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Friday, December 15, 2023

Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

New Zealand is renowned for its breathtaking natural landscapes. While exploring the country, one will encounter striking black-sand beaches, rejuvenating thermal springs, serene sandy coves, majestic mountains, and mesmerizing aquamarine lakes. In addition to vibrant cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, which offer enriching urban experiences, some of the most remarkable destinations in New Zealand lie beyond the city boundaries, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Best Places to Visit in New Zealand

When planning your travel itinerary in Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand), make sure to prioritize these nine exceptional locations.


Queenstown, located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains, is undeniably the adventure capital of New Zealand. Its breathtaking setting alone makes it a highly sought-after destination for both work and play. With three exceptional ski hills, known as "ski fields," and an impressive après-ski scene, Queenstown is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts.

But Queenstown's appeal extends far beyond the winter months. It is renowned for its thrilling adventure activities, ranging from heart-pounding bungy jumping and exhilarating zip lines to awe-inspiring paragliding and exciting jet boating. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Queenstown offers an abundance of options to satisfy their cravings. Moreover, during the summer months, visitors can indulge in fantastic hiking, cycling, and water sports on the picturesque lake.

While Queenstown itself is a captivating destination, it is worth taking a detour to explore the surrounding valleys and settlements. A visit to the nearby Lake Hayes, the charming lakeside village of Glenorchy, and the historic Arrowtown is highly recommended. Additionally, allocating a day or more to discover the laid-back vibes of Wānaka, renowned for its Instagram-famous tree, is a must. For wine enthusiasts, the nearby Gibbston Valley boasts some of the finest wineries in the entire country.

Queenstown's unparalleled location, nestled between Lake Wakatipu and majestic snow-capped mountains, has rightfully earned it the title of New Zealand's adventure capital. Its popularity among visitors is well-deserved, as it offers a perfect blend of work and play. With three exceptional ski fields and an impressive après-ski scene, Queenstown is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts. However, its appeal extends far beyond the snowy season, with a wide range of thrilling adventure activities available year-round. Additionally, the summer months provide ample opportunities for hiking, cycling, and water sports on the stunning lake. Don't miss the chance to explore the surrounding valleys and settlements, including Lake Hayes, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, and the laid-back town of Wānaka. And for wine lovers, a visit to the renowned wineries of Gibbston Valley is a must.


If you are looking for a beach vacation, consider visiting the Coromandel Peninsula on the eastern coast of the North Island. Although accessing the iconic Cathedral Cove area is currently more challenging due to damage caused by storms in 2023 (requiring a boat or kayak tour), there are numerous other breathtaking beaches in the area.

For instance, you can enjoy swimming in the tranquil waters of Cooks Beach or embark on a 30-minute hike through native bush to discover the more secluded yet still popular New Chums Beach. Additionally, there are other enjoyable activities to partake in, such as cycling through Karangahake Gorge, trekking the Pinnacles Trail, and kayaking to Whenuakura Wildlife Sanctuary (Donut Island) – a pristine natural environment that can only be explored from the water.

A helpful planning tip is to rent a bach (holiday house) in one of the coastal towns like Hahei, Pauanui, or Whangamatā, and use it as your base for exploring the region.

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park, located on the edge of the South Island, is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and natural wonders. One of the park's most iconic attractions is the majestic Milford Sound/Piopiotahi, where visitors can witness the awe-inspiring sight of cascading waterfalls and encounter rare marine wildlife such as Fiordland crested penguins and Hector's dolphins. Additionally, the park offers numerous hiking trails, including the renowned Milford Track, which allows visitors to immerse themselves in the splendor of snow-capped mountains, glacier-carved fiords, and captivating vistas of lakes, valleys, and waterfalls.

For those seeking a truly remarkable experience, Doubtful Sound/Patea, located nearby, is equally spectacular. However, it is important to note that access to this area is more limited. Travelers must arrange for a guided tour and embark on a boat journey to fully appreciate the wonders of Doubtful Sound/Patea.

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