Welcome to our New Zealand Travel Blog DownsideUP

This blog is dedicated to inform and inspire you on all things to do with New Zealand and Australia. Actually we write posts on anything that’s of interest in the South Pacific (our home) DownsideUP was started in 2008, so there is plenty of interesting content to inspire you to visit us Down Under.  

New Zealand Great Walks – Choosing the right track for you
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

We all know one of the ultimate reasons to visit New Zealand is for the jaw-dropping scenery. Luckily for you, our Department of Conservation has designated nine New Zealand Great Walks spread throughout the country, each showcasing a different set of iconic New Zealand landscapes, flora and fauna. These experiences are outlined below – take your pick, from vertigo-inducing alpine splendour to tranquil forests and glittering sandy shores. First, you’ll need to decide whether to freedom walk or take a guided tour.

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

A Road with a View: Suggested routes for a self drive holiday in New Zealand
Alex
Submitted by
Alex Bayes

A self drive holiday in New Zealand is just as much about the journey as it is the destination, thanks largely to the sheer beauty of our scenic highways. It’s hard to beat the feeling of hitting the open road with a full tank of gas and a few days of leisure time up your sleeve. Kiwis love a good road trip, and it's easy to see why - across New Zealand, you'll find incredible routes on smooth highways that traverse grand and varied countryside.

Alex
Submitted by
Alex Bayes

Riding the Breeze in New Zealands top Sailing Destinations
Steve Taylor
Submitted by
Steve Taylor

There’s no better feeling than sailing on crystal-clear water, the wind in your hair and a backdrop of spectacular coastline unfolding before you. The sails are full, dolphins are surfing the bow wake, and rays of sunlight dance on an emerald-blue sea. After navigating the entrance to a crescent-shaped, white sand cove, you spend the afternoon dining on freshly caught fish and cooling off in the azure waters. This is what a sailing vacation in New Zealand is all about check out New Zealands top Sailing Destinations.  

Steve Taylor
Submitted by
Steve Taylor

A World of its Own - Great Barrier Island
Elizabeth Marshall
Submitted by
Elizabeth Marshall

Come and visit an island paradise where the crowds are no-where to be seen, beaches are glistening with pristine white sand and the sea, a constant sparkling blue surfer’s dream. Wander the tracks through regenerating native bush towards natural hot pools, soaking up the rugged surroundings before tackling a climb up to stay in an overnight hut with spectacular panoramic views.  Listen out for the call of the endangered black petrel in the night as they come and go from their burrows. Can you imagine the possibility of enjoying all this to yourself? But where is this island?

Elizabeth Marshall
Submitted by
Elizabeth Marshall

New Zealand's Best Beaches in Northland
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Northlands Wonderful Subtropical Beaches

With a sub-tropical climate, kilometres of white sandy beaches and crystal clear-waters at every turn, Northland, at the top of New Zealand’s North Island, is the proud home of some of New Zealand's best beaches. As you drive around this vast water-filled playground it’s hard not to find a pristine slice of paradise calling for you to throw off your shoes and wade in its waters or grab a kayak, boat, fishing rod or snorkel and get out and explore – the possibilities in Northland really are endless.

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Dolphin and whale encounters in New Zealand
Anne Baumscheiper
Submitted by
Anne Baumscheiper

Cetaceans are the stuff of legends. Whether we’re talking about dolphins boosting alongside boats and backward-somersaulting in play, or whales majestically breaching the surface before plunging into the depths to feed, these sleek, intelligent creatures have mesmerized people throughout history. Encountering them in the wild on their own terms is an exhilarating experience and it’s no secret that New Zealand is a hotspot for whales and dolphins.

Anne Baumscheiper
Submitted by
Anne Baumscheiper

New Zealand Coach Tours
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Long gone are the days when whirlwind touring in cramped uncomfortable coaches were the only option, herding you like sheep from one tourist trap to another. There has been a much needed shift in the way tours are now designed and operated - ‘Flexibility and Customer Service’ is the new mantra and today more than ever, a New Zealand Coach Touring holiday makes an attractive proposition. But not all tours are created equally, understanding the differences is key to choosing the tour that best suits you.  For an insight into New Zealand Coach Touring - please read on... 

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

An Introduction to New Zealand Animals (Part 2)
Steve Taylor
Submitted by
Steve Taylor

We are often asked what animals can be seen when visiting New Zealand? Well, as we learned in ‘Part 1’ of the series, New Zealand was almost exclusively populated by birds both before and after humans settled. In this article - New Zealand Animals (Part 2), we look at our present day oceans and the marine mammals that call it home, introduced land-dwelling species and examine some of the more ancient creatures that still call New Zealand home.

Steve Taylor
Submitted by
Steve Taylor

Dolphins, heritage and perfect coastline: Exploring New Zealand by Kayak
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Untouched waterways, pristine lakes and perfect coastline make up a fair bit of New Zealand’s environment. Many of these places are isolated and hard-to-reach, but those that seek to explore this kind of wilderness are rewarded with one-of-a-kind experiences that are well off the beaten track. From our experience, one of the best ways to seek these remote and special places is by Exploring New Zealand by Kayak.  Imagine kayaking with dolphins under sunny skies in Northland’s Bay of Islands or paddling through a marine reserve in Abel Tasman National Park.

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Rafting in New Zealand – the ultimate kiwi adventure!
Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

One of the best ways to truly explore New Zealand’s most isolated and beautiful environments is with a rafting adventure. Pristine waterways – often complete with high-energy rapids and canyons – wind through temperate rainforests, past sky scraping mountain peaks and alongside valleys dotted with wildflowers. At First Light Travel, we love down-to-earth adventures in the New Zealand wilderness, and rafting in New Zealand through isolated backcountry is about as good as it can get...  

Brent Narbey
Submitted by
Brent Narbey

Subscribe to our blog

Sign up to our blog newsletter to get the latest updates.

*We will not spam your email, this newletter is sent once a month or so.

Recent Posts

Blog Categories

Blog archives