences.

6. What should people expect when they come to your glamping site?

Our guests’ expectations do vary greatly, because they can be coming to stay for a variety of reasons. We may be hosting their wedding or a corporate retreat, and privacy, seclusion and quiet, creative, energising surroundings are important requirements. Alternatively, we may have a family or group of friends traveling together who want a base located close to all of the attractions our beautiful region has to offer.

In communicating with guests ahead of their stay, it lets us know what their expectations are—which we love!—and we do our very best to exceed them.

7. What makes your property unique?

While many glamping sites may have been custom-built by their owners, there are probably very few where the hosts have made their own building materials, too.

We've been creating The Mudcastle for nearly 28 years, making and blocklaying over 20,000 mud bricks made from the clay beneath us. We're told that it is our story that makes us unique.

The Mudcastle was a finalist on the "My House, My Castle" television show, was chosen to be featured on the television series "Extreme Homes of the World," and was recently selected as one of the "Top 10 Wedding Destinations on the Planet."

One of the gorgeous bathrooms, complete with a jetted tub, at the castle.

The aforementioned bricks aren't the only thing we're in awe of at this glamping castle.

8. What’s your favorite part about owning a glamping property?

Our favorite part is the ability to offer what we have created to groups who don't need the frills and are looking for genuine experiences and friendly, Kiwi hospitality.

9. What makes your property eco-friendly?

Like many we incorporate solar energy, we recycle, and we compost, but our biggest contribution is that The Mudcastle is constructed from the earth beneath us and local timber, and even our guest soaps are clay-based and made locally.


What are you waiting for? You'll never find a glamping experience more unique than this castle.

Interested in a glamping escape to New Zealand? See more of what Glenys and Kevin's stunning castle can offer here for groups of up to six guests and here for groups of up to 16!

Travel Guide: Pro Tips for Traveling Kiwi-Style

By Xavier Vale Buisson

Author's Note: This post was co-authored by Alexandra McGowan and Ben Clarke.

New Zealand’s evergreen pastures are sure to enchant. Being known for its relaxed atmosphere and welcoming vibe, New Zealand is the perfect place to explore the Great Outdoors. Whether you’re a travel expert or have a newfound sense of wanderlust, our knowledgeable travel guide—complete with a dusting of glamping magic—will supply all you need for a fabulous trip to New Zealand!

Mitre Peak on the South Island of New Zealand.

Good to know before you go

Guide to New Zealand customs and tourist season
Guide to New Zealand currency and slang

Getting there and around

Air New Zealand

New Zealand consists of two large islands. Both are easily accessible via airplane and have excellent infrastructure, so guests can easily travel to their unique glamping accommodation. The main international airports are Auckland, Hamilton, and Rotorua on the North Island, and Christchurch, Dunedin, and Queenstown on the South Island.

All of the main rental companies are represented at major airports, so you can get straight on the road after your flight. Younger visitors need to be wary that the rental age in New Zealand is commonly 21 and older. We strongly recommend renting a car, as it is the easiest way to explore this magnificent country and the best way to access our glorious glamping sites. You should also note that in New Zealand you drive on the left!

  • Rail travel in New Zealand tends to be more scenic than efficient, but guests will be able to get a unique perspective of the New Zealand countryside that is not available from the roads. The country’s cities are well-connected by rail, especially when compared to the U.S.
  • For a cheap and easy way of getting around, visitors can find bus fares from as cheap as $1NZD. The main companies are InterCity and StrayBus.
  • The quickest way to visit New Zealand's major cities is via plane. It takes under two hours to fly from Auckland in the North Island to Queenstown in the South.

Train Travel in Wellington.

Useful facts

Guide to population and climate of New Zealand


Food and Drink

Dairy cows grazing in the countryside.

Dairy production is extremely important to New Zealand's economy. Here are some quick facts:

  • New Zealand is the world's eighth largest dairy producer, and accounts for 3% of total world production.
  • New Zealand exports 95% of its dairy.
  • New Zealand exported $8.5bn worth of dairy products between June 2015 and June 2016.
  • There are over 5 million dairy cattle in New Zealand.

Many consider New Zealand’s lamb to be the best in the world. It is produced so efficiently that it is often cheaper after shipping than U.S. lamb, so it’s likely that you already have a taste for it. Lamb from New Zealand is grass-fed throughout its life and tends to have a more pronounced, richer flavor. In New Zealand, only animals under 12 months old can be labeled as "lamb." There are no such regulations in the U.S.

Wine in New Zealand is a young industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, many young New Zealanders traveled, lived, and worked in Europe, due to the rise of commercial airlines. This was the first time that many New Zealanders came into contact with the well-established wine cultures of Europe. For many years, New Zealand has produced what many consider to be some of the world’s best Sauvignon blanc. More recently, the country has began to develop many other types, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet/Merlot blends, Pinot noir, Pinot gris, and Syrah. Visitors can find wineries all over.

Mānuka honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native mānuka bush. It is commonly sold as an alternative medicine. Its advocates cite the natural antibacterial properties of honey. Although it is four times more antibacterial than standard antiseptic, there is little scientific backing for its medicinal use. Nevertheless, the Māori have used its honey and oils for centuries, and honey producers have developed a scale for rating the potency of mānuka honey called UMF, which stands for Unique Manuka Factor. Therapeutic honey starts at 10 UMF.

Mānuka honey being poured.

History and Heritage

Māori traditions.

New Zealand is a relatively new country. It was the last habitable part of the world to be discovered and settled. The first inhabitants were the Māori, who arrived from Polynesia in the 13th century. According to legend, New Zealand was discovered by captain Kupe. The first European to visit was Abel Tasman in 1642. He gave it its Dutch-sounding name, Nieuw Zeeland. It was later colonized by the British in the early 19th century. At Waitangi in 1840, over 500 Māori chiefs signed a treaty with the British Crown.

War broke out on the North Island in the 1860s and swathes of Māori land was either bought or confiscated over 20 years. The South Islands prospered, chiefly from gold. The British continued to invest in New Zealand, and railways and new towns sprang up. In 1882, the first shipment of frozen meat arrived in England, and paved the way for New Zealand as an exporter of meat and dairy products.

In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote. State pensions and housing were also first offered in New Zealand. New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907. It contributed many troops to the ANZAC in both World Wars, as part of the British Empire, most famously at Gallipoli. New Zealand became independent in 1947. When Britain joined the EEC in 1973, New Zealand began to accelerate its export diversification, and today exports farm goods and other exports to many other countries.


A music festival.

New Zealand's music festivals take place during the peak of summer, from November to February. The two biggest music festivals happen in late December. Rhythm and Vines is situated amongst the sunny vineyards of Gisborne, the first city to see 2018, thanks to its location on the international dateline, and Rhythm and Alps is set among the picturesque peaks surrounding Wanaka on the South Island.

Rugby Sevens has been a big festival for several years in New Zealand and it's taking place in Hamilton on February 3rd-4th. The competition will involve 16 of the world's greatest sevens teams, and attendees will also be treated to live performances and competitions.


The Marlborough Wine Festival on February 10 involves 40 wineries and an evening of great music, delicious food, and excellent wine!

For those with an adventurous palate, the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika on March 10 is well worth visiting! There's a whole range of exotic food, including huhu grubs and bats. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, wear fancy dress, and party all night.

Matariki (Māori New Year) has had a revival in recent years and is celebrated nationwide on June 15. It is a time for remembering the dead and celebrating new life and is marked by kites, fireworks, and hot air balloons.


Māori religion

Traditional Māori religion has changed very little from the beliefs of their Polynesian homeland. The believe that everything, including natural elements and all living things, are connected by common descent through whakapapa. All things are thought to possess a life force (mauri). Tangaroa was the god of the ocean and ancestor of all fish, Tāne the forest and all birds, and Rongo peaceful activities, agriculture, and the ancestor of cultivated plants.

The Māori have traditionally believed that people and objects contain mana, spiritual power or essence. Society was stratified according to this belief. Tapu implies rules and prohibitions. There are two types: public and private. A person, an object, or a place that is tapu may not be touched or in some cases not even approached. Nowadays, tapu is mostly observed in matters relating to sickness, death, and burial.

Since the early 19th century, Christianity has become increasingly important amongst the Māori. Large numbers became affiliated with the Church of England and the Catholic Church. Nowadays, Christian prayer (karakia) is often the expected way to begin and end Māori public gatherings.

Māori Temple

Safety and essentials

Documentation and Customs Regulations

Let us clue you up before you set off. Our low-down on the ins and outs of documentation is sure to save you a headache at the departure gate. Be aware that documentation and visa checks are carried out before boarding the plane and make sure you have them ready to be checked.

  • For duty-free allowances, check out the New Zealand customs website here.
  • It is advisable to declare any unusual medicines. Have the medication clearly labeled with a signed and dated letter from your doctor explaining your condition.
  • Plant and animal products must be declared. Any type of food or wood product must also be declared.
  • The United States is a visa waiver country of New Zealand and therefore a visa is not required to visit for three months or less. Consult the US government's state department link for passports and visas here.


  • Be sure to take out comprehensive health insurance before your trip.
  • New Zealand has no essential vaccinations; however, as always, the World Health Organization recommends that all travelers should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, polio, and hepatitis B.
  • Do not drink untreated water from streams or lakes. Giardiasis can be passed through untreated water. That said, tap water in New Zealand is normally safe to drink.
  • Insect repellent is advisable to ward off sand flies in coastal regions.


  • Hypothermia can be a big risk during the winter. Be sure to keep warm at high altitudes or when exposed to high winds.
  • Be aware of the ocean! Rip tides and undertows are common.
  • Occasional earthquakes do occur in New Zealand so be sure to know the protocol in such an occurrence.

For comprehensive travel advice please refer to the US Department of State website.

Places to visit


Auckland's Skyline

As you’re most likely to end up here after your international flight, it’s well worth staying for a couple of days to explore New Zealand’s largest city. The Auckland Art Gallery is the country’s largest and is great for a cultural fix. It features over 15,000 works of art from a variety of styles and eras.

The Auckland Domain Park is the city’s oldest park, and at 185 acres, it has a bit of everything. The park has been developed around the cone of an extinct volcano, and features exquisite Winter Gardens, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Formal Gardens, and several duck ponds. The city is also home to a wide range of international restaurants and has an excellent nightlife.

For those who are more adventurous, there is a Auckland Bridge climb, and even a bungee jump.

Luxury Tent Resort and Tree House Paradise above Karioitahi Beach, New Zealand

How about renting a luxury tent or treehouse within easy reach of Auckland?

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands

Located in the northeast of the North Island, about a three hour drive from Auckland, this archipelago consists of over 140 subtropical islands. It’s famed for its beautiful undeveloped beaches and big-game fishing. It is also an important historical site, hosting both Māori artifacts and the whaling town of Russell, the nation’s first colonial capital. It is the perfect place to go sailing, boating or fishing. You can also take up a new hobby; Paihia Dive offers an introduction to scuba diving course which ferries you out far into the bay. There are also opportunities for both dolphin watching and even swimming with dolphins. Don’t forget to check out the Hole in the Rock, an opening in a rock formation that you can sail through, tide permitting.

Deluxe Private Suite with a Hot Tub at a Bed and Breakfast in Kerikeri, New Zealand

Look over the stunning bay from this deluxe private suite with a hot tub.


Rotorua Hot Springs

A geothermal town in northern New Zealand centered around Lake Rotorua, Rotorua is renowned for its effervescent mud pools, impressive geysers, and natural hot springs. The surrounding nature is also stunning. There are crystal-clear streams, encapsulating redwood forests, whitewater rivers for rafting, the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia, the Paradise Valley Springs Wildlife Park, a Polynesian spa, and the Skyline Gravity Mountain Biking Park, which takes visitors to the top via gondola and allows them to cycle back down.

Peaceful and Romantic Bell Tent for Rent near Tauranga, New Zealand

Get back to nature and kick back in this peaceful, romantic bell tent.

Waiheke Island

Vineyard on Waiheke Island

Situated to the east of Auckland, the island is easily accessible by ferry. The island is home to many excellent vineyards, so you’ll definitely want someone else to transport you around. Waiheke Island Wine Tours will shuttle you to three different vineyards to sample 14 varieties of wine. Waiheke is also home to a popular arts community, beaches, forests, and olive groves. It’s also a great place to go hiking. The Headland Sculpture on the Gulf hiking trail is particularly worth seeing. We also recommend the Connells Bay Sculpture Park, which hosts nature-inspired sculptures by New Zealand artists.

Romantic Studio Rental for Two for Wine Tasting Getaway near Auckland, New Zealand

Why not treat yourself and your partner to this romantic studio rental in Waiheke Island wine country?



Queenstown has long had the reputation as the adventure capital of New Zealand, and with good reason. During the winter and spring (June to October) it is a premium skiing destination, with the Remarkables Ski Area of particular note. Other adventure activities such as bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating, and river rafting attract adrenaline junkies year-round. At 182 meters, the Shotover Canyon Swing is the world’s highest cliff jump. Queenstown also has some of New Zealand’s best dining, including burger joints, steak houses, and fine dining options.

Sunny Farm Cabin Rental with Wood-Burning Stove near Lumsden, New Zealand

Escape to the picturesque South Island countryside in this cabin rental on a farm.

Get your suitcase ready and check out more of our New Zealand glamping accommodations here!