New Zealand

5 Unexpected Activities In New Zealand

New Zealand is most famous for its stunning natural beauty, endless sightseeing opportunities, and adventure activities. While these speak to the main reasons most people want to visit the island nation though, they don’t quite tell the whole story! There’s plenty more to do in a country as unique and enjoyable as it is beautiful and exciting. So, adventures and sights aside, we’re taking a look at five unexpected activities to try when traveling in New Zealand.

New Zealand, Gibbs Farm

1.) Gibbs Farm

Gibbs Farm is wonderful place to visit while traveling in New Zealand. This open-air sculpture farm – the private collection of businessman Alan Gibbs – is full of man-made sights and artwork, and is open to the public by appointment. Most of the sculptures were commissioned, meaning they were created specifically for this unique collection. The natural surroundings are magnificent as well, with the vast Kaipara Harbor having directly influenced many of the pieces that populate the farm. All in all, this is a one-of-a-kind artistic exposition that you don’t want to miss if you have an appreciation for creativity and visual wonders.

2.) Steampunk HQ

New Zealand, Steampunk HQ

Steampunk HQ is another colorful, artistic exhibition open to the public in New Zealand. Located in the historic Victorian precinct of Oamaru, it’s an art exhibition built on the premise of a post-apocalyptic 19th-century England “gone mad.” Featuring retro-futuristic sci-fi art, movies, sculptures, and sounds, this eccentric, goofy sci-fi spot also shows off steam-powered technology (and promotes sustainably and recycling). Steampunk HQ is definitely worth a visit for any art enthusiasts or anyone looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.

3.) Colossal Squid Exhibit

New Zealand, Colossal Squid Exhibit

New Zealand is also home to the world’s only colossal squid specimen, located at Te Papa Museum. Colossal squid, for those who may not be aware, are the most massive invertebrates in the world – bigger than their merely “giant” counterparts, and equipped with eyes the size of soccer balls, limbs lined with teeth and hooks, and massive, razor-sharp beaks. You can explore the anatomy of the specimen and even touch models of its beak and tentacle hooks at this popular exhibit. The squid has been on display to the public since soon after it was captured in 2007, and really represents a rare glimpse of the more mysterious side of the animal world.

4.) Dunedin Casino

New Zealand, Dunedin Casino

While traveling in New Zealand you can also make a fun stop at Dunedin Casino, or one of New Zealand’s other five land-based casinos. Legal gambling is actually popular across New Zealand, and though some enjoy it in a simpler form through free online pokies, the live casinos remain regular draws. Stopping at an entertainment complex like Dunedin Casino gives you access to a lavish gaming area, fine dining, and a range of other attractions. There are electronic and table games alike, and while the Dunedin possess the typical gaudy opulence most expect at casinos, there’s also a certain class to it that makes for an elegant night out (and a nice opportunity to dress up, if you like to strut your stuff on vacation!).

5.) Stardome Observatory & Planetarium

New Zealand, Aukland, Stardome Observatory and Planetarium

Last but not least, you also can’t miss the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium in Auckland. Situated in Cornwall Park, this public astronomical observatory has been open and educating since 1967. At the Stardome, you can watch planetarium shows on topics such as the night sky and black holes, observe actual deep space objects through the Zeiss telescope, learn to read star charts and interpret significant celestial events, and engage with other useful resources such as informational displays and exhibits on site. The Stardome is the perfect place for anyone who loves astronomy and the cosmos, and almost adds a whole new dimension to the idea of natural sightseeing in New Zealand!