New Zealand is notorious for diverse geographic features, hikes with captivating scenery, and non-stop adventure. No matter how long you are here these are 16 great reasons to visit New Zealand. Start crossing places off your bucket list!
1. Climb Roys Peak in Wanaka
Roys Peak is just a 10-minute drive from Wanaka and about a 2-3 hour walk to the summit. The hike is a steady climb on a wide trail that zig-zags, showing stunning views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring.
2. Experience Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World
Whether you want to try bungee jumping, zip-lining, skydiving or just an awesome hike with great views, Queenstown is bursting with energy and activities. Do some shopping, hike The Remarkables mountains, try one of the many hipster brunch spots, or grab a bite at the famous Fergberger. Hike 45 minutes up or take the gondola for a spectacular view of the town and surrounding mountain ranges.
3. Road Trip in Fiordland
Milford Sound is probably the number one tourist attraction in New Zealand. It is an incredible sight, even when it’s cloudy, it becomes almost mystical. If you are lucky enough to visit on a clear day, you will be blessed with incredible views of waterfalls and lush green cliff lines. Take a boat tour (Jucy Cruises for 45$ is a great deal) to see the sound itself, or stop for a scenic hike along the highway.
4. Go Wine Touring
New Zealand is famous for its wine and there are many wineries to visit throughout the country. Try Marlborough or Central Otago for an exquisite Pinot Noir, Gisborne for delightful Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, and Hawke’s Bay for high quality Cabernet and Merlot.
Learn more about wine tastings in Central Otago.
5. Explore Waiheke Island
Waiheke Island is the perfect day trip, just a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. Take a wine tour, walk along the coast, or relax at the many secluded beaches on the island. It’s a popular place to go so be sure to book a ferry ticket in advance.
6. Sightsee in Wellington, the Most Windy City in the World
There are so many things to see and do in the nations capital. Wellington is a compact city with sandy beaches, a harbor and waterfront promenade, museums, and a varied food scene. Check out the bohemian Cuba Street for hipster shops and delicious eats. Visit the Te Papa museum to learn about local history and culture, and hike or drive up Mount Victoria for fantastic views of the city and harbor.
7. Hang out in Dunedin, a City with Scottish Roots
Named New Zealand’s most beautiful city, Dunedin is filled with eclectic and unique architecture. In fact, the very name ‘Dunedin’ is derived from the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Take a self-guided tour through the city’s graffiti, mountain bike through Signal Hill, and pickup fresh produce at the famous Saturday Farmer’s Market.
8. Explore the town of Nelson
Nelson is a sunny, underrated city on the South island’s West Coast. It is home to exciting nightlife and craft beers, challenging hiking and biking, quirky hostels, and the center point of New Zealand. Plan a day trip to Abel Tasman, visit the antique and culinary delights at the Saturday Farmers Market, or spend the day tanning at Tahunanui beach.
9. Get a Working Holiday Visa
If you are lucky enough to be from a country that takes part in this scheme, this 1-year visa program is a great way to experience the country and make money too. Common jobs for travelers include include working in hostels, hotels, cafés, restaurants, farms, fruit picking, and many more.
10. Hike Hike Hike!
New Zealand is a country made for hiking. From short nature walks in the woods to a trail that spans the length of the entire country, there is something here for everyone! For the most incredible views make sure to add to your itinerary Mt Cook, Abel Tasman, Tongariro Crossing, Milford Sound, and Fox Glacier.
11. Hike Mount Cook
Mount Cook (Aoraki) is the tallest peak in New Zealand. The village is situated beside Lake Pukaki and provides a comfortable base for outdoor adventuring. Noted by mountaineers to be the best climbing in Oceania, this is also the perfect spot for a helicopter ride, sea kayaking, stargazing, trekking, and mountain biking.
12. Walk Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers
As well as mountains, lakes, beaches, and fjords, New Zealand is also home to a few glaciers! Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are located on the south island and definitely worth a visit. If you’re on a short trip and can’t decide which one to visit, weigh the pros and cons of each glacier walk.
13. Soak in Rotorua’s Thermal Baths
Rotorua is one of the best towns to visit on the North Island. The local geothermal activity makes it smell a bit like rotten eggs but don’t let that deter you from visiting. There are lots of activities and restaurants to choose from – grab breakfast or a burger at the Fat Dog Cafe before soaking your feet at thermal Kuirau Park or indulging at the luxurious Polynesian Spa.
14. Learn about the Past, Present and Future with a Maori Cultural Experience
As the original habitants of New Zealand, Maori culture is a fundamental and recognized part of this country’s history. To get a better insight into indigenous traditions, a trip to a Maori village is a must. For about 130NZD per person you will learn about Maori history, tattoos, beliefs, see a cultural performance, and feast on a traditional hangi meal.
15. Have a beach getaway in Punakaiki
This small community on the west coast of the south island is a the perfect beach break. Tourists are drawn here for the famous Pancake Rocks (layers of limestone that look like stacked crepes). While you’re here take a walk through the caves or take a short day hike in Paparoa National Park. For easy beach access stay at the Beach Hostel or Te Nikau Retreat – the bright red sunsets are unforgettable.
16. Relax and Unwind at Wanaka Lavender Farm
Although not a stop in a typical guidebook, a visit to a Lavender Farm is a unique, worthwhile and peaceful New Zealand experience. Relax completely as you walk through rows of lavender fields. The 10 acre farm in Wanaka is just a few minutes drive from the town complete with flower gardens and a gift shop with lavender ice cream, local honey and lavender scented creams and beauty products.
learn more about the best and awesomest places to travel in New Zealand.