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17 Best places to visit in New Zealand

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New Zealand is both a dream destination and a lifetime place to visit once for many travelers. New Zealand is a beautiful place which is filled with amazing beaches, magnificent waterfalls, and spectacular mountains. New Zealand is the best and the most beautiful country in the world.

Here are some reasons why this place is so special.

1. Stewart Island

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The third largest island in New Zealand is the Stewart Island which is even far more stretched in the south than the South Island. Most of the islands are capped with forests and undeveloped with more than 80 percent of the island which is separated into Rakiura National Park, giving you an opportunity to explore the wild side of New Zealand. Most of the leisure time on Stewart Island goes with the outdoors, including hiking, camping, and bird-watching.

Northwest Circuit is one of the most popular treks on Stewart Island which can take many days to complete for the best climbers. However, Trek provides access to fantastic views and wonderful wildlife. It’s one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. 

  • Location: Situated 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the South Island, across the Foveaux Strait.
  • Best Time To Visit: December 24th to April 1st
  • Nearby Attractions: Ulva Island, Bunkhouse Theatre, Rakiura Track, Stewart Island Ferry.

2. Glacier Country

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Credit: glaciercountry.co.nz

The astonishing Glacier country is found on the west coast of South Island, and its precious gem is the Westland National Park. In the park, you will get an opportunity to see two of the country’s finest glaciers: Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier is one such glacier that is amongst the reachable one on the planet, which means that you can actually go through the glacier and even through the Glacier Valley. You can even relax soaking the sun rays in the incredible glacier hot pools.

  • Location: State Highway 6Fox Glacier, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7951, New Zealand.
  • Best Time To Visit: Prefer traveling here during Winter that runs from June to August.
  • Things To Do: Take a hike along with guide; ride a quad bike; fly in a helicopter; enjoy sky diving.
  • Nearby Attractions: Skydive Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson Walk, Roberts Point Track, Tatare Tunnels Walk, Minnehaha Walk, Peters Pool Walk, Glacier Hot Pools.

3. Muriwai Beach, Auckland

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Muriwai beach on the West Coast only takes a 40-minute drive from Auckland’s City Centre. Massive black sand dunes, amazing surf, and heart-stopping sunsets make this one of the best spots you can visit in New Zealand’s biggest “city”. When you visit the Muriwai Beach on a stormy day then you will get to know the reason why it has been given the nickname of Wild West Coast.

  • Location: Present on the west coast of the Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand
  • Best Time To Visit: December to March.
  • Nearby Attractions: Muriwai Gannet ColonyMuriwai Beach Horse Treks.

4. Milford Sound

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This is the most beautiful place in the whole country if not in the world. You will be blown by seeing the beauty of aggrandized rainforests, huge mountains, hundreds of cascading waterfalls and dolphins! A sound is a beautiful place that can be explored by boat, kayak or aircraft.

  • Location: Milford Sound/Piopiotahi is a bay found in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.
  • Best Time To Visit: Winter is an ideal time to visit – from June to August
  • Nearby Attractions: Homer Tunnel, Southern Discoveries – Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, Eglinton Valley, Humboldt Falls, Bowen Falls.

5. Matapouri, Northland

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These huge hidden Panna rock pools named “Mermaid Pool” are so deep that you can right on hit to dive in.

Advise: Avoid going to high tide because the waves can crash at rocks with dangerous speed and range to your sunbathing perch!

  • Location: Tutukaka, New Zealand
  • Nearby Attractions: Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve, Whale Bay, Sailfish Cove Wines, Perfect Day Ocean Cruise, Sandy Bay Horse Trekking, Matapouri Mermaid Pool.

6. Mount Cook

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Credit: stern.de

The eminence of this place needs to be believed. Taking the track of Hooker Valley, you will be meeting the dramatic scenes of New Zealand’s highest mountain. An easy journey revolves around Hoger River over picturesque swing bridges and offers views of the vast ancient glaciers.

If you are still standing and listening, you can actually hear Glacier continuously cracking and moving. There is a Tasman lake which is at a 20-minutes distance from the car park. Here you can see the Mount Cook reflection in the water and big chunks of icebergs floating!

  • Best Time To Visit: September-November and December to February are the peak seasons for tourism in New Zealand.
  • Nearby Attractions: Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park DOC Visitor Centre, Mueller Hut Route, Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, Ski The Tasman.

7. Wanaka Lake

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Wanaka is located on the Crown Range from Queenstown. If you want to have a serene environment full of spectacular mountain peaks around yourself then you must visit the famous Puzzle World, kayak the lake and explore the most amazing and biking tracks.

Around you, you can hit world-class snow on the slopes of Treble Cone and Cardrona Ski resorts. Even if you are not a skier, the trip will take you into view which will be enough to make you want to stay there only.

  • Best Time To Visit: December 3rd to March 11th
  • Nearby Attraction: Mt Aspiring National Park.

8. Great Barrier Island

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credit: doc.govt.nz

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Great Barrier Island is one of the magical places to go to New Zealand is that many people do not try to reach, but the trip is well worth it.

A 4-hour boat ride or a 30-minute flight will see you sliding on white sandy beaches, jumping from secret springs and cooling in natural hot springs hidden in the bush! While searching for this epic island, you will not find yourself alone.

To blend with the locals, do not get worried about wearing any shoes and greet everyone who you see!

  • Nearby Attractions: Good Heavens, Glenfern Sanctuary, Aotea Track, Medlands Beach.
  • Best Time To Visit: October 22nd to May 6th.

9. Cathedral Cove

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Credit: doc.govt.nz

While this is a top spot to hit on your New Zealand trip, it can get a bit crowded so it is well worth a sunrise mission! Head to the very right-hand side of the beach to find a fresh waterfall trickling down the cliffside – the perfect way to rinse off after a salty swim! Also, don’t neglect the other bays you will pass on your walk back. Stingray Bay and Gemstone Bay are just as beautiful in their own way, and because people often don’t make the effort to visit you can have them all to yourself for a swim. Gemstone Bay is amazing for snorkeling, so take a snorkel & mask!

  • Nearby Attractions: Hahei Beach Walk, Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay, Shakespeare Cliff Scenic and Historic Reserve.
  • Best Time To Visit: April and May.

10. Russell, Bay Of Islands

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As the first permanent European settlement, Russell’s original road plan from 1843 is still standing and features some of New Zealand’s oldest historic buildings such as beautiful lovely cafes and delicious restaurants.

Russell is also a stunning enclave entrance with more than 140 sub-tropical islands.

The crystal clear water, amazing dolphins, incredible fishing and the sky full of stars is so bright that you will not believe your eyes.

  • Nearby Attractions: Flagstaff Hill, Christ Church, Oneroa Bay.
  • Best Time To Visit: January 29th to March 25th or October 8th to December 9th.

11. Owharoa Falls, Karangahake Gorge

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Your trip will be incomplete without the Owharoa Falls in Karangahake Gorge. You can just go relaxing and enjoy swimming on the hot summers day.

  • Nearby Attractions: Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway, Goldfields Railway, Bullswool Farm Park
  • Best Time To Visit: April

12. Whangarei Falls

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Credit: holidayparks.co.nz

Many people go to this photogenic place to take their pictures and just leave. But a lesser known secret is that you can actually climb behind these falls! It will be great if you can quickly head to the rising sun hitting the water in the right place and you will be all covered in the rainbow shelter.

Be careful while climbing the slippery rocks while coming behind the falls.

  • Nearby Attractions: AH Reed Kauri Park, Adventure Forest, Whangarei Quarry Gardens, Clapham’s Clocks – The National Clock Museum, Abbey Caves.

13. Roys Peak

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Credit: doc.govt.nz

If you are eager for a mission, then the increase in the 6-hour return is worth every step you take. Efforts to trek will reward you with the creation of some serious lactic acid and epic scenes of Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring, Matukituki Valley and Wanaka.

Be prepared for fast-changing weather here – take the appropriate shoes and warm windproof clothes. You can get sun, rain, wind, drizzling and snow in less than a minute.

  • Nearby Attractions: Wildwire Wanaka, Lake Wanaka, Deep Canyon, Southern Lakes Heliski, Rippon Vineyard.

14. Queenstown

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Credit: bushwalkingblog.com.au

Without a Queenstown, a list of “The best places to go to New Zealand” will not be complete. Thousands of tourists flock to see this incredible city, famous for its adventure activities and it is not difficult to see why. When you head towards Gondola you will experience the most amazing scenes of the Southern Alps and Luge is also worth watching.

  • Nearby Attractions: Queenstown Gardens, Skippers Canyon, Shotover River, Marine Parade, Kawarau River, Coronet Peak.

15. Tongariro National Park

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You can find New Zealand’s oldest national park by sitting in the middle of the Northern Island.

There are 3 volcanoes in this area, including Mount Tongariro and Mount Ruapehu- a huge active stratovolcano which you can ski and snowboard in winter time! If you are looking for places to go to New Zealand from the Lord of the Rings, then you can recognize Mount Ngauruhoe, which is known as Mount Doom in the movies.

For any person who is a huge lover of hiking, the Tongariro Crossing is yet another place to explore during the spring and summer months.

  • Nearby Attractions: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park Visitor Centre, Mt Ruapehu, Ohakune Old Coach Road.

16. Rotorua

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Rotorua is known as New Zealand’s Thermal Wonderland. There are several geysers and hot waterfalls in and around the city. Many of these are in the park and reserve. Natural explosions of steam, hot water and soil every now and then occur in new places.

Wai-O-Tapu is a place to explore which is close-by Rotorua with many hot springs famous for their colorful appearance in addition to the beauty of Lady Knox Geyser.

  • Nearby Attractions: Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Tamaki Maori Village, Te Puia, Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest.

17. White Island, New Zealand

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Credit: wanderlust.co.uk

White Island is the most active volcano in the country, making it one of the best places to travel to New Zealand for adventure travelers.

Take a beautiful helicopter ride with Volcano Air Safari and get close and personal with White Island. The tour of the White Island tour is not everyone’s cup of tea: Because it is a very active volcano, you have to wear a hard hat and gas mask.

You can also watch volcanologists monitoring the volcano. White Island is also known as Te Puia o Whakaari, a Maori name that translates to “The Dramatic Volcano.”

You can even go scuba diving around White Island for a look at the volcano’s underwater vents.

  • Nearby Attractions: Moutohora Island Sanctuary, Mataatua: The House That Came Home, Whales and Dolphin Watch, Te Papaka, Kohi Point Lookout.

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