New Zealand is undoubtedly a unique country, nestled in the Pacific, far from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world.
When it comes to its nature and the outdoors, New Zealand is unlike anywhere else. Uninhabited until relatively recently on a world scale, and still scarcely populated compared to most other countries, many of New Zealand’s landscapes are still pristine.
In one day a person can literally go from surf to snow. One can hike a snowy mountain, swim on an exotic beach, play in vast sand dunes, or get lost in tropical forest – all within a few hours of one another.
We have put together our list of the Top 10 things you need to see in New Zealand on your next holiday or vacation.
Did we miss your favourite spot? Tell us in the comments below.
10, Ninety Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach is actually 103km (or 64 miles) of beach, and runs from Ahipara to almost the top of the North Island.
The golden-sand stretches for kilometers and there’s every chance no more than a handful of people will be there to share it with you.
Dune surfing down the 100m Te Paki sand dunes on the way to Cape Reinga is exhilarating. Toboggans can be hired, or a boogie board will do.
If you have never surfed on the sand, here is the perfect time to try it.
The capital of adventure where it all begun.
New Zealand’s favourite visitor destination is undoubtedly Queenstown. The city’s stunning scenery, huge range of activities, and renowned warm welcome cemented NZ’s tourism reputation in the world arena.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, Queenstowns’s natural beauty and the unique energy of the region create the perfect backdrop for a holiday full of adventure, exploration, or relaxation.
The city has a beating pulse all year round. During winter visitors are drawn to the plethora of snow-based activities, while during summer adrenaline junkies are attracted to the wide range of adventure sports from canyoning to bungee jumping.
Queenstown is also an important base camp for anyone who wants to hike the nearby Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks.
8, Bay Of Islands
The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty & history. For lovers of beaches and water activities, it’s paradise.
The best way to discover these 144 islands is by boat, yacht or kayak. The Bay Of Islands is also world-renowned for scuba diving: go there for its coral reefs and colourful variety of fishes and sea life, including friendly dolphins and seals.
7, The Coromandel
Internationally renowned for its natural beauty, green pastures, rainforests, and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to escape.
The Coromandel is a fabulous subtropical rainforest area with pristine golden beaches perfect for chilling, sunbathing and all kinds of water fun.
Full of adventurous tracks and trails, there is plenty to do besides admiring lush scenery.
Don’t miss out on the beauty of Cathedral Cove, or Hot Water Beach, where you can dig a hole into sand and bath in the natural hot spring just a few meters from the sea.
6, Tongariro National Park
Covering almost 80,000 hectares, Tongariro was gifted to the nation by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV in 1887. Just over a hundred years later, the park was awarded dual World Heritage Site status.
There is no excuse to miss this place when you are in New Zealand. This vast, active volcanic national park is home to a Mt. Ruapehu, aka Mt. Doom in The Lord Of The Rings.
If you go there do not miss out on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This popular one-day tramping track has astonishing views of Emerald Lakes, volcanic fields, and Mt. Ngauruhoe.
Rotorua is famous for its Maori cultural experience and its countless natural steaming hot springs, exploding mud pools, spurting geysers, native exotic forests with great tracks, lakes, and warm, welcoming people.
Catch a whiff of Rotorua’s sulphur-rich, asthmatic airs and you’ve already got a taste of NZ’s most dynamic thermal area. Definitely a must see on your list of places to visit in NZ.
4, The Capital, Wellington
Windy Welly’s multilayered city streets are jam-packed with treats. For starters it’s lovely to look at: gorgeous Victorian timber architecture laces the bushy hillsides above the harbour.
Wellington is one of our favourite cities in NZ: the city is rich in culture, arts, and good vibes. The city centre is absolutely stunning with nice buildings, great places to dine, shop and so many galleries and museums.
The surrounds of Wellington are also wonderful, with views of the Wellington Harbour and Fitzroy Bay.
3, Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and its world-famous coast track.
The National Park is a popular holiday destination for locals as well as tourists from all over the world. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is well-loved because it is accessible and not too demanding for people of all ages.
After all, who could resist walking along one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand, tropical bushes on one side and the ultimate opportunity to camp directly on one of many beaches when you reach the end. Kayaking and water taxi is also available in this area.
Blessed with a mild climate, golden beaches and lush coastal native bush, the Abel Tasman Coast Track has it all.
2, Arthur’s Pass
Arthur’s Pass is the highest and most spectacular pass across the Southern Alps, rising more than 900 metres.
The remote area is a good stop-over when traveling between East Coast and the West Coast. Other than waterfalls and great camping spots, you’ll also love encountering unique mountains parrots called Kea. These are “NZ’s friendly parrot”, which some say are too smart for their own good.
The Kea will go after your backpack, comfortably unzip it, and take anything they want, especially your food.
We strongly recommend to hike the Avalanche Peak, as it offers astonishing views of the mountains, however it is quite demanding and for experienced trampers only.
1, Mount Cook National Park
Nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s majestic South Island, you will find Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie.
The region is famed for its incredibly clear starry nights, brilliant sunny days, remarkable turquoise blue lakes, valleys of emerald green, and its snow-capped mountains.
Home to Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt. Cook National Park also contains the unbelievably blue glacial lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. The colour of these lakes, especially the Pukaki, will blow your mind.
Mount Cook village has some easily accessible walking tracks, and we recommend to try walk Hooker Valley Track, which ends at the glacier lake with the flowing icebergs in it right in front of almighty Mt. Cook.