Buying Christmas presents is stressful. Much like keeping a neutral face on Christmas morning when you unwrap another bath set or a scented candle.
Instead of rushing to the stores trying to find the perfect gift for the person who has everything, why not give this year an amazing experience that they can enjoy right here in Aotearoa?
Gift experiences are not only a great way to support our tourism industry, but are also much more enduring – and satisfying – than the stuff you have to wrap.
Here are some of our favorite ideas.
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Send them to a chocolate factory
You can stock up on boxes of Cadbury Roses when they are on sale at the supermarket. Or you can get more creative gift certificates for a local chocolatier.
Wellington and Ocho Chocolate Factory in Dunedin offer gift certificates starting at $ 10, which can be used to purchase their artisan chocolate online or at their outlet stores. Auckland’s Miann Chocolate Factory also sells gift cards which can be used at any of their stores, or you can purchase experiences such as chocolate factory tours, snacks, and desserts to give as gifts.
Offer them a private bath
The feeling of bliss that comes from soaking in a private hot tub in a scenic location is likely to linger much longer than a bath bomb.
Queenstown’s Hot Onsen Pools are the ultimate hot tub experience, perched on a bluff overlooking the Shotover River. Gift certificates are available for purchase on their website, starting at $ 87.50 for an adult. Secret Spot Hot Tubs in Rotorua also offers gift certificates, starting at $ 41 for an adult.
Waiho Hot Tubs at Franz Josef has vouchers starting at $ 89 for two adults, but you can also give them a full vacation, with a two-person bath, stay, and dinner package available for $ 249.
Pamper them at the spa
Scented candles and soaps are fine, but after the year we’ve had, maybe it would be better to send them to professionals for some real relaxation.
The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua is a haven of relaxation, with its mineral pools for swimming and a wide range of massages and treatments to book. You can purchase a gift certificate online starting at $ 50 (and all therapies include a swim in the pools beforehand).
Show them the stars
If you want to treat them to something sparkling and romantic, instead of giving them a gem, consider a stargazing tour.
The Mackenzie region is one of the world’s most magical stargazing locations, best known alongside experts from the Tekapo-based Dark Sky Project. Their summit experience, which takes place at the Mount John Observatory, costs $ 149 and can be purchased as an open date gift certificate.
Great Barrier Island is another internationally recognized dark sky sanctuary, and here you can stargazing on the beach with Good Heavens. Their group stargazing experience costs $ 120 per adult and is available for purchase as a gift card.
Throw them off a ledge
Do you have a daredevil in the family? Or maybe even an irritating sibling who wouldn’t mind nudging affectionately from a high place?
AJ Hackett Bungy offers “Bungy Bucks” starting at $ 50 that can be spent on an epic adventure, or you can purchase a voucher for a specific experience at their Auckland, Taupō, or Queenstown locations. Whether they’re scaling the Auckland Harbor Bridge or leaping 134 meters to New Zealand’s highest bungy in the Nevis Valley, it’s bound to be a gift they won’t soon forget.
Take them on a wine or beer tour
A bottle of wine or a box of craft beers is always a solid gift option, but a winery or brewery tour will give them a whole new appreciation for their favorite drinks.
In Wellington, Craft Beer Tours offers a guided tour of some of the capital’s best breweries, with behind-the-scenes access and plenty of tasting opportunities.
They also offer tours of Brewtown, Upper Hutt’s craft beer wonderland.
Gift certificates are available for all experiences, starting at $ 135 for a half-day brewery tour.
In Queenstown, Appellation Wine Tours is offering a special Christmas voucher, offering $ 50 off a selection of wine tours purchased before December 24.
Their classic wine tour through the Gibbston wine country now costs $ 119 per person, with a 12-month window to redeem vouchers.
Surprise them with a mystery picnic
Your friends and family in Auckland may have mastered the art of picnicking over the past couple of months, but they won’t have had a picnic as epic as this.
Village Picnic, based in Matakana, offers mystery picnics, which make a fun day out for a couple or a family. The experience is part a treasure hunt, part a food tour as you stroll the Matakana Coast, collecting artisanal treats along the way to enjoy at a secret picnic destination. Everything is prepaid, so it’s a great gift – the experience starts from $ 165 for a couple.
Teach them something new
If learning a new skill is likely to be one of their New Year’s resolutions, give them a head start by offering them a fun workshop or class.
Most people would love to know how to surf, and there’s no better place to learn than one of the country’s top surfing destinations. Raglan Surf School offers lessons on Ngarunui Beach, suitable for beginners, with a two-hour group session starting at $ 84, which can be purchased as a gift certificate.
A cooking class is an activity where they will reap the rewards long after the lesson. They could do a lot worse than legendary chef Peter Gordon as a teacher at his Homeland cooking school in Auckland. Vouchers can be purchased for the classes, which cost $ 145 for adults and $ 100 for children.
Book them a special stay
Who doesn’t like to spend the night in lush accommodation? Many accommodation providers offer gift certificates that can be used at all of their properties, or you can choose a more specific stay.
Make them feel like a prince or a princess at Dunedin’s iconic Larnach Castle, with three unique accommodation options within the park. Gift cards are available for purchase at a value of your choice, which can be used for any of the Larnach Castle experiences.
In Wellington, Pipinui Point is sure to impress – this private getaway is perched on top of a cliff above the Cook Strait, with one of the most spectacular outdoor soaking tubs in the country. Gift certificates are available for a minimum of $ 575 (the starting price for an overnight stay during the winter months).
Let them choose
If you have no idea what they would like, Chuffed Gifts could be the perfect solution.
Donors can choose from a range of experience packages, starting at $ 99. The recipient can then select an experience within that package, with dozens of activities offered across New Zealand.
Each gift comes in a fun, recyclable tube, which contains a booklet explaining how it works and all the experiences available – so there’s still something tangible to put under the tree.
Stay Safe: New Zealand is currently subject to restrictions related to Covid-19. The latest travel tips are available at: covid19.govt.nz.
Offer an experience: Tourism New Zealand has more gift experience ideas on their new Gifting Hub. See newzealand.com/nz/gift-vouchers
This story was produced as part of an editorial partnership with Tourism New Zealand. Learn more about our partnership content here.