Best Places to Go in New Zealand
For many travelers, New Zealand is a dream destination and a one-time lifetime to travel. If you are planning your first trip to New Zealand, or if you are planning a return trip to see this beautiful and wild country, then you want to know which places in New Zealand should be seen at the top. List. Here are our pics for the 10 best places to visit in New Zealand.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is one of the best places in New Zealand for fishing, boating and other waterfalls. The Bay of Islands is approximately three hours by car from Auckland. This magnificent region is made up of 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula.
What to do in the Bay of Islands?Get in or out of the water! Try scuba diving with a diving course with piahives. You will arrive in the bay to explore an entirely new underwater world. Get up close and personal with marine life in the marine islands at a Fullers Greatsight Hole in Rock Dolphin Cruise. On a good day, you will see both whales and dolphins on this cruise. The cruise will take you to Hole in the Rock, one of the island's most famous destinations. When you are right you can be sailing through this unique opening in the construction of the rock. Stay Anywhere: Spend a night at the historic Duke of Marlborough Hotel, which has the distinction of being the oldest pub license in New Zealand and is located on a peninsula that falls directly into the middle of the bay.
Milford Sound, New Zealand
Rudyard Kipling called Milford Sound the "eighth wonder of the world", and if you visit this region of New Zealand, you will see why. Built by glaciers during the ice age, the landscape around Milford Sound still bears evidence of its construction in the form of epic scenes: the rise of rocks from rocks crowned by mountains and waterfalls.
The best way to see Milford Sound is via boat. Take a sightseeing tour on the fjord to see waterfalls and wildlife such as dolphins and penguins. Or navigate the water under your own steam on a kayaking tour.
Once you experience the water from the surface, head down with a visit to the Milford Discovery Center and the Underwater Observatory. It is the only floating, underwater observatory in New Zealand, and visitors can go more than 30 feet deep (while staying dry) and receive 360 degree underwater environments.
Where to stay: There aren't many places to stay close to the Sound, but if you don't drive three and a half hours from Queenstown, consider Milford Sound Lodge. The lodge offers many packages for hiking and boat tours, and there is really no greening the place in terms of access to sound.
Auckland, New Zealand
As New Zealand's largest city and its international air travel center, Auckland is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Many international flights arrive in New Zealand via Auckland Airport, making it an ideal city from which to begin exploring New Zealand.
Before taking your long flight to New Zealand spend at least a day or two in Auckland to take your long flight and explore the vibrant metropolis. Here are our suggestions for what to see and do in Auckland:
- Get some culture by visiting one of the many museums in Auckland, such as the Auckland Art Gallery. It is New Zealand's largest art institution featuring over 15,000 works of historical, modern and contemporary art.
- If the weather is good, take a walk in the 185-acre Auckland Domain Park. If you are traveling on Saturday, include a stop at the nearby Pernell Farmers Market, which sells fresh produce in the morning.
- Auckland is also home to a host of multicultural bars and restaurants serving all types of food, so be sure to dine in the city of Auckland (and go out for cocktails or two to check out the nightlife).
- If you are looking for adventure activities in Auckland, consider the Auckland Bridge Climb. And if you're really brave, try the Auckland Bridge Bungee Jump.
- If you are looking for guided trips to Auckland, book an Auckland City Tour or America's Cup sailing experience on Waitemata Harbor.
Where to stay: No matter if you live in Auckland, you will be close to something interesting. Try to stay in CityLife Auckland, which is within walking distance to many Auckland highlights, like both North and Princess Wharf and Skytower.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
One of the best places to visit in New Zealand for wine lovers is more than 30 minutes by boat from the city of Auckland to Auckland. For a small island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is certainly home to many vineyards. You can go on your Waiheke Island trip to sample as many of them as you want to drive someone else. Our pick is Waiheke Island Wine Tours, whose expert local guides will shuttle you to three Vineyards to sample 14 different wines.
All the wine from the vineyards of Waiheke Island will starve you. When it's time to eat, book your lunch or dinner at the Mudbrick Vineyard Restaurant, a grand eatery with views of the vineyard and the sea. For a truly special meal, book Mudbrick Vineyard Restaurant's tasting menu, a seven-course event with wine pairing.
Certainly, on the island of Waihek there is nothing more than just drinking wine! Waiheke Island is also famous for its vibrant arts community, beaches, forests and olive groves. Unless you really are one of the best places to visit in New Zealand, we recommend booking a culture trip, scenic flight or hiking to see why.
Where to stay: It is definitely worth an overnight stay on Waiheke Island. Choose Delmore Lodge, one of the best reviewed Vaheke Island hotels on Tripadvisor (the parent company of SmartTravel). The hotel also offers some of the best packages that include everything from wine and food to spa treatments for couples.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Four major earthquakes between September 2010 and December 2011 have made Christchurch a true comeback. Visitors to Christchurch will everywhere see evidence of the city's rebirth, including new buildings made of old shipping containers and other unique materials such as cardboard cathedrals.
Of course, many of Christchurch's original attractions still stand. One of the best places to visit are Christchurch Botanical Gardens, a vast network of conservative networks, walking tracks and gardening exhibits. The park also houses some of New Zealand's largest, tallest and oldest trees.
Take in the new and old of Christchurch from above with a trip to Christchurch Gondola. This cable car takes you on a scenic ride to the top of Mt. Cavendish.
Where to stay: Choose Heritage Christchurch for its central location and status as a world luxury hotel. It may cost a little extra, but it will be worth it.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Located on the southwest side of the South Island, Queenstown has a good reputation as the adventurous capital of New Zealand. During the winter and spring months (June to October), Queenstown is known for world-class skiing. Of course, there is a lot to do throughout the year in Queenstown. Adventure activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating and river rafting will make you experience the region at dizzy heights and breathtaking speeds.
Queenstown is also home to the world's tallest cliff jumper, the Shotover Canyon Swing, where you can distance yourself from a cliff in many ways — including backward or tied to a chair.
If you don't lose your appetite (or your lunch) on these adrenaline pumping activities, enjoy the food scene in Queenstown - one of the best in New Zealand. As locals and tour guides alike will tell you, one of the best places to eat in Queenstown is Fergberger, which CNN says "may be the best burger joint on the planet."
Where to stay: Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel is located on the edge of town, providing easy access to restaurants and other shops, but lets you sleep in relative peace away from the center of activity.
Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, New Zealand
No list of the best places to visit in New Zealand would be complete without mentioning Te Puia, the Institute of New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts, located in Te Vakhreverava Geothermal Valley of Rotorua. In this Maori Heritage Center, you can get a "steambox" meal prepared using ancient geothermal cooking techniques. You will also experience Maori reception and traditional song and dance performances.
The Te Vakhareverava Geothermal Valley is also home to several active geysers, including Pohutu, the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Earthen pools are another natural attraction in the geological valley: these boiling pools reach temperatures in excess of 200 ° F.
Where to stay: Rotorua is located on the banks of nearby Rotorua Lake Rotorua. The entire facility is powered by geothermal heat to provide a better appreciation for the valley.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which are naturally illuminated by thousands of Glowworms, are one of the most unique places to visit in New Zealand — and a visit to the caves is an experience you work hard to duplicate elsewhere. You can take a boat ride through the caves to learn about the history and science behind the incident.
Or, if you really want a unique adventure, try black-water rafting with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company, which will float you on an inner tube under a suburban stream. It will be Peach-Dark (except Gloveworms), and you'll have everything to do from jumping waterfalls to collapsing cave walls. Choose your own adventure when you book a tour.
There are also other (non-Gloworm) caves in Waitomo. Aranui Cave has ancient cave decorations; Ruakuri Cave has an awesome spiral entrance and unique limestone formations — and, well, more sparkling, but in this cave you can take a walk instead of a water-based excursion.
Where to stay: Waitomo Caves Hotel is minutes from the famous Gloworm Caves. It offers a spa as well as cave tour reservations through its website.
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
You can hike an actual glacier in New Zealand. The Franz Josef Glacier hosts both guided walking tours and jaw dropping helicopter tours. Tourism offers a more leisurely hike than a snow climb on a 6.8-mile-long glacier.
Would you not freeze on top of a huge glacier? No! The Franz Josef Glacier receives a lot of sunlight, and temperatures on the ice are generally a few degrees colder than the nearby city.
Cap in a day while visiting Franz Josef Glacier with a soak in the Glacier Hot Pool. The pool is fed by the waters of the Franz Josef Glacier, and you can use one of the three heated pools or get a private pool.
Where to stay: Franz Josef is a small enough city that does not make much difference at the exact location (you can be close to everything wherever you are). Consider Aspen Court Franz Joseph, which has been rated the best in the region.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Check out New Zealand's highest mountain and longest glacier at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking here, no matter what your skill level is. For experienced climbers, there are 23 summits over 9,800 feet. For those who want something more low-key, there are plenty of sidewalks or boardwalks that still have spectacular views.