Best Places to Visit in New Zealand
Nature has shaped New Zealand with the surreal beauty of a movie set. Few destinations boast so many wonderful natural wonders, all packed into such a small area. Snow-capped peaks, sparkling coves, coastal glaciers, rainforests, fjords, and fish-rich rivers are some of the treasures travelers can discover. In Rotorua, one of the world’s largest geothermal fields, visitors can witness the power that fuels these landscapes in bubbling mud pools and gushing springs.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in New Zealand and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand
Here are the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in New Zealand:
1. Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site that preserves some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Glaciers carved this dramatic landscape, the famous Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Doubtful Sound. Here, visitors can explore gushing waterfalls, offshore islands, pristine rainforests, expansive lakes, and rugged mountain peaks.
Not surprisingly, the park is a hiker’s paradise, with some of the best hiking trails in the country, including the famous Milford Trail. Sea kayaking is a popular way to explore the fjord, and visitors can enjoy a scenic flight over the park to get a bird’s-eye view of its breathtaking beauty.
Nestled between the sparkling Lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped peaks of the Remarkables, Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure capital and one of the country’s top destinations for international tourists. Bungee jumping, jet boating, whitewater rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and alpine skiing are just some of the adrenaline-pumping activities here, and visitors can explore the stunning mountain scenery on an excellent network of hiking trails.
Queenstown offers all things physical with great hotels, spas, restaurants, galleries and shops as well as adventure sports. It’s also an ideal base for sightseeing tours to the Central Otago region, where visitors can explore the gold mining towns and landscape of Middle-earth from the popular Lord of the Rings movie.
3. North Island Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is located in the heart of the North Island, just a few kilometers from Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. A dual World Heritage Site due to its spectacular volcanic features and importance to Maori culture, the volcanic peaks in parts of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu were gifted to the people of New Zealand to preserve in 1887 by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV. area holy land.
One of the oldest national parks in the world, Tongariro is a picturesque landscape with towering volcanoes, turquoise lakes, arid plateaus, alpine meadows and hot springs. The park’s highlight is the Tongariro Alpine Pass, one of the most popular day trips in the country.
Fun things to do here include camping, enjoying the park’s many biking and hiking trails, and spending time at the fun visitor center.
Located on the turbulent Pacific Ring of Fire, Rotorua is one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. This is the land where the land speaks. Boiling mud pools, hissing geysers, craters and steaming hot springs unleash the forces that engender much of New Zealand’s dramatic landscape.
Visitors can explore these geothermal wonders on foot, soak in steaming mineral springs, visit a variety of interesting sites, and learn about the region’s rich Maori history and culture.
Explorers will find plenty to do, too. Some of the activities offered are skydiving, tobogganing and mountain biking. Trout fishing is also popular, and Rotorua is the gateway to the Ruapehu Mountain ski areas.
Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is a popular tourist attraction with its colorful hot springs and famous Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser.
5. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers
Among the most accessible glaciers in the world, the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are the main attractions in the magnificent Westerlande Poutini National Park. Two glaciers flow close to sea level from some of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps, and the mild coastal climate here makes it easy for visitors to explore them on foot.
Guided walks lead to a series of stunning thermal pools alongside twisted frozen landscapes with ice caves and peaks at the foot of the glacier. For a bird’s-eye view, seaplanes and helicopters take visitors to the top of these vast tongues of ice.
6. Abel Tasman National Park and Beach
The Abel Tasman Beach Walk in Abel Tasman National Park is one of the best hikes in New Zealand. Winding along the sparkling Tasman Bay from Malahau to Parting Point, this 51km scenic hike is located in one of the South Island’s sunniest areas. Visitors can snorkel or canoe in secluded coves along the way; you can enjoy excursions with the chance to see fur seals, dolphins, penguins and a variety of birds, hike through cool forests and take in panoramic views from the rugged coastal cliffs.
Photographers will also appreciate the many weathered rock formations, especially Cracked Apple Rock, a massive granite boulder that split in half. The hike takes about three days, and accommodation ranges from campgrounds to cottages and luxury private cabins. Sea kayaking is also a popular way to explore this beautiful coast.
7. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
In the heart of the Southern Alps, New Zealand’s highest peak rises above the mountain landscape of Aoraki National Park, also known as Mount Cook National Park. More than 40% of the park is covered by glaciers, and the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook, and the tallest, Tasman Glacier, are located within its borders, making it a top destination for mountaineering. Sir Edmund Hillary trained here for his legendary ascent of Mount Everest.
Nature lovers will appreciate the diversity of flora and fauna, with more than 300 alpine plants and 40 bird species. Mount Cook Village is an ideal base for exploring the park and arranging scenic flights, ski tours, heli-skiing, hunting, hiking and stargazing tours.
Located on the sunny side of Hawke’s Bay, Napier is known for its food and Art Deco architecture. After a powerful earthquake destroyed the town in 1931, it was rebuilt in the Spanish Mission style and Art Deco design for which Miami Beach is known. Fun things visitors can do today include taking a self-guided tour, visiting the buildings, some of which are decorated with Maori patterns, or spending time on Napier Beach.
Along the Marine, Parade promenade stands Pania of the Reef, the town’s famous Maori mythological statue. Napier is also a foodie paradise. The gourmet restaurants here specialize in fresh produce from the region, and there is a popular farmer’s market in town. Nearby attractions include hiking trails and the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
With its two glittering harbors, the “city of sails” Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and the world’s most populous Polynesian city (population = 1.6 million). Golden and black sand beaches, rainforest hiking trails, picturesque coves, islands and volcanoes surround the city, making it an ideal base for day trips and wilderness adventures.
To appreciate Auckland’s stunning location, visitors can zoom in on the 328-meter Sky Tower for stunning views of the city and hinterland. Other fun things to do in Auckland include great food, a vibrant arts scene, and a renovated waterfront district full of boutiques and restaurants.
10. Bay of Islands
A 3-hour drive north of Auckland, the beautiful Bay of Islands is one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations. Set in sparkling coves, over 144 islands are a haven for sailboats and yachts.
Penguins, dolphins, whales and marlins live in these fertile waters, and the area is a popular sports fishing spot. Visitors can kayak along the coast, hike the many island trails, swim in secluded coves, visit Cape Brett and its famous rock formations, and explore subtropical forests where kauri trees grow. The region’s quaint towns such as Russell, Opua, Paihia and Kerikeri are an ideal starting point for exploring this scenic bay.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in New Zealand. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in New Zealand, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.