. Free Time in New Zealand | Northstar Meetings Group

Free Time in New Zealand

Whether your attendees like extreme sports or Hobbits, this destination has much to offer

Coronet Peak

New Zealand
White- and black-sand beaches, fjords, rain forests, and more await visitors to this breathtaking destination. What New Zealand does best is encourage visitors to not just look at these diverse landscapes but immerse themselves in them. New Zealanders' passion and zest for life will delight visitors -- as will their refrain of "Kia ora! (be well)." Whatever your attendees' interests, there is plenty here for visitors to enjoy.

They may be small, but J.R.R. Tolkien's hobbits have been big business for this country. New Zealand director Peter Jackson shot all three installments of his The Lord of the Rings trilogy here over a 15-month period (and followed them up with The Hobbit trilogy). Those looking to immerse themselves in Middle Earth can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, which offers tours of the round-doored hobbit holes and quirky village scenes. The Green Dragon Inn, the meeting place for all residents of Hobbiton, has been recreated and is available for themed dinners.

AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch created New Zealand's first commercial bungee operation on Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown in 1988: 141 feet down as you stand on the bridge, ankles tethered to a giant rubber band. Today, not only can you leap from bridges in New Zealand but rail viaducts, platforms on the edge of cliffs, and stadium roofs as well. Auckland's Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere, offers the SkyWalk (offering an outdoor panoramic view of the city below) and SkyJump (a 630-foot plunge toward that city). It's ironic that New Zealanders call themselves Kiwis, after a flightless bird, when many of the activities the country offers thrill-seekers are airborne adventures.

Jet boating, white water rafting, and back country 4WD tours are among the rugged, outdoor activities that visitors to New Zealand can enjoy. Incentive attendees can also try zorbing, in which they climb inside a large, protective plastic ball and roll down a grassy hill, taking in the sights along the way -- not to mention wine tastings in caves, vineyards, and in the homes of winemakers. New Zealand offers it all.