There are few destinations that can boast so many staggering natural wonders, beautifully crafted over millennia and packed into a relatively small area, New Zealand has it all. With its snow-capped peaks, sparkling coves, beaches, dense rain-forests, glaciers, fjords and fish filled rivers – it ensures that as a visitor touring New Zealand, you are given unbeatable opportunities for exploration and adventure.
Your to do list could be virtually boundless so to help, we have taken a look at some of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand and given you our top 10!
1 – Queenstown, situated on the edge of the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu. The city, world renowned for its inexhaustible opportunities for exploration and adventure should be a part of anyone’s trip to New Zealand. Whether you’re an ‘adrenaline junkie’ or looking for some inspirational hikes and wonderful wines, Queensland delivers.
2- To really appreciate Auckland and its stunning location, visitors can take a trip up the Sky Tower. An iconic structure in the city’s skyline with breath-taking views over New Zealand’s sprawling, largest city and beyond – upto 80km away. This tourist attraction gives you a great perspective on your surroundings and you can even enjoy the view whilst fine dining in the ‘Orbit’ revolving restaurant. For further information, visit the website here.
3- There are few better ways to observe New Zealand’s stunning vistas than by relaxing on the TranzAlpine train running daily between Christchurch, Arthur’s Pass and Greymouth on the South Island’s west coast. The early part of your journey takes in serene views of fields of sheep, deer and cattle and takes you steadily upwards and along with it, to the more dramatic misted-mountains to take your breath away. As you travel, traverse gorges along steel girder bridges, pass through one of New Zealand’s longest tunnels and pass old mining towns. The TranzAlpine is truly one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys.
4- On South Island is the gorgeous coastal town of Kaikoura. Perfect for wildlife enthusiasts where seals, dolphins, and sperm whales can often be spotted. The town is also a haven for seafood lovers who can feast on beautifully fresh crayfish, mussels, blue cod and more.
5- Photographers will enjoy the stunning panoramas and weathered rock formations at Abel Tasman National Park. Located on the Northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. This vast national park is a hiker’s dream. Closed to vehicles, the island can only be entered on foot so make sure you have your walking boots! For the more adventurous, there are many hidden coves where you can enjoy snorkelling and spot for fur seals, dolphins, penguins and birds.
6 – Tongariro National Park was the first National Park of New Zealand offering its visitors plenty of diversity with tranquil lakes, active volcanos, herb fields, forests and desert like plateaus. The Tongario Alpine Crossing is an impressive and popular day trek – certainly one of the highlights at the National Park. You can read more about the park and what it has to offer by visiting the website here.
7 – Rotorua is one of the world’s largest thermal areas and known by some as a ‘thermal wonderland” and definitely one of the top 10 tourist attractions in New Zealand. There are numerous geysers and hot springs to enjoy. Take advantage of some of the guided walking tours to find out more about the park and these fascinating natural phenomenon. Perhaps you might prefer to enjoy a soak in steaming mineral springs and witness hot water and mud occasionally erupting around you. Rotorua is also rich in Maori history and you can discover all about the Maori culture in New Zealand by joining one of the many guided tours available in and around the area.
8 – Franz Josef Glacier is one of the worlds most accessible glaciers, located within Westland National Park on South Island. Together with Fox Glacier it is one of the Westland’s major attractions. Visitors can walk right up to the foot of this massive glacier.
9 – With 144 islands dotted across the glittering water, Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations. There is an abundance of sandy beaches to explore and quaint little towns to stop at. Marine life thrives off the coast where you have a great chance to see whales, penguins, dolphins and marlin. The Bay of Islands is also a great sport-fishing location which proves very popular here. Sea kayaking is a fun, alternative way to explore the islands and also provides the opportunity to explore the more secluded coves.
10 – Lying at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park is Milford Sound. Offering some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery with its dramatic peaks and dark blue waters. Milford Sound is a haven for hikers who can easily enjoy viewing the gushing cascades, lakes and rain-forests whilst enjoying the famous Milford Track. There are many boat trips and cruises to choose from which can take you up close to the waterfalls and rock faces, with guides who are more than happy to offer detailed and informative tours explaining the geology and historical background of the area. An experience not to be missed!
In an ideal world we’d probably want to write about our top 50 things you should see and do. New Zealand is a land filled with treasures for the memory and we hope our top 10 places to visit have inspired you to go and experience this incredible country for yourself.