Its location on the globe means many people never get round to visiting New Zealand — but you don’t have to be one of them. The long flight is well worth the wait, no matter which area of the country you head to. Got some time? A road trip is an ideal way to explore as much as possible.
Whatever kind of holiday you decide to take, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. It’s difficult to narrow it down to a list of essentials, but here are seven places you need to see in New Zealand.
7 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, popular with locals and tourists alike. You’ll be able to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a big city, while still being close to nature and the sea (there are views from not one but two harbours).
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking routes, parks, and opportunities to see wildlife. Meanwhile, culture vultures will love the art gallery, libraries, museums and live music. You certainly won’t ever get bored in Auckland.
2. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is noted around the world for its breathtaking beauty. From mountains and rain-forests to waterfalls and dolphins, there’s something to see at every turn. Photographs just can’t do it justice.
3. Mount Cook
New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook is located on the South Island and is part of the South Alps.
Despite being so large, Mount Cook is easy to reach. A 20-minute walk taking you to the Tasman Lake, while a slightly longer route runs along the Hooker Valley walking track. You can’t miss the icebergs and glaciers, which truly are a sight to behold.
Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown is a must-visit destination for all adrenaline junkies. Choose from bungee jumping, canyon swinging, jet boating, and whitewater rafting, to name but a few; there’s no shortage of fun to be had.
And even if adventure sports aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to enjoy. Scenic walks and cruises allow you to admire the scenery at a gentle pace, while wine connoisseurs will have fun sampling New Zealand’s finest.
Top tip: Make sure your travel insurance covers any activities you have planned — not all of them may be included in a standard policy. Research shows that 28% of people fail to protect themselves on holiday, but although rare, illness and injury can occur, plus medical treatment is expensive.
5. Takapuna Beach
Can’t choose between a beach getaway and a city break? You don’t have to. Takapuna Beach sits on Auckland’s North Shore and is the perfect place to relax, with the sunsets and dolphin sightings making it a romantic (but chilled out) spot to spend an evening.
6. Whangarei Falls
There’s nothing like the thundering sound of a cascading waterfall. The Whangarei Falls are 26m high and can be viewed from three different platforms or from the bottom. You can even take a swim in the waters or climb behind the falls to experience them up-close.
New Zealand’s capital is a lively little place, known for its food scene, cable car, and cultural heritage (the Te Papa museum is both fun and informative). Take a food tour to sample some of the city’s most delicious dishes, and don’t forget to stop at the planetarium, observatory and botanic gardens at the top of the cable car — you certainly won’t be short of things to do!