New Zealand is a photogenic and friendly country, offering its visitors with a plethora of adventure and exploration. The islands are home to mountains, beaches, thermal regions, dense forests and glaciers. This is a place where the modernity of the cities mixes with the traditional Maori culture and charming villages. Here are the top locations in the country that you must visit.
Called as the “City of Sails”, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and is the most populous Polynesian city on earth. The city is a perfect base for adventures and day trips with picturesque coves, black sand beaches, and rainforest hiking trails with volcanoes surrounding the city. You can check out the Sky Tower and get a superb view of the city. It’s well known for top-notch dining areas in the country where you can try the best delicacies in the world.
There’s no doubt that New Zealand is the home of adventure, and Queenstown is definitely its capital. A place where you can do it all: from skydiving, bungee jumping, lunging, and mountain-biking to a lot of other sports. No matter how many times you visit this place, leaving this city would be very difficult for anyone. If there’s only one place you want to visit, this is the place to visit first.
Even though the city has survived four large earthquakes between September 2010 to December 2011, you will be surprised to see the city’s rebirth everywhere. Having said that; many of city’s original attractions are still intact. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a major attraction in the city with a huge network of walking tracks, horticultural displays and conservatories. The garden is also home to some of the oldest, tallest and largest trees in the country!
Sitting on top of a volcanic plate, the town is one of the most unique places in the world, welcoming you with a strong smell of sulphur. The visitors consider this place as not only unique but also something which is out of this world. It is a geothermal wonderland, with bright colored lakes, hot springs, exploding geysers and steaming craters.
The seaside capital is unlike any other city having more restaurants per square metre than NYC. A little city with a huge personality, Wellington is full of art and character. Whether you like to mingle with new friends or want to stroll down the scenic places, you’ll have a lot to do here.
Home to cascading waterfalls, jagged cliffs and a mysterious air (as described by tourists), Milford Sound is a breath-taking place in the South East corner of the country. It almost rains 90% of the year, but if you are lucky enough, you might get a glimpse of sunlight peaking though the spikey rocks. The place has raw beauty, something which you will always cherish for the rest of your life.
Dunedin has a culture that includes a strong Scottish influence and has a heritage that is vast and rich. This place will be a wonderful destination if you have an inclination towards history and a liking for architecture along with a desire to explore some beautiful coastline teamed up with the wildlife.
Over these years, Taupo has evolved into an action-adventure center offering a variety of activities like river rafting, boating and hiking for travellers who want to explore New Zealand’s natural beauty. Just like Rotorua, this region is full of geothermal activity with hot springs, steam vents and wild colored silica terraces.
A popular tourist attraction, Fox glaciers and Franz Josef are among the most accessible glaciers in the world. Both of these flow from the highest peaks of the Southern Alps coming towards the sea level where the visitors can explore them on foot because of the gentle coastal climate. For those of you who like the aerial view, there are seaplanes and helicopters available to take you on a guided tour over these vast landscapes of ice.
If you love the outdoors, there’s nothing that Nelson can’t offer to enjoy. Located on the north-west coast of the south island, Nelson offers a blend of environments – there are numerous water activities as it is in the lovely Tasman Bay and on the other hand proximity to the Abel Tasman National Park opens up huge opportunities for outdoor adventures.
Hamilton is a popular family holiday destination located in the North Island. It is not as crowded as other places and that’s the reason families love to come and explore this part of the country. There are several well-known attractions on its outskirts which are just a short distance from the town. The Waikato museum is a popular attraction in the beautiful Hamilton region displaying numerous exhibits throughout the year.
Be it winter or summer months, behind the pure waters and serene atmosphere of the wonderful Lake Wanaka, lies a destination that is always brimming with adventure and exploration opportunities. A holiday destination which is favoured by the New Zealand locals, the Wanaka region is centred around the glassy and pristine waters of the lake along with its adjacent snow dusted mountain peaks – making this the best getaway destination!
Situated on the northern tip of the country’s South Island, the Marlborough region provides a mesmerising blend of culinary culture and aquatic scenery to its visitors. The place is all about food and dining. The region is popular for producing some of the best Sauvignon Blancs in all of southern hemisphere. The stunning spectacle of Marlborough Sounds along with fresh seafood will surely blow your mind away.
Called the Art Deco capital of the world, Napier is also a heaven for foodies! This place is famous for its Art Deco architecture and gourmet food. After the town was destroyed by a massive earthquake, it was rebuild in the Art Deco style. Today, these nationally protected monuments are so well preserved that they give New Zealand a colourful and unique character.
One of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, the stunning Bay of Islands is just a three hour drive north of Auckland. This place is a haven for yachting and sailing as it comprises of more than 144 islands. It is also a very popular spot for fishing. You can go for hiking on the many island trails, kayak along the sea coast, explore sub-tropical forests or bask in the secluded coves.
Located at the North western tip of the South Island, Abel Tasman is a spectacular National Park blessed with rich vegetation, golden beaches and cleanest blue waters. There are numerous ways to see this beautiful park; one of the best ways is to kayak around the various coves. You can also hike along the coastal track which can take from few hours to almost 5 days.
The charming and beautiful village of Kaikoura is a place for wildlife enthusiasts, birders and people who love sea food. Renowned for its mussels, crayfish and other seafood delights: Kaikoura also offers exceptional coastal hikes and amazing whale watching tours.
This small charming township in the Fiordland region is undoubtedly among the best escape destinations in the country that also serves as the most popular gateway to all the fascinating wonders of the Fiordland National park. The town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and offers a range of accommodations and restaurants coupled with tours and activities to explore the surroundings.
A harbour-side city in the Bay of Plenty region on the North Island, Tauranga is a tourist’s dream travel destination with a rich history and beautiful harbour. Tauranga is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and has the fastest growing population in the country. This place is a must for people who love to spend time with friends and family. If you have kids, don’t forget to take them to the Marshalls Animal Park – they’ll love the place!
Only a 45 minute ferry ride from Auckland CBD, Waiheke island is a perfect tropical getaway without getting too far. A place with white sand beaches and beautiful coastline, the island is just picture perfect. Adding to that, it produces some of the country’s finest wines. Each and every vineyard offers something unique and different from the rest. Enjoying the sunset with your friends, sipping some fine wines is something which will make you love New Zealand more.
The most French town in New Zealand, Akaroa is a marine life hub with a French flare. This place is famous for dolphins, the landscapes formed by volcanoes, beautiful sceneries and for its heritage trails. Cruising the harbour can be a great option if you want to experience some wildlife and also see beautiful sceneries.
From cultural attractions to historical sites, there is a mix of various things to do in Cape Reinga. One of the prime attractions is the Lighthouse from where you can look at the entire sea. Other attractions include the Te Paki Recreation Reserve, Gumdiggers Park and the Ancient Kauri Kingdom.
Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve. What does it mean? That means that you can gaze the dazzling sky all night. A 3 hour drive south-west of Christchurch, Lake Tekapo has a milky-turquoise color which it gets from the fine rock-flour which is suspended in the waters.
Here’s another great holiday destination for your children and family. Blenheim has a lovely sunny climate with dry and hot summers. This place is also the country’s largest winemaking region. There are a wide range of fun family entertainment options along with numerous children’s activities that can be enjoyed in a safe environment.
Greymouth is the largest town on the west coast of South Island and has a history of gold mining, which you can check out at the local museum. The local brewery called Monteith’s is a somewhat a New Zealand legend now: it runs special tours that include tasting sessions as well.
Paihia is definitely a playground for backpackers who love to do budget friendly activities. The place has got waterfalls, native forests and stunning beaches. Whether it’s exploring the bay or checking out the historical ground in Russell, you will bump into some great adventure. Having said that, it’s not just all about the bay. You can even head inland and explore plenty of walks to get a good view of the Bay of Islands.
Situated in the South Island area, Hokitika Gorge always looks vibrant blue due to a natural cocktail of river plankton and glacier water. You need to be careful as the water is freezing cold with strong currents. The place has several walking trails and a lot of areas to explore.
Back in the days of European settlement, Whanganui was an important trading centre as the river served as a highway for the transport of people and goods. Now considered as a beautiful river side vacation destination, Whanganui offers a wide range of accommodation options including campgrounds and parking sites where you can park your vehicles and do camping. Check out the Whanganui Regional Museum which houses an incredible selection of antiques and artefacts.
There’s something for everyone here. So planning your next trip to Oamaru in the Waitaki district in North Otago will not be overwhelming for you. There a loads of natural and cultural attractions and activities. This town will charm you with its elegant Victorian and proud heritage. The place is home to both yellow-eyed and blue penguin colony- the best time of seeing the wee chaps in just before the sunset.
Cascading down from more than 3000 metres above the sea level, finishing at its own terminal lake – the Tasman Glacier is a massive 27 kilometres long and 4 kilometres wide glacier. You can either take the Terminal lake cruise or the Tasman valley 4WD and Argo tours to explore and enjoy the adventure within the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.
The list is exhaustive, however we have compiled the best places to visit in New Zealand and explore its sheer beauty and elegance. Did we miss any place? Share your thoughts and experience with us!
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