Culture Kaboom

Written by: S Stern of United States

rafting

It's no secret that New Zealand has scenery on a continental scale. Discover this outdoor enthusiast’s playground with hiking, jet-boating, bungy jumping, or white water rafting.

You name it – New Zealand’s got it. But you’ll also soak up the indigenous Polynesian traditions and lifestyle on your trip. Discover the warmth of the Maori people, whose culture and language sit at the very heart of New Zealand culture. 
 
Kia Ora! That’s ‘hello’ in Te Reo Maori. See, you’re learning some of the Kiwi slang already!
 
Not only can you soak up Maori traditions at the country’s cultural heart in Rotorua, but then you can soak in Rotorua’s natural hot springs and experience the region’s geothermal phenomena of its boiling mud pools and geysers. 
 
Be sure to take a guided tour of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. It’s a great way to experience geothermal activity, and an authentic village experience at the same time. Make friends with the locals while you visit a ‘marae’ (meeting house) and feast on a ‘hangi’ (traditional meal cooked underground). You’ll feel like a true blue kiwi in no time.
 
While you’re in Rotorua be sure to check out some of the awesome adventure activities nearby. At OGO or the Zorb, roll down a hill in a giant ball. Yup, that’s right! Jump inside a 3.5 metre inflatable globe and hurtle down specially designed hills on a 1 metre cushion of air.
 
Nearby, white water rafting on the Kaituna River is seriously exhilarating - you can raft over the world's highest commercially raftable waterfall, at 7 metres high! And the Whakarewarewa forest's unbeatable blend of 130km of mountain biking trails caters for all skill and fitness levels.
 
So you’ve got your adventure, you have amazing legends of the Maori people, and on top of that, Kiwis in general are the most friendly people in the world. They are really hospitable and will go out of their way to make sure you have the best time in their country. 
 
Oh, and you’ll learn some pretty funky words while you’re down there: ‘chilly bin’ (cooler), ‘jandals’ (flip-flops), and most importantly, ‘sweet as’ (no worries!) Throw in cold beer, wine from local vineyards, and BBQs in the sun with new friends (in amazing scenery!), and you’ve got an awesome culture and vibe that you’ll never forget.