New Zealand is paradise on earth – green, unspoiled, largely untouched, and majestic as Mother Nature intended it to be. The country offers the perfect getaway where you can breathe fresh air, reconnect with nature, and still enjoy the conveniences of modern living to the hilt. It’s so easy to lose yourself and find it again in New Zealand, and these twelve must visit destinations in New Zealand are where you can best do it.
Auckland, the largest and most populated city in New Zealand, is a city for lovers – lovers of good food, lovers of beach life, lovers of nature. From its downtown, you’re only a short distance away from isolated beaches, forested hiking trails, and outlying islands. Even if you don’t live downtown, you can explore its sights and suburbs, not to mention revel in its gastronomic wonders.
Bay of Islands
With its 144 islands, Bay of Islands presents the ultimate island-hopping adventure. You can explore the islands by sailboat or kayak and camp on your island of choice. Its abundance of marine life makes the bay a wonderful destination for diving and snorkeling. As the home of the Ngapuhi tribe, the bay is also a place of learning more about Maori culture.
As the capital of the South Island’s Marlborough region, Blenheim is the gateway to all the adventures Marlborough has to offer. From there, you can swim with the dolphins at Marlborough Sound, admire the pink salt lakes of Lake Grasmere, and hike through virgin forests via the Queen Charlotte Track.
Christchurch is one of the loveliest cities in the world, with its large number of parks, its renowned botanical garden, and the meticulously tended gardens of its residents. For these, the city has earned the nickname “The Garden City.” The city is in the process of rebuilding from the devastation of the massive earthquake of 2010 and 2011, but its beauty and vibrancy remains.
The city of Dunedin is often called the Edinburgh of New Zealand because of its strong Scottish heritage. The oldest city in New Zealand, Dunedin maintains the best collection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s also a major center of learning, home to four universities, as well as numerous primary and secondary schools.
Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier on the western coast of New Zealand’s South Island is one of the country’s most marvelous attractions. Known in the Maori language as “Tears of the Avalanche Girl,” the glacier appears like a frozen flood of tears, surrounded by mountains covered with lush alpine forests. Hikers used to be able to trek across the glacier, but because global warming has begun to melt the glacier, the New Zealand government has recently banned it.
One of the most stunning attractions of New Zealand is none other than Milford Sound. It is located at South Island’s Fiordland National Park. The views are dramatic, the usually calm and clear blue waters bounded by sheer cliffs covered by verdant forests. Milford Sound’s postcard-perfect Mitre Peak is one of the most photographed landmarks of the region.
Tourists to New Zealand head to Napier mostly to see Art Deco buildings. Napier has one of the most impressive collections of 1930s Art Deco architecture, made unique by touches of Maori motifs.
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. The city offers numerous opportunities for outdoor fun. It ranges from mild to truly extreme, attracting adrenaline junkies of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re into extreme sports or fun with more sedate forms, you’re sure to find the adventure you’re looking for in Queenstown all year-long.
The resort town of Taupo sits on the shores of Lake Taupo, the largest lake of New Zealand. People visit here to enjoy the serene lake views and the water adventures they can have on the lake. Taupo is also the entry point to Tongariro National Park, the country’s oldest national park and home to some of the best hiking trails in the world.
Waiheke Island is a popular weekend holiday destination for the people of Auckland. It’s only 35 minutes away from the city. It’s famous for its beaches, olive groves, and a thriving arts scene.
The political and cultural capital of New Zealand, is also the hub of all things artsy and hipster in the country. Museums, galleries and performance venues vie each other for space, and the city is home to a thriving arts and music scene. The city is also home to “Wellywood,” New Zealand’s answer to Hollywood. This is where movies such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and King Kong were produced and processed.
New Zealand is a land of possibilities, with so much to offer. Taste them all on your holiday to Middle Earth, or browse through other reads on New Zealand here!