New Zealand is an unbelievably breathtaking country of wonders, ranging from steep, jagging fjords to geothermal activity, picturesque beaches, and pristine, tropical lakes. And, probably it’s far larger than you thought. So how do you know when to get the most out of it? You can certainly make a good start at these top places to visit.
As the largest city in the world and an international center for air transport, Auckland is almost any visitor to New Zealand. It, therefore, provides a variety of things to see and do and is an excellent place to explore the North Island. It houses many museums, including the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand’s largest art institution with more than 15,000 works of modern, contemporary, and historical art, stunning waterfront area and Sky Tower, the largest human-made building in the nation and an incredible location with 360° views of the region.
Queenstown is a renowned New Zealand adventure capital, located in the outside region of South Island on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, which is famed for world-class skiing in the winter and spring months (about June through October). All year-round, the place to dive, jump, raft and even jump on the cliffs. This is the birthplace of the Shotover Canyon Swing, the world’s tallest cliff jump. The brave ones could throw themselves away from a cliff, like bound to a chair or flying downwards, in a number of ways. Regardless of what adventure you are taking, some of the most glowing landscapes of spectacular waters and majestic mountain ranges surround you.
A must-visit for wine lovers, the Marlborough Wine Region right in the doorway to this picturesque coastal village, nestled in the Queen Charlotte Sound. There are also several woodland, maritime, and island attractions in the Marlborough Sounds. But in the city, you can find plenty to do. You can dine on locally-caught seafood at its peaceful port and shop for local handmade gifts and browse many fascinating galleries to visit the aquarium or floating maritime museum. Outdoor adventure travelers here offer the opportunity to go kayaking, fishing, and scenic sailing as well. Outdoors are also available.
Russell and the Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands is a beautiful area of 144 islands, some lovely sandy beaches, plenty of quiet lonely bays, and plenty of marine life, with dolphins and penguins and whales. The best way to get to know this is by renting a sea kayak or by boating or cruising in the ocean. Russell is a perfect location to base your stay on some of the oldest architecture, such as the Pompallier Mission and Christ Church as a lovely coastal village. Also features lovely waterfront restaurants, such as the old Gables Restaurant, where local seafood is captured, and colorful sunsets are served.
Wanaka lies on a backdrop of snow-capped mountains in the southern end of its namesake Lake on the South Island. It is the path to the Mount Aspiring National Park in the southern Alps, a wilderness of mountain lakes, beech forests, and glaciers – many of them included in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Lake Wanaka and Hawea Lake provide the opportunity to enjoy snowboarding, skiing, hiking, Mountain Biking, and more for all kinds of water sports like kayaking, sailing, and fishing. A variety of restaurants and cafés serve innovative cuisine from the distinguished chefs are served in the city itself.
Rotorua’s geothermal activity is popular. Te Puya, Waiotapu, and Waimangu geothermal reserves are all situated here and in the stunning natural surroundings of boiling lakes, thermal springs, geysers, gurgling mud pots, volcanic terraces, fumaroles, and craters. The area is famous for its rich swimming and fishing lakes and many native bushes, which make for walking, and also the best place to learn about Maori Culture. In 1886, Mount Tarawera was fully rebuilt and the Maori Settlements in Moura, Te Ariki, and Te Wairoa were eradicated. The Waimangu Valley has been completely restructured.
During a 15 month stretch ending in December 2011, Christchurch was struck by four major earthquakes, but she managed to make a significant comeback. Many of the old towns are still there, including the famous Botanical Gardens of Christchurch with its brilliant horticultural displays and an extensive network of preserves and walking paths. There are also some of the oldest, biggest, and highest trees in New Zealand. On all the avenues, including new buildings made of old cargo containers and even cartons, you can see signs of its rebirth in the city street.
Kaikoura is the ideal seaside town with a postcard that attracts tourists to one of the most beautiful places in the world to discover cetaceans with its laid-back ambiance, amazing countryside, and the opportunity for whale watching. It offers a rich Maori culture as well, namely Kaikoura, which is Maori for ‘eat crayfish.’ It is freshly captured and prepared by visitors at local restaurants and food trucks throughout the city. The opportunity to visit a single bird, the albatross, the Clarence River raft, the fur seal, taste local wines, walk in a llama trek and many others is also a highlight.
In the mid-19th century, Hokitika was established after gold was founded and then became a prosperous port on a river. The Man Booker prize-winning novel, The Luminaries, tells the charming little town’s colorful past, which includes a very wild reputation. It is one of the most important destinations in New Zealand tour packages, as it comprises both snow-capped peaks and crashing waves. The area Hokitika is also an excellent base for visiting some of the best sights across South Island such as the Franz Josef Glacier and the Arthur Pass National Park. The beautiful old buildings and the Hokitika Wildfood Festival are all in the city itself.