Are you planning to have your next vacation in New Zealand and if you are looking for the best places to visit in New Zealand, you are at the right place. We are sharing with you an amazing New Zealand vacation guide which will cover many aspects of your next trip. Learn what all places your should be visiting there, things to do in New Zealand which you must not miss. Adventure in New Zealand is of top notch, filled with thrill and excitement and most of the activities are completely safe and best in class here.
New Zealand is one of those places where everyone wants to visit and yet when it comes to planning for tourists on a budget, the information is amazingly limited. For one, New Zealand is an expensive place, and it can be a huge turn-off for many backpackers. The fact that New Zealand’s towns are so remote also makes a perception that you would need to rent a campervan or a car to travel there. That is not fully true.
Some remote spots require you to rent a car, yes, but you can also opt-in for organized tours where you can handle all the plans for you. You can also rent a car temporarily and rely on buses for long-distance places to save money. There are many ways you can save money when traveling in New Zealand, and we are here to help you plan your trip here. You can find the most stunning landscapes in New Zealand. It truly is one of the best tours and vacation you can make in your life.
Best Places to Visit in New Zealand
New Zealand is at most 1,000 miles long, 280 miles across at its widest, and accommodation to just under five million people, but this long, narrow country carries many things to see and activities to do. Tourists can ski on snow-capped mountains and lie on subtropical beaches, get to know about Maori culture and discover its British heritage, taste on some of the world’s finest wines and walk through the uninhabited wilderness. Whatever travel events you enjoy, you can mostly find them in New Zealand.
The country contains two main islands, creatively named the North and South Islands in English, and Te Ika a Maui and Te Wai Pounamu, correlatively, in Maori. However, the South Island is wider, more than three-quarters of New Zealand’s population lives in the North. Ideally, tourists should spend time on both islands, though picking one isn’t a bad approach. Here are some of the best places to visit in New Zealand.
On the central North Island, Rotorua is prominent for its geothermal characteristics and Maori culture. Tourists short on time can visit on a day trip from Auckland, but it’s a suitable stop when travelling through the North Island. Hell’s Gate, Wai-O-Tapu, or Orakei Korako are best options for bubbling mud pools, boiling geysers, colourful rock formations, and various resorts and holiday parks in the spot have hot spring bathing facilities.
You can also get to know more about Maori culture at tourist villages like Mitai, Whakarewarewa, and Tamaki with their cultural programs of traditional music and dancing and a hangi food cooked in an underground pit.
Time: One full day in Rotorua is perfect.
Waitangi is one of the most important places in New Zealand’s modern history. In 1840, Maori chiefs signed a treaty with spokespersons of the British Crown, the Treaty of Waitangi, a founding document that gave the power of New Zealand to British rule.
Tour for a crash course in the country’s history in this amazing coastal location. The Waitangi Treaty Grounds also adds an indoor museum, the Treaty House, an ornately carved marae, and a ceremonial waka spread over a wider area. There are fascinating views of the Bay of Islands.
Time: The Waitangi Treaty grounds deserve anyhow half a day.
The Hokianga Harbour is a substitute of the Bay of Islands, often overlooked by tourists and perfect for camping or RV adventures. The place is rarely populated and predominantly Maori. Dune boarding, hiking, horse trekking, and dolphin watching are prominent activities in the Hokianga. Base yourself in one of the close by villages of Omapere, Opononi, and Rawene. To enlarge your exploration, the Waipoua Forest, just south of the Hokianga, is house to two of the largest living native kauri trees.
Time: Goal to spend two days to a week in the Hokianga area.
The Coromandel Peninsula extends 50 miles into the Hauraki Gulf, over the Firth of the Thames from Auckland. It’s a microcosm of all that’s best in northern New Zealand, stunning beaches, hiking trails, and arty, laid-back spots. At the time of low tide at Hot Water Beach, dig a few inches beneath the sand to make your own natural hot spring bath, spend the day at Cathedral Cove, one of New Zealand’s most fascinating beaches, and walk the Pinnacles Walk or Coromandel Coastal Walkway.
Time: To tour the whole Coromandel Peninsula, you’d need at least a week, but it’s possible to make an overnight tour from Auckland or Tauranga.
Tongariro National Park
On the top central plateau of central North Island, Tongariro National Park is a double UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed both for its natural and cultural importance. Most sights and activities go round three volcanic peaks: Mounts Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a relatively challenging day hike that is amazing. In winter, ski at the Whakapapa or Turoa ski sphere.
Time: You require a day to walk the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. With more hikes, biking trails, and skiing options in the winter, it would be possible to spend many days in and around the park.
Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s leading wine-producing regions and also the oldest, there are more than 200 vineries. The area is famous for its sunny weather, Art Deco attract, and the world’s largest gannet community. The city of Napier, in specific, is popular for its Art Deco architecture because, after a gigantic earthquake in 1931, much of the town was reconstructed in this style. Keen bird viewers should visit the gannet community at the Cape Kidnappers Reserve.
Time: Hawke’s Bay is often a long drive from other North Island centres, so spend at least some days here to make it worth the tour.
At the basal of the North Island, Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Equal parts bureaucratic gesture and Bohemian arts centre, Wellington is an ideal small city to explore. The New Zealand Parliament structure, known as the ‘Beehive’, and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa should not be missed out. The Weta Workshop is a film exceptional effects firm founded by Peter Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” so fans of the movie should consider a trip.
Time: Cost at least two days for the central city and other few to visit outlying areas like the Kapiti Coast or Cape Palliser.
Abel Tasman National Park
Many tourists take the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton, at the top of the South Island, and steer west to the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s smallest national park. Abel Tasman is about the golden beaches, aquamarine seas, and forested walking trails. For longer walks, visit the park from the tiny town of Marahau. You can also visit the park by kayaking from Kaiteriteri.
Time: If staying in close by Nelson or Motueka, it’s simple to visit the park on a day tour. To complete the famous Coast Track hike, you will need three to five days.
On the eastern coast of the top South Island, Kaikoura is popular for its whale and dolphin view. It’s a marine-life hotspot because of the different currents and deep furrow just offshore. Whale-view cruises operate all year, and while sperm whale sightings are never undertake, there’s a very high possibility you’ll find them and dolphins, seals, and albatross.
Time: Many tourists pass through Kaikoura while travelling between Picton and Christchurch. You only require a day for a whale-view cruise, but extra days in Kaikoura can be spent walking or enjoying the beaches.
Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula
Sticking out southeast from Christchurch, the Banks Peninsula is a volcanic landmass consists of several volcanos. There are various harbours and bays, wildlife-spotting chances, and the French settlement of Akaroa, the oldest town in the Canterbury territory. There are many 19th-century structures there and cute French cafés. The Hector’s dolphin, the world’s tiniest and infrequent, live in the waters off the Banks Peninsula. There are various biking and hiking chains on the peninsula.
Time: Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula are a simple day tour from Christchurch, but staying some days will allow you to drive to more remote areas.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve
The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is one of the widest dark sky reserves in the world. In the central South Island, far from any major colonies, it’s almost totally free of light pollution, making it an incredible destination for starwatching. Starwatching trips are informative, or you can find, dark spot on yourself. You might also see the Aurora Australis if you’re that lucky. Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak, is also in this area.
Time: The small towns within the reserve, Lake Tekapo Village, Twizel, and Mount Cook Village, are a long way from any place, so these are not a quick exit. Cloud-free skies are important for stargazing, so you may require to spend a few days here.
Queenstown is not a classical Kiwi town, its real estate is among the most costly in the country, and the style is more creator than farmer. But there’s no denying that Queenstown is blessed with pretty geography, as it’s set on Lake Wakatipu with the look of the Remarkable mountain range. Take the cable car to the top of the mountain behind the city for beautiful views. Famous activities in the area include mountain biking, bungee jumping, speedboat rides, sky diving, white-water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, skiing in winter, or hiking the many series.
Time: Queenstown city only requires a day to look around, but it’s a perfect base for exploring the Central Otago wineries, trying adventure sports, and making day tours to Glenorchy, Wanaka, Arrowtown, or Fiordland.
Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula
Dunedin is a university place on the South Island’s east coast. Dunedin is the Scots Gaelic name for Edinburgh, and the Scottish impact is strong. The neo-Gothic designer of the University of Otago, the Dunedin Railway Station, and some churches give an Old World beauty to Dunedin. The world’s second-steepest way, Baldwin Street, is also a quirky view.
A short ride from Dunedin is the hilly, windswept Otago Peninsula, one of New Zealand’s excellent ecotourism and bird-watching places. Drive out to view the penguin, albatross, and seal colonies of the Otago Peninsula, stopping at Larnach’s Castle way.
Time: Two or three days are required here, divided between the city and the peninsula.
Fiordland National Park
In the southwest of the South Island, the Fiordland National Park is New Zealand’s widest, and it’s part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. A large area of forests, mountains, and glacial fiords, tourists can be as active or relaxed as they like here, on touring cruises, scenic flights, or multi-day treks. The tiny town of Te Anau is the best base and has caves with glow-worms.
Milford Sound is perhaps the most popular sight, with pointy Mitre Peak coming from the water, offering ideal reflections on a clear day. Lake Te Anau and Lake Manapouri are fantastic destinations to cruise or kayak.
Time: Some tourists visit the Fiordland National Park on a quick day tour from Queenstown or Wanaka, while others stay for longer to explore. The popular Milford Track trek between Te Anau and Milford Sound takes only four days.
Stewart Island / Rakiura
Off the southern shore of the South Island, Stewart Island/Rakiura is New Zealand’s third-largest archipelago. Around 85% of the archipelago is a national park reserved for penguins, kiwis, and seals. While the temperatures are basically quite cold this far south, the beaches are vacant and worth the tour across the Foveaux Strait from Bluff.
Birdwatching and seaside walking are famous activities, specially within the park’s areas. The Rakiura Track is a 32-kilometer, walking rail that circles the Rakiura National Park, and it takes two to four days to tour the entire length. Oban, the small capital, is a welcoming town that serves up all fresh seafood.
Time: As it’s very important to get a ferry to Stewart Island/Rakiura, it’s worth spending some days here. Camping is the best option.
Some More Wonderful Places to Explore in New Zealand:
> Bay Of Islands :
The Bay of Islands is one of New Zealand’s best magnificent spots to go year round. Its covered waters make it the ideal place to view an array of marine life, also dolphins, whales and seals. Considered as the birthplace of New Zealand, the region affords a different view into early European settlement and Māori culture, making an entry to the Bay a must-do on any New Zealand journey.
> Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley :
The Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley is a semi-rural spot which was the place of Te Puia, the Māori fortress first settled around 1325, known as an inaccessible stronghold which was never taken in struggle. Māori have been living here thenceforth, taking the benefits of the geothermal energy in their regular activities, from cooking in the boiling waters, to heating their houses and bathing in the healing waters.
> Waitomo Glowworm Caves :
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves attraction is a cave at Waitomo on the North Archipelago of New Zealand. It is popular for its population of Arachnocampa luminosa, a glowworm species found solely in New Zealand. This cave is a bit of the waitomo streamway system that adds the Ruakuri Cave, Lucky Strike, and Tumutumu Cave.
> Wanaka :
If you are touring through the West Coast, then you will reach Wanaka first. The busy Wanaka village is located beside a pristine lake, which is known as Lake Wanaka. The rolling tussock grass hills give a feel of space, and it has a very relaxing feeling. For many citizens of the New Zealand, Wanaka is a prime holiday spot.
> Fox And Franz Josef Glaciers :
Amongst the most reachable glaciers in the world, Fox And Franz Josef Glaciers are the best New Zealand tourist spots to have a memorable retreat amongst icy landscapes. These enormous glaciers are 12 miles apart and lie in Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
> Waiheke Island :
Waiheke Island, also known as New Zealand’s Island of Wine – house to a devoted group of award-winning winegrowers who have successfully matched the different maritime climate and earliest soil structures to the selection of classical grape varieties in order to generate red and white wines with distinctive varieties.
Often Asked Questions for “Places to Visit in New Zealand”
How to reach New Zealand?
The best way to reach to New Zealand is obviously by air. Majorly airlines provide direct flights to New Zealand. It’s simple to get here on a non-stop flight from America, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore etc.
>Flying From Europe
When you’re coming from Europe, you have a long way to go. We always suggested Air New Zealand, if possible, for a whole reason, one of the most significant, in this case, being that Air New Zealand has the most direct routes and appropriate flight times to and from New Zealand. So, if you’re coming from any place in Europe on Air NZ, you’ll take a flight out of London, with two flights of around 11 hours each.
The best thing is, those flights are basically in the evening. Which means, if you do it correctly, you can travel in the most pleasant way possible. If it is possible you can, we suggest that you break your tour for 24 hours in Hong Kong. Take the modern, quick and simplest airport train into the city, stay in one of the many fantastic hotels in Hong Kong – some of which are located on high towers literally overhead the train station.
>Flying From Australia
Take it easy! You people have nothing to worry about, it’s a three-hour flight, less, there are straight flights from all major Australian cities, and of course the time zone difference is least. The flights are a very direct, it’s simple to get to New Zealand from Sydney or Melbourne than it is to get to Perth, which is twice as out of the away!
>Flying From Other Parts Of The World
No matter where people are, you can take a flight to New Zealand, and the Star Alliance network of airlines means that you can get a round-tour fare to New Zealand from just about any place.
When is the best time or perfect time to visit?
The best time to plan a tour for New Zealand is during the summer months of December to March, which bring long, shiny and sunny days and temperatures of 16°C to 24°C. They’re perfect for visiting the beautiful beaches or enjoying the many outdoor activities available, such as walking and mountain biking.
Although, the country’s rugged scenario and varied landscapes make it a spectacular place to visit at any time of year. Just be ready for a fair sprinkling of rain whenever you plan to visit.
June to September is fairly to bring snow to the South Island, as well as some of the North Island’s more mountainous places, attracting skiers from far and large. The spring and autumn months herald milder weather and fewer tourists, but are still very pleasant times to reach, with temperatures in the mid-teens.
What are the Adventure Sports to do in New Zealand?
- Raft down white-water rapids
Do you have any idea how much excitement comes from water slides? Well, well!!! Let me tell you, white-water rafting gives you that same joy and excitement and adrenaline but 100 times bigger and of course better! Immerse yourself fully in New Zealand nature and join in on one of the River Rats rafting experiences.
River Rats functions out of Rotorua on Kaituna River, Rangitaiki River, Wairoa River in Tauranga and on the Tongariro rapids. River Rats fit you with the correct gear and let me tell you that, they are awesome at looking after everyone. They have a visit suited to different requirements and abilities, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you may be.
- Bungy Jump with the inventors
What best way to feel the bungy jumping than in the country where bungy jumping all began. And even better yet, feel and enjoy it with AJ Hackett Bungy, the founding man with the main person behind the whole idea of bungy jumping. Ranging from 40 to 134-meter jumps, there is a height to suit each person, where your adrenaline rush levels will be at an all-time high. These jumps, over some of New Zealand’s most fantastic scenery, are not for the faint-hearted, and you will feel the adventure on another level!
- Skydive over Lake Taupo
We are very sure, that you have heard that New Zealand is one of the best spots to experience Skydiving in the world. We can’t even start to discuss why that is true except you experience it for yourself.
There are many different spots to check out around the place. But one of our most favourite are Taupo Tandem Skydiving. You will have to look for yourself why they are one of our top 10 things to do in New Zealand. With spectacular views over the largest lake in New Zealand and the possibility to see coast to coast scenes of the North Island. You are in for a memorable tour.
- Jet Boating at Huka Falls
Jet Boating will get your heart pumping and your lungs shrieking as you reach speeds of 80km/h with daily 360-degree spins. We can’t make the promise to you, that you will still be dry after this thrilling adventure. But we can make a promise, that you will be full of smiles and laughter and of course a wonderful adventure for hours after this one of our top 10 things to do in New Zealand.
Hukafalls Jet in Taupo will show you the most magnificent view of New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction, the Huka Falls. Combine stress filled adventure with natural beauty, and you have yourself a full winner combo! Consider your New Zealand Vacation incomplete without this adventure.
- Zip-lining through native forest
Ever wanted to feel the experience of flying through native forests in New Zealand? Ziplining is one of those adventure activities that gives you an excitement, and it’s an action-packed tour, so it suits each person. Even if your biggest fear is heights, yes, believe me! At one of the best ziplining spots in the world, Rotorua Canopy Tours is a different experience where guides take you deep into ancient local forest. Add this to your list of things to do in New Zealand.
Explore the forest through a network of ziplines, swing bridges and cliff hikes that make up either a 3-hour Original Canopy Tour or a 3.5-hour Ultimate Canopy Tour. Not only fun but also knowledge you can earn why it is one of our top 10 things to do in New Zealand.
- Heli – skiing in the South
You might take Heli-skiing to be something for the advantage, but in New Zealand you don’t need to be a pro at all. If you have a few years’ experience of skiing and consider yourself a strong and experienced intermediate skier, then this is one New Zealand adventure you need to try.
You will be taken by helicopter into backcountry territory to find some of the most pristine snow you may have ever seen. Harris Mountains Heli Ski have a capability guide to follow to look what grouping you best fit into. They take visits in Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Cook in the South Island, don’t miss out on this different experience.
What are the things to know before travelling to New Zealand?
- There aren’t many people
If you don’t think humans are great company, or you love to stay alone, then New Zealand will be ideal for you. In a country that’s about 20,000 sq km larger/wider than the United Kingdom, there are only around 4.8 million humans. Be contrary to, that with the 66.5 million people living in the UK. What’s more, over 86% of Kiwis live in urban spots, so the countryside is a basically empty experience. For some that describes “lonely”, for others it’s wonderfully showing “people free”.
- But there are many sheep
Additionally, you can’t move for sheep. They’re spotted all over the New Zealand landscape like beautiful soft white clouds, chomping grass and seriously exceeding their human masters. That’s correct, for every one New Zealander there are about six sheep. The total number of these soft creatures is nearly 30 million, so in a sheep uprising the Kiwis would really have no possibility; they’d get a sound of whimpering.
- They have a very special accent
The New Zealand accent can be pretty confusing for tourists. A Kiwi can sound Australian, South African and American in the range of five words. If you’re going over there, you should forget everything you’ve ever learnt about vowel things. An ‘i’ accents more like ‘uh’, so ‘fish and chips’ sounds ‘fush and chups’. For the moment, an ‘e’ sounds more like an ‘i’, which can make a whole world of confusion. ‘Bed’ sounds like ‘bid’, ‘ten’ sounds like ‘tin’, well, I guess, you get the idea.
- The weather is very unpredictable
New Zealand might be just close to the hot and sunny area of Australia, but Kiwi climate is very different. Not only are the temperatures much less severe than they are in Oz, but it’s also likely to have four seasons in one day. This saying was made by drama queens who like to overstate a bit. What they really want to describe is that it can be sunny one moment and rainy the next, which any Brit should be familiar with.
It’s all down to place; the two archipelagos of New Zealand are surrounded by some of the wildest seas in the world, which can make things more exciting. A day might start out hot and sunny and by midday become a severe blast of cold wind and rain, all because of the crazy Pacific Ocean. If you’re off exploring the wop wops, be sure to bring an umbrella.
Is it Safe to Visit New Zealand?
New Zealand is a comparatively safe travel spot, but the place is a not crime free. It is essential you take the same precautions to look after yourself and your belongings as you would at home.
Do you really Need a Visa for New Zealand?
So the answer is: You do not need a visa to visit New Zealand as a visitor for up to 6 months if you are US citizen, but you will need to get a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority-NZeTA before your tour. For most of the countries, they require VISA to travel to New Zealand.
What are the Best Ways to Travel in New Zealand?
Choosing transport in New Zealand pivot on how fast you want to get from one place to the next and how much you want to see on your trip. You can take a self-drive, join in a guided tour, book a flight, or you can take a train or bus. Commuters and vehicle ferries provide services between the North, South and other islands too.
Is New Zealand Expensive?
Yes!!! Visit in New Zealand is expensive! A realistic regular cost for New Zealand is 100 euros per individual. This does not add flights and is based on average expenses at the time of a trip through New Zealand per campervan.
What Things you Must Experience in New Zealand?
- Discover Milford Sound
Head down to the Southwest of South Archipelago, leave the car, and get on a boat to view the stunning sights of Milford Sound. It really is one of the beautiful things to do in New Zealand Honeymoon trip if you’re a nature lover.
Made by glaciers in the Ice Age, it was prescribed by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth wonder of the world. With its peaks and waterfalls, and with dolphins streaming through the water which surrounds it.
The main thing is the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, where you can get a 360-degree sight of the underwater environment without getting even the slightest bit wet.
- See Gorgeous Christchurch
Christchurch has a rich and fascinating history. Also, ensure you visit the International Antarctic Centre, walk through New Regent Street and grab a bite to eat at “The Noisy Lobster” which, as you can guess, serves some very delicious lobster in that spot.
- Explore Vibrant Auckland
Road tours are great for getting off the beaten track, but sometimes it’s good to get back onto that well-used path of city life.
Auckland is daily voted one of the best spots in the world for us travellers to visit, so it’s worth seeing what makes New Zealand’s largest city so great. This should definitely be on your list of places to visit in New Zealand. From multicultural dining to a base of museums and even a bungee jump, it’s got something to satisfy every tourist.
For a delicious, if not a little costly bite to eat, head over to SidArt which serves some of the most original food in the city & believe me it is really delicious.
What are the 3 Must – Places to Visit in New Zealand?
What are Must Try, Things to do in New Zealand?
> Go wild in Queenstown
Queenstown is the ideal place for an adventure. Feel jet boat rides, skiing, river rafting, hiking and biking, or go bungy jumping where it all started. If it’s not for you? Then go for wine-tasting, spa treatments or alfresco dining for a relaxing option. There are many beautiful places to visit in New Zealand but Queenstown surely will catch your eyes for the beautiful landscapes and scenery.
> Bask in Milford Sound’s scale
Go off from Queenstown or Te Anau and feel an afternoon cruise around Milford Sound’s dramatic fiords, magnificent waterfalls and snow-capped mouth. Other ways to view the Eighth Wonder of the World is by flight seeing, kayaking or overnight boat drive.
> Explore geothermal phenomena
Boiling mud pools, geysers & huge volcanic hollow are in Rotorua, where nature’s forces breakout by bubbling, steaming & hissing from the inner earth. These mud pools and hot water geysers are surely some of the best things to do in New Zealand vacation time. Discover the views and wonders of this place sitting forthrightly on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
New Zealand is Famous for what?
The land of the wide white cloud, New Zealand is popular for its breath-taking landscapes, from high mountain peaks and glaciers to fascinating lue lakes. It’s also famous for its wine, lupins and rugby, as well as its adventure operations and gorgeous train tours.
How Many Days is Sufficient for New Zealand?
The straight answer is 14 days as a minimum time frame for planning both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. That’s basically one week’s travel time for both islands, and is just long enough for any tourist to experience the best of the country.
Is it Low Cost to go to Australia or New Zealand?
In terms of budget, Australia is generally more costly than New Zealand. You’ll find the tallest costs in the main cities of Sydney and Melbourne, while smaller spots like Perth and Adelaide will be more affordable.
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