Top 15 Things you Need to See in New Zealand that will Blow your Mind

New Zealand is a place like no other. Not just a few people have said that from many homes they visited, New Zealand was by far the most beautiful and exciting country ever.

When it comes to nature and scenery, New Zealand is unbeatable, an exceptional place.

New Zealand nature

Mitre Peak in Milford Sound, is one of the most famous tourist attractions of New Zealand.

The fact that it has been developing for centuries, isolated from all over the world, gave a chance for survival to many animal and plant species that would not survive anywhere else.

Diverse, fast-changing weather influenced by the Pacific Ocean created a land, where there are various types of nature that are comparable to whole continents with their richness.

And so, you can hike the snowy mountains, swim on the exotic beach, walk through the active volcanic area, play in the vast dunes, or get lost in the tropical bush – all of this is just a few hours of drive from each other.

Ngauruhoe Mountain New Zealand

With unique and breathtaking sceneries, wild animal encounters, and discovering precious Maori culture, there won’t be anything better than your holiday in New Zealand.

These are the top 15 things you need to see in New Zealand when you finally decide to visit.

1. Auckland


Auckland city is the biggest city in New Zealand. And not just that, furthermore, the City of Sails is the largest Polynesian city in the world.

This fantastic coastal metropolis will be your perfect recharge for further travels. With great restaurants, festivals, shopping venues, cultural programs, and endless activities to do, Auckland will boost you with plenty of unforgettable experiences.

2. Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

Once upon a time, there was the end of the world. And who would guess that despite many people’s fear of it, it is one of the most enchanting places? Cape Reinga lies at the northern point of North Island, with spectacular views of the limitless horizon of the ocean and a beautiful lighthouse.

Just a few kilometers to the southwest is situated Ninety Mile Beach – a vast dunes area with a beach. If you have never surfed on the sand, now is the perfect time to try it.

3. Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands New Zealand
The Bay of Islands is best explored by boat.

This subtropical paradise is the best place for anyone who loves water and water sports. The best way how to discover these 144 islands is on a boat, yacht, or kayak.

Furthermore, the Bay of Islands is a world-renowned place for scuba diving for its coral reefs and colorful variety of fishes and sea life, including friendly dolphins and seals.

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4. The Coromandel with the famous Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

We have been to this place before we even know it is so renowned. And then we saw the movie The Narnia, and a screensaver of a Windows 10 and it was like “Wow, look it’s a Cathedral Cove…”.

The Coromandel is a fabulous subtropical rainforest area with pristine golden beaches perfect for chilling, sunbathing, and all kinds of water fun. Full of adventurous tracks and trails, there are plenty of things to do besides admiring the lush beauty of Cathedral Cove. Don’t miss the unique Hot Water Beach! Where you dig a hole into the sand and bathe in the natural hot spring a few meters from the sea. Amazing!

5. Tongariro National Park

Emerald Lakes Mt Tongariro
Emerald Lakes, Mt Tongariro

There is no excuse to miss this destination. This vast, active volcanic national park is home to Mt Ruapehu.

This unique area offers spectacular tracks in summer and perfect ski fields in winter. What not to miss in Tongariro National Park: Tongariro Alpine Crossing – a famous one-day tramping road with astonishing views of Emerald Lakes, volcanic areas, and Mt. Ngauruhoe.

6. Rotorua

Bubbling hot mud in Rotorua
Bubbling hot mud in Rotorua

Rotorua is famous for its best Maori culture experience and countless natural hot springs, boiling mud pools, geysers, native exotic forests with great tracks, lakes, and warm, welcoming people.

A must-see on your list of places to visit in New Zealand.

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7. Wellington


Wellywood was our favorite city to visit for us. This capital is very rich in culture, arts, good vibes, and everything about it. The city center is stunning with beautiful buildings, great places to dine, and shop and so many galleries, museums, etc.

The stunning city beach, Oriental Bay, is especially interesting to see on a Christmas day. The surroundings of Wellington are also beautiful, with views of the Wellington Harbour and Fitzroy Bay.

8. Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is a popular holiday destination for locals as well as tourists from all over the world. The Abel Tasman Coastal Track is an especially popular track because it is accessible and not very demanding track for people of any age. Besides that, nobody could resist the road along one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand, and tropical bushes with the ultimate opportunity to camp directly on one of many beaches there.

Kayaking and water taxis are also a popular transfer option in this area. Amazing escape from the rush to a real paradise!

9. Arthur’s Pass

Views of the Arthur’s Pass from Avalanche Peak track with the usual companion – Kea parrot.
Views of the Arthur’s Pass from Avalanche Peak track with the usual companion – Kea parrot.

This remote area is a good over-stop when traveling between the East Coast (Christchurch) and the West Coast. Apart from waterfalls and great camping spots, you will love encountering Kea – the friendly and a bit annoying birds that are too smart to leave your belongings. They will go after your backpack, comfortably unzip it, and take anything they want, especially food, so be aware.

We highly recommend hiking the Avalanche Peak there, as it offers astonishing views of the mountains, but it is a quite demanding track for experienced trampers only.

10. Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, and Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook and Lake Pukaki

On the way to the highest mountain of New Zealand, you will pass by the unbelievably blue glacial lakes Tekapo and Pukaki. The color of these lakes, especially the Pukaki one, will blow your mind. On the shore of the bright blue lake, you will enjoy spectacular views of the snowy Mt Cook and the Southern Alps.

Mt Cook village has some easily accessible walking tracks, and we recommend Hooker Valley Track, which ends at the glacier lake with the flowing icebergs right in front of mighty Mt Cook.

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11. Dunedin

Clair Beach in Dunedin
Clair Beach in Dunedin

Dunedin belongs to one of the oldest places in New Zealand and is valued as a national heritage. However, its distinctive Victorian and eclectic architecture are not all you can admire there. Otago Peninsula offers great golden beaches perfect for swimming and surfing with rare spots to watch seals, sea lions, and other water birds like the Royal Albatross.

Furthermore, you can visit the only New Zealand castle called Larnach Castle with exceptional gardens.

12. Queenstown

Queenstown New Zealand

The capital of adventure where it all began. This town has a hype all year round. Winter offers excellent skiing choices, while every attraction you could only dream of is open in summer. Bungy, zip tracks, boat cruises, and jet boats, to name a few. The small town is bustling with great restaurants, cafes, bars, and the best waterfront chocolate bar ever.

Queenstown is also a famous base camp for anyone who is going hiking and discovering the nearby Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring National Park.

13. West Coast (South Island)

west coast new zealand

The West Coast of South Island is a pretty magical place. Despite its roughness and remoteness, it is a very mysterious place.  The coast has unusual natural beauty and friendly wekas are approaching you, curiously seeking food. Also, you will enjoy Nikau palms everywhere, which are endemic to New Zealand.

14. Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park is one of the most pristine places. This unique park full of forests, mountains, and fjords is home to plenty of endemic and precious animals and plants which evolved thanks to the remoteness of this place.

With plenty of tracks, camping spots, hidden gems, and 3 Great Walks, you can discover Fiordland forever. Camping spots managed by DOC are a great way how to become a part of this unique nature and enjoy it at its best.

15. Stewart Island

Stewart Island

This island located south of the South Island near Invercargill is a little, untouched paradise and a great escape for adventure seekers.

It is the best place where you can watch real kiwis in their natural habitat.

Furthermore, it is one of the few breeding spots of endangered yellow-eyed penguins. Also, you can meet their weka, kākā, and albatross birds, and many others.

You can watch the Aurora Australis, walk many tracks, and admire the calm and friendly atmosphere of this very remote place with only 380 people living there.

Did we miss anything from your favorite place in NZ?

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