Welcome to New Zealand
New Zealand is a country of stunning and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fiords, pristine trout-filled lakes, raging rivers, scenic beaches, and active volcanic zones. These islands are one of Earth's most peculiar bioregions, inhabited by flightless birds seen nowhere else such as a nocturnal, burrowing parrot called the kakapo and kiwi. Kiwi are not only one of the national symbols – the others being the silver fern leaf and koru – but also the name New Zealanders usually call themselves.
Top 10 Things To Do In New Zealand
The Abel Tasman National Park is one of our all-time favourite places to visit during the summer. This is one of the areas in New Zealand that receives the most hours of sunshine and the summer months are usually hot, hot, hot! If you are looking for action, then hire a kayak for the day and head off exploring the park’s stunning little bays and coves. For the super-active, why not give the Abel Tasman Coast Track a go – one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, it’s a stunning 51km tramp with some unbelievable views.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, the Bay of Islands is a holiday hot spot. Located just a three-hour drive from downtown Auckland, the Bay of Islands is a truly magical place. With 140+ islands to discover, we recommend getting yourself booked onto one of the numerous cruises that run out of Paihia. We have some great deals available through our platform. Getting out onto the water, you are likely to come across some pretty awesome marine life including dolphins, whales and even penguins.
3. Coromandel Peninsula
Another favourite amongst Auckland holiday-makers, the Coromandel Peninsula is just a short 2.5-hour drive from downtown Auckland. Despite the proximity, it feels a thousand miles apart. Escape the hustle and bustle and discover craggy mountains cloaked in native forest and a huge coastline of golden sandy beaches. Two must-do activities on the peninsula: - Take the hike to Cathedral Cove – you won’t be disappointed - Dig your own hot tub at Hot Water Beach and sit back and relax
The road to Dunedin is the one less travelled by Kiwis and visitors alike. However, those who don’t venture down to the far south know not of what they are missing. Dunedin is a spectacular place to visit during the summer months when the temperature can hit the low 30s and the Otago Peninsula basks in a few months of glorious sunshine. Dunedin has a lot to offer. From the hidden delights of Tunnel Beach to the magnificence of Larnach Castle to the diverse wildlife that calls this corner of New Zealand home. We urge you to think outside the box this summer and take a trip to Dunedin – it won’t disappoint.
We’re not sure any list of anything at all in New Zealand is complete without mentioning Milford Sound! Without a doubt one of the most popular destinations in the country, Milford Sound should be a ‘top of the list’ item for any visitor to New Zealand and a must do for anyone living here. Located in the Fiordland National Park, this World Heritage Site is truly spectacular. Take a cruise out to the Sound or for the energetic, try tramping the Milford Track – another of New Zealand’s great walks.
6. Franz Josef Glacier
It’s a close call whether it’s better to visit Franz Josef in the summer or the winter. For us, summer just pips it even though you miss out on the surrounding snow-capped mountains (there will still be snow on the highest peaks!). With the summer sun shining down, it’s so cool to take a helicopter ride up onto the glacier for a day of exploring. Discover spectacular blue ice caves and take a peek down some cavernous drops as you get to take in the full magnificence of the Franz Josef Glacier from high up above.
Whilst thousands of people flock to the city in winter to enjoy the skiing and snowboarding, Queenstown is also an awesome place to visit in the summer. As the adventure capital of New Zealand (sorry Rotorua!) there is so much to do here no matter what you’re into. From the all-action bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating and paragliding to the more sedate wine-tasting, lakeside walks and cruises, this is a city that is always alive. Queenstown’s location means it’s also a great base for exploring – nearby Arrowtown, Cromwell and Wanaka are all within driving distance for day trips so there is a lot of exploring to be done in and around Queenstown in the summer months.
Rotorua is known as the adventure capital of the North Island. Located just a short 3-hour drive from Auckland, Rotorua is jam-packed with things to do. Rotorua is an area of significant geothermal activity and there are heaps of attractions. Our favourite is Wai-O-Tapu where you can go and check out the world-famous Champagne Pools. Outside of geothermal activities, Rotorua is also a haven for mountain bikers. The city plays host to some of the world’s biggest mountain biking events and attracts thousands of mountain bikers every year to ride the surrounding hills and forest trails. Once you get past the smell (the sulphur is pretty pungent!) Rotorua is an awesome place to spend a few days.
Located between Queenstown and Christchurch, Tekapo is an awesome place to visit in the summer. The colour of the water is absolutely captivating – the turquoise waters look like someone has dropped in some food colouring! On a hot day, the water certainly looks tempting and plenty brave the waters but be warned – they’re glacial so they don’t tend to warm up no matter what time of year you visit! Away from the water, make sure you take the drive or hike up to the top of Mt John where you will find the observatory as well as some pretty amazing views down over the lake and township.
10. Tongariro National Park
In the centre of the North Island is one of New Zealand’s gems. The Tongariro National Park is a dual World Heritage Site due to its spectacular volcanic features as well as its importance to the Maori culture. The park is home to New Zealand’s best one day walk – the Tongariro Crossing. Thousands of people every year take the 19.4km tramp through this spectacular National Park, carving their way between towering volcanic peaks and past shimmering emerald lakes. For movie buffs, the Tongariro National Park is also home to Mt Doom – made famous in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.