Are you longing for time outdoors, somewhere completely exciting, and maybe an adrenaline rush or two? If so, it sounds like New Zealand is calling your name.
Sure, it may be a long flight from just about anywhere, but the island nation of New Zealand is one of the best places in the world for spectacular natural beauty and adventure.
If you’re thinking of planning a trip, keep reading to find ten of the most unforgettable experiences within the country—before you know it, you’ll be booking your flight.
If you love the Lord of the Rings movies, then one of your first stops in New Zealand has to be Hobbiton. This is a must for any fantasy fanatic or movie lover. One can find Hobbiton only two hours from Auckland. This is the ultimate experience for immersing yourself in the world of Lord of the Rings. Guests can explore the charming and quaint film sets from the movie, stepping into the homes of famous Hobbits like Bilbo Baggins.
There are plenty of cool photo opportunities and you’ll also learn more about the making of the movies. While in New Zealand, there’s also other great LOTR filming locations to visit, such as Skippers Canyon and Snowdon Forest.
2. Milford Sound
For a truly spectacular day, head to the famed Milford Sound on the South Island. It’s a world-famous fiord, known for its dramatic waterfalls and amazing natural beauty. It’s also a top spot for enjoying wildlife, as its home to dolphins, fur seals, and penguins. The best way to see all of Milford Sound is via a boat tour, but bring your raincoat! The weather can change quickly and mist, rain, and fog are common occurrences.
Queenstown is by far one of the coolest cities in New Zealand. Bungee jumping was invented here, and the city has a well-earned reputation as being the adventure capital of the world. If the epic mountain and lake views weren’t enough, you can also enjoy skiing, mountain biking, parasailing, hiking, and ziplining. There is also plenty of nightlife and dining options to experience, so you’re sure to have a good time in Queenstown.
You can also stop off at the nearby towns of Wanaka and Arrowtown, both picturesque and historic areas. With so many to do just in Queenstown, you want to pack sure you’ve packed everything you need. Check out the ultimate guide to packing to help you out – https://www.everlastingcomfort.net/blogs/comfy-reads/travel-must-haves-the-ultimate-travel-packing-checklist.
Most international flights will arrive via Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. While you may be tempted to immediately head out to the wide open spaces of the country, make sure not to ignore Auckland entirely. Take a few days to explore this beautiful city before heading off on your adventure.
There is plenty of fantastic food and wine to try out, along with museums. It’s also a good base for taking day trips to gorgeous places like Waiheke Island and Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.
5. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
If you’re coming to New Zealand, you absolutely have to visit its highest mountain – Aoraki/Mount Cook. It’s a jaw-droppingly gorgeous mountain that offers the picturesque New Zealand views you’re looking for.
It makes a good base for hiking, or tramping as it’s known in New Zealand, as there are plenty of challenging hikes to take on within the National Park.
New Zealand is famous throughout the world for its wines, so it’s worth visiting the country’s most famous wine region, Marlborough. There are plenty of cellar doors to visit, dotted through the lush, green countryside. The region is known for its sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, and chardonnay.
If you’re after a few days of relaxation, great food, and world-class wine, head to Marlborough.
Rotorua is a unique town known for both its geothermal activity and its strong Maori culture. It offers natural hot springs, mud baths, and geysers, fascinating natural occurrences found in few other places across the planet.
It’s also a great place to learn more about the Maori, who are the traditional landowners of New Zealand. Visit a cultural experience such as the Tamaki Māori Village to learn about culture, traditional arts, and the history of the Maori people.
8. Abel Tasman National Park
For a truly incredible New Zealand experience, head to Abel Tasman National Park. It offers some of the most scenic beaches in the country, and is a great spot for kayaking, swimming, hiking, and camping.
Head into the park for a weekend off the grid and immerse yourself in nature. While it’s most popular in the summer months, you can visit anytime.
9. Fox Glacier
There’s not many places left in the world where you can see a glacier, but the South Island of New Zealand is one of them. Fox Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, which makes it so popular.
You can see it on a walk to the base of the glacier, best done with a guide. This way, you learn more about the history and ecology of this incredible area.
10. Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands, located on the far north of the North Island, is an incredible spot to see. Gorgeous small towns, white sandy beaches, and plenty of outdoor activities make it popular with locals and tourists alike.
Water sports, hiking, and sailing are all top experiences here, along with wildlife watching—it’s home to dolphins, whales, and a huge array of bird life.
Which Part of New Zealand Will You Explore First?
Are you ready to explore New Zealand? With so many amazing adventures to be had on both the North and South Island, you ideally want to spend at least a few weeks visiting the country.
Based on the tips above, start making an itinerary and planning out the places you want to see. Many travelers like to rent a campervan in New Zealand to save money, but there are plenty of ways to get around.
You’ll love New Zealand for its natural beauty, wildlife, and amazing adventure activities, so what are you waiting for?