New Zealand is a country of almost endless beauty. Its mountains, seas, lakes, volcanoes, forests and beaches mean that, for the nature lovers amongst you, it should pretty much be regarded as heaven on earth.
However, New Zealand is far more than its topography and geography. It is a nation with an incredible history, vibrant towns, bustling cities and all manner of cultural highlights. It would be absolutely impossible to see all of New Zealand in one trip – even if it lasted a couple of years! – but we’re here to give you the biggest helping hand possible.
With our guide to the sights of New Zealand, you can ensure you tick off some of the key things the country has to offer, and perhaps even have enough of an incentive to head back there in the near future. However, before we get into this, let’s get back to the very basics.
New Zealand is incredibly far away, and you most likely won’t have an opportunity to turn around and head back should you leave something important behind. So, whatever you’re travelling to New Zealand for – be it skiing, hiking, drinking or eating – make absolutely sure that you’ve packed all the essentials!
So, with no further ado, here’s what you can’t afford to miss out on when you take a trip to one of the southern hemisphere’s most stunning locations.
Five of The Country’s Most Stunning Sights
Fiordland National Park
This national park is, to put it bluntly, massive. Currently over 1.2 million hectares in size, it incorporates an array of natural environments, from mountains to lakes, rainforests to fjords. If you want to see numerous examples of New Zealand’s natural beauty, you really have to come here.
Franz Josef Glacier
Known the world over as one of the most stunning glaciers on the planet, this is the perfect place to visit if you want to get close to nature, and also if you want to understand firsthand what the dramatic consequences of climate change could be in the long term.
Located right in the heart of the North Island, and surrounded by an array of staggeringly pretty national parks, you could easily spend a few weeks exploring Lake Taupo and its environs without coming close to discovering everything.
Rotorua Thermal Lake
If you want to relax, or if you simply want to see how pretty steaming pools of water can be, then you need to venture to Rotorua. It is the second-largest lake on the North Island, and it’s surrounded by countless thermal hot springs, many of which have been transformed into spas. It’s a stunning location made all the better because it has been designed specifically for tranquillity.
If you ever drew a picture of a volcano when you were little – symmetrical, perfect cone, not very steep – then you pretty much drew Mount Taranaki. It is technically active, and located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, so it can be a bit of a mission to get there – but it’s well worth the trip.
New Zealand’s Most Spectacular Cities
When people think of New Zealand, they tend to imagine mile upon mile of snow-capped mountains bordered by endless expanses of lush greenery. As seen above, scenic locations are plentiful in New Zealand, but there are some spectacular cities to explore too.
As the country’s capital city, it makes sense that Wellington is home to all manner of attractions. And, should you decide to visit, there’s absolutely no way you’ll get bored. From the Wellington Botanic Gardens to the ZEALANDIA ecosanctuary, and the Carter Observatory to Wellington Zoo, there’s something for everyone. The city’s even world-famous for its coffee!
However, if we could only recommend one thing, it would be The Weta Cave. This is a museum/exhibition/workshop/working studio that allows you to explore how special effects for movies are made, what goes into creating a model or prop, and how much time it takes to create items that may only be on screen for one second. You will not regret putting this place on your itinerary.
The obvious choice would be to encourage you to visit Auckland (given that it’s the country’s largest city by quite a distance) – but we’re not content with being conventional. Instead, why not visit Dunedin? The city, which is loosely designed to look and feel like Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is actually even named after Dun Eideann, which is the Gaelic name for Edinburgh!
While here you should take a trip to Larnach Castle, visit the Otago Peninsula, and also take a tour of the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum. Given its relatively small population, Dunedin is a city that massively punches above its weight.
With soaring mountains, blue skies, crystal clear waters and serene forests, New Zealand really is the perfect place for people looking to escape the modern world.