10 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

Comprised of two main islands, North Island and South Island, New Zealand is an incredible destination to discover. Packed with unforgettable landscapes, breathtaking scenery, and an unparalleled combination of lakes, mountains, and lush greenery, the island nation has to be seen to be truly understood.

New Zealand pretty much needs to be on your list if you’re at all an adventure sports enthusiast – or even if you’re just interested in trying them out. Bungee jumping, mountaineering, skydiving, paragliding, mountain biking, kayaking, canyoning, parachuting, caving, zip lining… Let’s just say that the list is endless when it comes to what outdoor activities you can get up to in this far-flung destination.

You can get to grips with adventure sports in Queenstown, surrounded by mountain and lake scenery. Then there’s the dramatic Fiordland – part of the landscape that made up Peter Jackson’s movie interpretation of Middle Earth for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (you can even visit The Shire!). Get to know Maori culture at Rotorua, and if you’re missing city life, head to sunny Auckland – the largest city in New Zealand. Here’s a look a the best places to visit in New Zealand:

10. Stewart Island [SEE MAP]

Stewart Island

4nitsirk / Flickr

Stewart Island is the third-largest island of New Zealand, and it is found even further south than South Island. Most of the island is forested and undeveloped with over 80 per cent of the island is set aside as the Rakiura National Park, giving you the chance to explore the wild side of New Zealand.

Most of the pastimes on Stewart Island have to do with the outdoors, including hiking, camping and birdwatching. One of the most popular treks on Stewart Island is the Northwest Circuit, which can take several days to complete for even the fittest hikers. However, the trek offer spectacular views and access to amazing wildlife.

9. Nelson [SEE MAP]

Nelson

mikecogh / Flickr

At the top of the South Island is Nelson, a spot known for having the greatest number of sunshine hours per year in all of New Zealand. This great climate and the fact that the city is surrounded by three national parks makes Nelson a fantastic spot for outdoor recreation.

There is also an emphasis on local agriculture and the area’s wineries. Founder’s Park is an amazing spot in the city where you can dine on local farm-to-table cuisine, and soak up the sunshine right in the heart of an urban area.

You can even do a day-trip to Abel Tasman National Park from Nelson using an early bus, which give you just enough time to enjoy the park.

8. Glacier Country [SEE MAP]

Glacier Country

lwtt93 / Flickr

Glacier Country is found on the Western Coast of South Island, and its jewel is the Westland National Park. In the park, you’ll have the chance to see the country’s two most spectacular glaciers: Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers on the planet, meaning that you can actually walk up to the glacier and even through the glacier valley itself. Guided tours give you a closer look at the expanding glaciers, and you can relax after a day of hiking by soaking in the incredible glacier hot pools.

7. Napier [SEE MAP]

Napier

Bruce Tuten / Flickr

The seaside resort of Napier on North Island is known as the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand, thanks to a large amount of 1930s architecture built when the city suffered a large fire more than 80 years ago.

After touring the city on foot for a guided or self-guided architecture tour, the best way to enjoy Napier is by visiting the National Aquarium of New Zealand. This enormous aquarium is home to everything from turtles to crocodiles, and the modern exhibits are truly world-class.

6. Rotorua [SEE MAP]

Rotorua

Rotorua is known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. There are numerous geysers and hot springs in and around the city. Many of these are in parks and reserves.

Natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud occasionally occur in new locations. Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular place to visit with many hot springs noted for their colorful appearance, in addition to the Lady Knox Geyser.

5. Paihia [SEE MAP]

Paihia

Jennifer Whiting / Flickr

If you’re interested in exploring the Bay of Islands, then Paihia is a great place to visit in New Zealand. Paihia is all about the small-town feel, but it boasts an array of great hotels and recreational opportunities to appeal to travelers.

If you’re feeling adventurous and active, you can swim with dolphins or even go scuba diving to see the underwater shipwreck called the Rainbow Warrior. Back on dry land, make your way to Marsden Road for exceptional restaurants serving up an array of freshly caught seafood.

4. Auckland [SEE MAP]

Auckland

Known as the City of Sails, Auckland is the largest and most populated city in New Zealand. It is located on the North Island, and it is known for its vibrant culture and foodie landscape. For amazing views of this beautiful metropolis, climb the Auckland Harbor Bridge.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the history and heritage of New Zealand, then be sure to check out the Auckland Domain, which is the city’s oldest part. In the Auckland Domain, you’ll find great exhibits of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts at the iconic Auckland Museum.

3. Queenstown [SEE MAP]

Queenstown

Tomas Sobek / Flickr

On New Zealand’s South Island is Queenstown, a destination known as the dream spot for those in search of adrenaline and adventure. Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, and right on the banks of deep-blue Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is also an incredibly beautiful spot.

One of the best ways to experience the scenery is on Lake Wakatipu itself. You can cycle around the lake’s perimeter or set off on a cruise of the lake’s magnificent waters. There is also a vibrant nightlife with the town’s small central area packed with bars and restaurants.

2. Tongariro National Park [SEE MAP]

Tongariro National Park

The first national park of New Zealand, Tongariro is known for its surprises and extremes. The park’s diverse range of ecosystems includes tranquil lakes, active volcanoes, herb fields, untamed forests and desert-like plateaus.

Start your trek at the Whakapapa Visitor Center, just a three hour hike from the stunning Taranaki Falls. The short hike will take you through scrubland and forest and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions from hundreds of years ago.

1. Fiordland [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In New Zealand

Jocey K / Flickr

One of the most scenic spots in New Zealand is the Fiordland National Park. Here, you can set off on incredible hikes, fish for trout or cruise on the spectacular fjords (named sounds here) in the south-western corner of the South Island. Milford Sound is the biggest attraction in Fiordland, and it is a true fjord created by a glacier.

On a cruise through Milford Sound, you can spot waterfalls, admire the sheer rock faces towering over the water and even see wildlife like dolphins and penguins.

Map of New Zealand

Map of New Zealand

© OpenStreetMap © MapTiler © Touropia

10 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

Comprised of two main islands, North Island and South Island, New Zealand is an incredible destination to discover. Packed with unforgettable landscapes, breathtaking scenery, and an unparalleled combination of lakes, mountains, and lush greenery, the island nation has to be seen to be truly understood.

New Zealand pretty much needs to be on your list if you’re at all an adventure sports enthusiast – or even if you’re just interested in trying them out. Bungee jumping, mountaineering, skydiving, paragliding, mountain biking, kayaking, canyoning, parachuting, caving, zip lining… Let’s just say that the list is endless when it comes to what outdoor activities you can get up to in this far-flung destination.

You can get to grips with adventure sports in Queenstown, surrounded by mountain and lake scenery. Then there’s the dramatic Fiordland – part of the landscape that made up Peter Jackson’s movie interpretation of Middle Earth for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (you can even visit The Shire!). Get to know Maori culture at Rotorua, and if you’re missing city life, head to sunny Auckland – the largest city in New Zealand. Here’s a look a the best places to visit in New Zealand:

10. Stewart Island [SEE MAP]

Stewart Island

4nitsirk / Flickr

Stewart Island is the third-largest island of New Zealand, and it is found even further south than South Island. Most of the island is forested and undeveloped with over 80 per cent of the island is set aside as the Rakiura National Park, giving you the chance to explore the wild side of New Zealand.

Most of the pastimes on Stewart Island have to do with the outdoors, including hiking, camping and birdwatching. One of the most popular treks on Stewart Island is the Northwest Circuit, which can take several days to complete for even the fittest hikers. However, the trek offer spectacular views and access to amazing wildlife.

9. Nelson [SEE MAP]

Nelson

mikecogh / Flickr

At the top of the South Island is Nelson, a spot known for having the greatest number of sunshine hours per year in all of New Zealand. This great climate and the fact that the city is surrounded by three national parks makes Nelson a fantastic spot for outdoor recreation.

There is also an emphasis on local agriculture and the area’s wineries. Founder’s Park is an amazing spot in the city where you can dine on local farm-to-table cuisine, and soak up the sunshine right in the heart of an urban area.

You can even do a day-trip to Abel Tasman National Park from Nelson using an early bus, which give you just enough time to enjoy the park.

8. Glacier Country [SEE MAP]

Glacier Country

lwtt93 / Flickr

Glacier Country is found on the Western Coast of South Island, and its jewel is the Westland National Park. In the park, you’ll have the chance to see the country’s two most spectacular glaciers: Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers on the planet, meaning that you can actually walk up to the glacier and even through the glacier valley itself. Guided tours give you a closer look at the expanding glaciers, and you can relax after a day of hiking by soaking in the incredible glacier hot pools.

7. Napier [SEE MAP]

Napier

Bruce Tuten / Flickr

The seaside resort of Napier on North Island is known as the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand, thanks to a large amount of 1930s architecture built when the city suffered a large fire more than 80 years ago.

After touring the city on foot for a guided or self-guided architecture tour, the best way to enjoy Napier is by visiting the National Aquarium of New Zealand. This enormous aquarium is home to everything from turtles to crocodiles, and the modern exhibits are truly world-class.

6. Rotorua [SEE MAP]

Rotorua

Rotorua is known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. There are numerous geysers and hot springs in and around the city. Many of these are in parks and reserves.

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Natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud occasionally occur in new locations. Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular place to visit with many hot springs noted for their colorful appearance, in addition to the Lady Knox Geyser.

5. Paihia [SEE MAP]

Paihia

Jennifer Whiting / Flickr

If you’re interested in exploring the Bay of Islands, then Paihia is a great place to visit in New Zealand. Paihia is all about the small-town feel, but it boasts an array of great hotels and recreational opportunities to appeal to travelers.

If you’re feeling adventurous and active, you can swim with dolphins or even go scuba diving to see the underwater shipwreck called the Rainbow Warrior. Back on dry land, make your way to Marsden Road for exceptional restaurants serving up an array of freshly caught seafood.

4. Auckland [SEE MAP]

Auckland

Known as the City of Sails, Auckland is the largest and most populated city in New Zealand. It is located on the North Island, and it is known for its vibrant culture and foodie landscape. For amazing views of this beautiful metropolis, climb the Auckland Harbor Bridge.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history and heritage of New Zealand, then be sure to check out the Auckland Domain, which is the city’s oldest part. In the Auckland Domain, you’ll find great exhibits of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts at the iconic Auckland Museum.

3. Queenstown [SEE MAP]

Queenstown

Tomas Sobek / Flickr

On New Zealand’s South Island is Queenstown, a destination known as the dream spot for those in search of adrenaline and adventure. Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, and right on the banks of deep-blue Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is also an incredibly beautiful spot.

One of the best ways to experience the scenery is on Lake Wakatipu itself. You can cycle around the lake’s perimeter or set off on a cruise of the lake’s magnificent waters. There is also a vibrant nightlife with the town’s small central area packed with bars and restaurants.

2. Tongariro National Park [SEE MAP]

Tongariro National Park

The first national park of New Zealand, Tongariro is known for its surprises and extremes. The park’s diverse range of ecosystems includes tranquil lakes, active volcanoes, herb fields, untamed forests and desert-like plateaus.

Start your trek at the Whakapapa Visitor Center, just a three hour hike from the stunning Taranaki Falls. The short hike will take you through scrubland and forest and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions from hundreds of years ago.

1. Fiordland [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In New Zealand

Jocey K / Flickr

One of the most scenic spots in New Zealand is the Fiordland National Park. Here, you can set off on incredible hikes, fish for trout or cruise on the spectacular fjords (named sounds here) in the south-western corner of the South Island. Milford Sound is the biggest attraction in Fiordland, and it is a true fjord created by a glacier.

On a cruise through Milford Sound, you can spot waterfalls, admire the sheer rock faces towering over the water and even see wildlife like dolphins and penguins.

Map of New Zealand

Map of New Zealand

© OpenStreetMap © MapTiler © Touropia

12 Best Cities to Visit in New Zealand

With stunning scenery greeting you almost everywhere you look, New Zealand’s coastal cities are set amidst some astounding natural sights and really are amazing to behold. Mountains and volcanoes surround them and lakes, rivers and islands border them; the best cities in New Zealand have a plethora of incredible outdoor activities for you to take part in.

Away from the adrenaline-inducing zip-lines and river-rafting, some fantastic festivals and cultural events take place in New Zealand and there are some great museums and galleries to explore.

With some top-notch wineries on offer and a bustling craft brewery scene, paired with delicious cuisine and fantastic restaurants, your taste buds are in for an absolute treat. The intoxicating mix of Pacific Island and United Kingdom cultures makes its cities captivating and enlightening to explore.

Map of cities in New Zealand

Map of cities in New Zealand

© OpenStreetMap © MapTiler © Touropia

12. New Plymouth [SEE MAP]

New Plymouth

© Nmint / Dreamstime

With stunning Mount Taranaki dominating the horizon, New Plymouth is a picturesque port town that is surrounded by sprawling farmland. It has a lively, cosmopolitan feel to it, and there is a thriving arts and culture scene – you can attend some brilliant concerts and festivals here during the year.

There are many great cafes and restaurants to be found and some delightful surf spots and beaches nearby. Don’t miss out on the nearby spectacular Mt Egmont National Park.

11. Tauranga [SEE MAP]

Tauranga

© vps / Dreamstime

Now the fifth-largest city in the country, Tauranga has steadily been growing over the years, as retirees and young families alike flock here in search of the cheaper housing options. While its busy port, petrol refineries and traffic-filled streets mean that it may not be the prettiest of cities, its lovely beaches and lively waterfront definitely make it a nice place to stop by.

With some fantastic restaurants and bars on offer, Tauranga’s distinctive Mount Maunganui is a stunning spot with a world-class beach. Visitors can also take a trip to nearby White Island – an awesome live volcano to explore.

10. Whangarei [SEE MAP]

Whangarei

© Hardyuno / Dreamstime

Set in a beautiful location, Whangarei is the only city in the northernmost reaches of New Zealand; it is a gateway to the amazing natural wonders all around it. With a laidback vibe in the town, things are slowly changing; a new art museum, shopping center and restaurant complex have opened up and there are some great bars and cafes around town.

While there are lots of fabulous beaches around Whangarei to relax on, most people head to the Poor Knights Islands for their fantastic scuba diving, or to the delightfully scenic Bay of Islands.

9. Hamilton [SEE MAP]

Hamilton

© Rafael Ben Ari / Dreamstime

Straddling the beautiful Waikato River, Hamilton is an inland city on the North Island that is a pleasant place to visit, although it lacks the stunning setting of many of New Zealand’s other cities. There are a few interesting attractions such as the excellent Waikato Museum and the tranquil Hamilton Gardens.

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With a large university population, Hamilton has loads of great bars, restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy, and a number of fantastic festivals take place here throughout the year. Not far from Hamilton are many great sights that are worth visiting – Lord of the Rings lovers will want to head to Matamata, where they can visit the real-life Shire!

8. Napier [SEE MAP]

Napier

© Rafael Ben Ari / Dreamstime

Feeling somewhat like a wealthy seaside town in England, Napier is a charming place to kick back and relax, with a romantic air about it. With lovely 1930’s facades and some delightful streets to explore, its fantastic collection of art-deco buildings is interspersed with some brilliant restaurants and atmospheric cafes.

Napier has several gorgeous beaches nearby, as well as a fantastic aquarium to check out. The marvelous wineries just outside of the city are also well worth exploring.

7. Nelson [SEE MAP]

Nelson

© Annaorl / Dreamstime

One of the best places to live in New Zealand, Nelson’s stunning setting on the coast, snuggled between two mountain ranges, also makes it a fantastic city to visit. With a hip art scene, brilliant craft breweries and a range of delightful restaurants, it is a lovely place to spend some time – Nelson’s delightful surroundings are enticingly nearby.

Explore the multitude of wineries on offer and the stunning natural wonders of Abel Tasman National Park. Beautiful beaches, glittering lakes and mountains lie tantalizingly within reach.

6. Dunedin [SEE MAP]

Dunedin

© Adrian Gilfillan / Dreamstime

Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, Dunedin’s Scottish heritage is immediately apparent; a Victorian railway greets you, alongside numerous statues and monuments to famous Scots. With the oldest university in New Zealand, Dunedin is a youthful place with an energetic feel, and there are lots of great bars and a pumping nightlife scene.

Lovely Victorian buildings dot the city, which is quite picturesque given its prime location around the port. From here, you can easily explore the wilds of the nearby Otago Peninsula.

5. Wellington [SEE MAP]

Wellington

© Hardyuno / Dreamstime

Delightfully located on a harbor with mountains surrounding it, Wellington is the scenic capital of the country and certainly lives up to its nickname as the ‘Windy City’. Lovely wooden buildings pour down the mountainsides to the waterfront, and there is a fantastic arts and culture scene for visitors to enjoy, with great museums, galleries and theaters on offer.

Set at the bottom of the North Island, there’s a thriving café and craft brewery scene. The quality restaurants and pumping nightlife make Wellington a great place to visit or live.

4. Rotorua [SEE MAP]

Rotorua

Lying on the shores of the lake after which it is named, Rotorua is renowned for its fabulous hot springs and geysers that are absolutely everywhere. Situated at the heart of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, the city is the North Island’s most popular tourist destination – steam and spray constantly cloud its streets and the scent of sulfur hangs heavy in the air.

While its parks and nature reserves are home to vents, fissures and lakes, a sizeable Maori population invigorates the town with their art, culture and history. Although the restaurants and bars aren’t anything to write home about, this volcanic landscape, with its fantastic natural wonders and plethora of outdoor activities, makes Rotorua a mesmerising city to visit.

3. Queenstown [SEE MAP]

Queenstown

© BiancoBlue / Dreamstime

In addition to its stunning location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the spectacular mountains surrounding Queenstown make for one of the most beautiful scenes in the whole country. While it is certainly blessed in terms of scenic settings, the city also has a fantastic arts scene for visitors to enjoy, as well as some delicious dining, delightful bars and excellent vineyards.

Most people, however, visit Queensland because it is known as the ‘adventure capital of the world’ – there are over 220 hair-raising activities for you to try. Whether it’s skiing, bungee jumping or zip-lining, paragliding or mountaineering, Queenstown has it all. Its marvelous natural wonders are the perfect place to experience that rush of adrenaline.

2. Christchurch [SEE MAP]

Christchurch

© Christian Mueringer / Dreamstime

A delightful city that is the largest in the South Island, Christchurch is currently being rebuilt after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastatingly struck, destroying so many of its buildings. New buildings and businesses are opening up all the time, and the buzz about the place makes it a vibrant city on the move.

Known as the ‘Garden City’, it is a pleasant, leafy place – there are lots of parks, museums and galleries for you to visit. With a very English feel about it, Christchurch’s beaches on the Pacific Ocean and sizeable Pacific Islander population give a different flavor to it. From here you can go ballooning, river-rafting or trekking in the nearby countryside.

1. Auckland [SEE MAP]

Auckland

© Rafael Ben Ari / Dreamstime

One of the best places to live in the world in terms of quality of life, Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and the first point of entry for most people. First impressions immediately ‘wow’ you, as its two lovely harbors glitter in the sun and numerous volcanic cones reach towards the heavens.

On the outskirts of the city, lush farmlands stretch towards the horizon. Known as the ‘City of Sails’ its surrounding waters are full of yachts and sailboats, while skyscrapers impressively rise up just beyond the waterfront and lots of little islands lie not far from the city. A laidback place with a provincial feel to it, Auckland is actually the biggest Polynesian city in the world.

With trendy shops, fantastic beaches and a wealth of great restaurants and bars, the city has loads for you to do. There are breathtaking views to be had from any one of its volcanic summits. With hot springs, rainforest reserves and gorgeous wineries just outside the city, Auckland has it all.

Source https://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-new-zealand/

Source https://www.touropia.com/best-places-to-visit-in-new-zealand/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20most%20scenic%20spots%20in%20New,is%20a%20true%20fjord%20created%20by%20a%20glacier.

Source https://www.touropia.com/best-cities-to-visit-in-new-zealand/

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