New Zealand is among the few places on this planet that brag numerous profoundly shocking natural wonders within a small area. From snow-capped mountain crests and coastal glaciers to gleaming coves and fish-rich rivers, the country has everything that can make a traveler happy.
The country’s striking topography makes it a wonderful spot for vibrant sporting activities. Some outdoor escapades to enjoy include mountain bicycle riding, hiking, bungee jumping (the country has one of the loftiest bungee jumps), skydiving, jet boating, and white water rafting.
Traveling around New Zealand is easy. Popular with self-drive holidays, the country has a wide range of accommodations, from charming bed-and-breakfast inns to some of the most deluxe hotels in the world. Here are some of the best-ranking attractions any visitor shouldn’t miss out on their next visit to the Land of the Long White Cloud.
Bay of Islands
Only three hours away from Auckland, the gorgeous Bay of Islands is among the most favored holiday spots in New Zealand. The sparkling bay has at least 144 islands, making it an awesome place for yachting and sailing.
Whales, dolphins, penguins, and marlin call the waters home. No wonder the area is well-liked for sport-fishing. That’s not all there is to do here. Travelers are free to hike on one of the several island trails, tour the Hole in the Rock (a popular rock formation) or Cape Brett, and see Kauri trees in the subtropical forests.
If you want to explore the picturesque Bay of Islands exhaustively, then consider using one of the following pleasantly old-fashioned towns in the area as your base: Kerikeri, Opua, Russel, and Paihia.
Nestled between the Remarkable’s snowy summits and Lake Wakatipu’s gleaming shores, Queenstown is not only one of the top international traveler’s destinations in New Zealand, but also the escapade capital of the country. The region offers numerous adrenaline-fuelled activities such as rock climbing, bungee jumping, downhill skiing, paragliding, hiking, and mountain bicycle riding.
Besides the adventure activities, Queenstown provides several amenities to visitors, including first-rate hotels, restaurants, spas, shops, and galleries. The resort town is also a wonderful place to plan a sightseeing trip to the Central Otago area.
Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park
Home to some of the most eye-catching scenery in the Land of the Long White Cloud, Fiordland National Park is recognized as a World Heritage Site. Glaciers fashioned the landscape in the area, producing the famed fjords of Dusky, Doubtful Sounds, and Milford. The area offers several features for exploration, including rugged mountain peaks, old-growth rain forests, expansive lakes, offshore islands, and effusive cascades.
Home to some of the best hiking trails in the country, such as the celebrated Milford Track, the park is a lovely spot for hikers. Visitors often explore the fjords through sea kayaking. You can also opt to get a bird’s-eye view of the park by taking a flight atop and around the park.
Tongariro National Park
Located at the heart of North Island, this park is a two-in-one World Heritage Site because of its breathtaking volcanic features and sacredness according to the Maori culture. The proximity of Tongariro National Park to the country’s largest lake, Lake Taupo, makes it easier for visitors to enjoy an additional feature during their tour to the park.
Turquoise lakes, sky-high volcanoes, hot springs, alpine pasturelands, and desert plateaus contribute to the great charm of Tongariro, one of the world’s oldest national parks. The best part of the park is one of the most famed day hikes in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The park offers a fascinating visitor center, a couple of campsites, and several hiking trails.
On the turbulent Circum-Pacific Belt, Rotorua is a very active geothermal region. The region’s volcanic craters, mud pools, thermal springs, and geysers are constantly changing the landscape of much of the country.
Taking a tour of these geographical wonders and passing near hot mineral springs is always a thrilling experience for visitors. Visiting the wide range of enthralling attractions in the area can be a great way to discover and appreciate Maori history and culture.
Besides the geothermal attractions, Rotorua has a lot to offer adventurers. Some of the sporting activities to enjoy in the area include mountain biking, skydiving, luging, and trout fishing.
Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers
Flowing from some of the loftiest mountain crests in the Southern Alps to almost sea level, Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers are the most important attractions in amazing Westland Tai Puotini National Park. Visitors can easily access and explore the two icy features, thanks to the cool coastal climate.
Following guided hikes, visitors can get to the twisted, iced landscapes of caves and summits at the glaciers’ foot, in addition to several captivating hot pools. You can choose a seaplane or helicopter flight to get an aerial view of these massive bodies of ice.
Abel Tasman National Park
While it is the smallest national park in the land, Abel Tasman National Park is a coastal paradise that’s quite easy to access. The highlight of the park is the Abel Tasman Coast Track, one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks.
Curving along gleaming Tasman Bay from Marahau, all the way to Separation Point, the picturesque hike spans 51 kilometers, with secluded bays on the way where visitors can enjoy yachting and kayaking. They can also take a tour that allows them to spot a wide variety of birds and fishes such as penguins, seals, and dolphins. Hiking through the forests and rocky coastal cliffs in the region offers hikers opportunities to enjoy sweeping views of the amazing landscape.
Split Apple Rock is a huge granite boulder split in two. Together with the several weathered rock formations in the area, it offers a memorable experience for photographers. Lodging in one of the campgrounds, homespun huts, or lavish private lodges allows a visitor to complete the hike that usually takes three days.
Aoraki National Park
Bordering the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook National Park or Aoraki National Park has mountainous landscapes that make it a premier destination for mountain climbing activities. Glaciers cover at least 40% of the park, with the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in the country, lying within its borders.
If you’re a nature lover, you will enjoy the extensive variety of flora and fauna in the park. Aoraki National Park is home to at least 40 bird species and 300 mountain-growing plant species. From Mount Cook Village, you can explore the park and organize activities like hiking, stargazing trips, flights, and hunting.
Popular for its gourmet dishes and Art Deco architecture, Napier is located in Hawke’s Bay’s sunny region. The destruction that the city experienced in 1931 from a mighty earthquake seems to have been a blessing in disguise. Rebuilding plans focused on applying the Art Deco design (which is also popular in Miami Beach) and Spanish Mission style.
Currently, you can do a host of things such as taking self-guided tours to see the beautiful buildings and admiring the waters at Napier Beach. Some of the buildings have Maori motif embellishments. Nearby Napier are hiking trails that you can try out to keep fit and enjoy the several things the area has for your comfort.
The food scene in Napier is also great, with the gastronome restaurants in the area specializing in using the region’s fresh produce. The town also hosts famous farmers’ markets. You may also like visiting the Maori mythology-based Pania of the Reef, a famous statue in the town lying along the Marine Parade esplanade, or watching Cape Kidnappers’ gannet colony.
Also called the “City of Sails,” Auckland has two sparkling harbors. This city is a perfect place for wilderness escapades and day excursions, thanks to the features that surround it, including black and blond sand beaches, volcanoes, islands, hiking trails, and scenic bays.
Go up the 328-meter-high Sky Tower to get breathtaking views. You will certainly appreciate the city’s impressive location. Auckland also offers several other great things. The city has a vibrant arts scene, first-rate dining options, and numerous boutiques and restaurants that fill a renovated waterfront district.