Best attractions in New Zealand: Top 30

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries, which is a complex of islands in the Pacific Ocean. This region is known for its amazingly picturesque nature, which is why the natural attractions of New Zealand are so diverse. Another characteristic feature of this land - a very diverse climate, which includes several climate zones, as well as the cleanest beaches with crystal sea water. Numerous waterfalls, geysers, fjords, bays, lakes, glaciers and other natural treasures. Even the most avid traveler can find something to see in New Zealand: just step outside the airport terminal to be greeted by the lush landscapes of a hospitable land.

What to see first in New Zealand

A trip to New Zealand is a real adventure for those fascinated by nature, who are interested in exploring artifacts that testify to the unique history of this land. But the time frame makes its adjustments, and you have to make a choice of what to see in New Zealand in 1 day, a week or other period planned for the trip.

1. Sky Tower

The Sky Tower with observation deck in downtown Auckland

New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city, Auckland, has built one of the tallest structures in the world, the Sky Tower. This is not just a huge 326-meter TV tower, but also the main landmark for travelers - no matter where you are in the country, you can see the top of the monumental structure, pointing to the center of Auckland. This building itself has three vantage points. At 190 meters is a revolving restaurant with panoramic windows, and the highest of the platforms is equipped at a height of 220 meters, where you can see the surrounding area in a radius of over 80 kilometers.

Official website: https://www.skycityauckland

2. Waimangu Valley of Geysers

Lake in Waimangu Valley of Geysers

“Hot water country” was the name given to the Waimangu Valley by the Maori tribes. In this valley nature created a hydrothermal geyser system, beating directly from the ground to a height of 30 meters. Hot water from the springs sprays out and creates clouds that envelop the valley surroundings. The geysers emit hot steam and water together or alternately. Feedback from first-time visitors tells us that the clouds of steam create a very impressive picture from afar. Even on the streets of the town of Rotorua, located at the epicenter of geothermal activity, streams of white steam are breaking right through the cracks in the sidewalks.

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3. Waitomo Caves

Fantastic green-blue glow on the vaults of the grottoes at Waitomo Caves

A truly fabulous attraction in New Zealand can be found on the country’s North Island. These famous karst caves are a true masterpiece that nature herself created over millions of years. Once upon a time there was an ocean at the bottom of which large formations of limestone were growing, creating a whole labyrinth of passages. Later, when the water receded, the cave system was formed, of which there are about 150. But the main feature of the caves is that their arches are inhabited by amazing organisms - small fireflies, creating a gentle blue glow, reminiscent of the night sky.

4. Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier in Westland National Park

Westland National Park, on one of New Zealand’s two main islands, South Island, is home to a glacier with a beautiful bluish hue, named after an Austro-Hungarian emperor. Each year, about 250,000 visitors flock here, who climb the glacier in full gear or fly directly to the center of the glacier by helicopter. There are also small walking tours in New Zealand to the Franz Josef Glacier, and complex multi-day tours accompanied by experienced guides, which include travel through the tunnels and grottos of the glacier.

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5. Milford Sound Fjord

1692-meter Mitre Peak above Milford Bay

The melting of huge glaciers has gradually formed steep depressions, or fjords, in the rock over thousands of years. New Zealand’s picturesque Milford Sound Fjord, located on South Island in Fjordland Park, was formed by the melting of a glacier moving from the mountains toward the Tasman Sea. The maximum depth of the fjord, which stretches for 19 kilometers, reaches a dizzying 512 meters. The area surrounding the fjord has a mountain-forested landscape, the humidity is always high - it creates a comfortable environment for many endemic bird species.

Official website: https://www.southerndiscoveries

Check out New Zealand's beautiful places in this great video!

6. Hobbiton Village

Miniature cabin - an exhibit of Hobbiton Village

Many people also associate the lands of New Zealand with the works of writer J. Tolkien. Fans of the famous film trilogies “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” surely know what to visit in New Zealand. This is Hobbiton - an artificially created village, which became in the movies the home of the fictional people. Its main feature is that it was not created as a temporary set of plywood and cardboard, and built as a real settlement. Just think how much effort was put into the creation of this fairytale place: skillfully made houses, well-groomed vegetable gardens, fragrant gardens delight the eyes of visitors, allowing them to plunge into the recognizable atmosphere of favorite fantasies.

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7. Islands Cove

The Little Lagoons at Islands Cove

The following recommendations relate to one of the North Island’s most popular tourist destinations, Islands Cove. It is an amazingly beautiful bay, with a scattering of small islands throughout its territory, abundantly covered with vegetation. The shoreline of the island in place of the bay is a lot of very comfortable lagoons, where the mild subtropical climate, always warm and sunny. The Bay of Islands is a favorite place of many divers, fishermen and water sports enthusiasts.

8. City of Rotorua

Panorama of the picturesque resort town of Rotorua Pseudopanax

When choosing where to go in New Zealand, not only to recharge a portion of vivid impressions, but also to improve your health, be sure to choose an excursion to the city of Rotorua. The place where this city is located is a large geothermal zone in the Waimangu Valley, which has already been mentioned before. There are a number of mud baths, spa hotels, there are a lot of mineral springs and geysers, well developed tourist infrastructure. In Rotorua you can also watch a show of indigenous Maori tribes with stories about the tribe’s life, national songs and dances.

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9. White Island Volcano

A top view of White Island Volcano, most of which is hidden under water

This volcano forms the only active volcanic island in the country called White Island. The entire island, more than 300 meters high, is made up entirely of volcanic rocks, the appearance of which creates a landscape similar to the surface of the moon. Here and there hissing jets of steam rush upward from the ground, a restless atmosphere that makes the island virtually uninhabitable except for a small colony of alushera birds. But there’s constant research, and volcanologists work here. New Zealand guides arrange trips to White Volcano with companies regularly organizing helicopter flights.

10. Tongariro National Park

Lakes Blue and Emerald near the Tongariro and Ngauruhoe volcanoes

Fans of the famous film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings are probably familiar with this name, because episodes of the fantasy trilogy were filmed here, in the Tongariro National Park. Elf Country is a real corner of the Earth, the oldest national park in the country. It is located in the heart of the North Island, and on its lands there are 3 active volcanoes, which also got into the frames of the famous fantasy. Near the two volcanoes are peacefully located lakes Emerald and Blue - reservoirs sacred to the tribes of the Maori.

11. Lake Taupo

The perfect water surface of Lake Taupo

At the center of the North Island sits New Zealand’s most valuable freshwater reservoir, the country’s largest lake, Lake Taupo. The lake’s waters are fed by about 30 rivers, and only one river, the largest and most full-flowing, the Waikato, flows out. The lake was once formed on the site of a volcanic crater, which is more than 180 meters deep. The waters of the lake are inhabited by trout, the specimens of which here reach a large size - more than 10 kilograms. Therefore, in coastal restaurants you can try a variety of dishes with trout, and you can relax in one of the hotels of New Zealand, located on the shore of Waikato.

12. Hooka Falls

Hooka Falls is a series of cascades on the Waikato River in Wairakei Park

The Waikato River mentioned above is known not only for its size and fullness, but also for a series of picturesque waterfalls located in the Wairakei Reserve. Narrowing in this area, the river turns into a swift stream and provides excellent conditions for extreme rafting, which is very common here. Later, as it rushes through a narrow ravine, the torrential stream descends through several rapids, which are the most interesting places to watch and are equipped with viewing platforms and small bridges crossing the river. The waters of the Waikato are characterized by crystal clarity and an incredible emerald-blue hue.

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13. Agrodome

"Sheep Show" at Agrodome Theme Park Robert Linsdell

Not far from the city of Rotorua is the unusual Agrodome Theme Park, which has become home to many animals, mostly domestic species. The 160-hectare park is large enough to take you on a hike or four wheel drive to see llamas and deer gallivanting peacefully about, goats, cows, sheep and ostriches grazing in the meadows. One of the visitor-favorite events is the Sheep Show, a thrilling performance showcasing different breeds of sheep, examples of masterful shearing, milking cows, and feeding newborn lambs, all with audience participation.

Official website: https://www.agrodome.

14. Ninety Mile Beach

The sand dunes of Ninety Mile Beach

At the very tip of the North Island there is a very long 88-kilometer stretch of coastline with the cleanest sea and perfect sand. In fact, it’s a deserted beach for lovers of wild recreation and water sports - surfing, windsurfing, and boating are especially popular here. Any tourist arriving here will be surprised by desert landscapes, not at all typical for the nature of New Zealand. An interesting feature of the beach - the unusual sand dunes, changing the topography with every whiff of wind.

15. Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls is a fantastic creation of New Zealand nature

A true miracle of nature, the waterfall of fantastic height of about 600 meters, is located on the South Island, in the large national park Fiordland. Waters of one of the mountain lakes, located in a mountain hollow, plunge from a dizzying height of the Southern Alps and with a powerful roar plummet down to form Sutherland Falls, and then flow into the Arthur River. You can get to this place from the nearby town of Queenstown, renting a car there or joining a general tour group by bus. The falls are most beautiful in the winter, when its flow is especially full.

16. City of Napier. Art Deco architecture.

The square with the fountain in front of the art deco cathedral

The main attractions of New Zealand are briefly continued by the South Island city of Napier. This city has a troubled past - it was severely damaged by an earthquake in the early 20th century, after which it was rebuilt practically from scratch. Looking around its beautiful panorama, parks and gardens of amazing beauty, buildings, decorated in the same architectural style of Art Deco, it’s hard to believe that less than a century ago, before the devastating earthquake, everything here looked very different. Today the city has rightfully acquired the status of the Art Deco capital of the world and is a landmark in its own right.

17. Oakland Art Gallery

A view of Toi-o-Tamaki Art Gallery or Auckland Art Gallery ChewyPineapple

In the heart of Oakland, next to Albert Park, is the first permanent art gallery in the country. The gallery’s collection began when a few dozen rare works were donated to the institution, and today it already has a grand collection of works - more than 12,000 works by artists of old and modern times, famous classics and new artists. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, it often hosts various holiday events and lectures for those who are interested in the history of New Zealand art.

Official website: https://www.aucklandartgallery

New Zealand sights: what else to visit in New Zealand

These were the main sights of New Zealand photos with names and descriptions, but not all. Even unsophisticated travelers, fascinated by these lands, after the first acquaintance with the country begin to realize that they are beckoned again by this magical land. And for this there is always something else to see in New Zealand.

18. Kelly Tarleton’s Underwater World

Shark tunnel visit at Kelly Tarleton Underwater World Aquarium Researchassistent102

A huge and unusual aquarium is located near Auckland. It is called Kelly Tarleton’s Underwater World and is a long and curved tunnel with transparent walls through which you can observe various sea creatures. The aquarium was created from large sewage tanks by a renowned deep-sea explorer and scuba diver. He designed the 110-meter long aquarium-arc in just 10 months. Today the structure holds about 2,000 sea creatures, including even several species of large predators - sharks.

Official website: https://www.kellytarltons.

19. Cape Reinga

Automatically working lighthouse at Cape Reinga

Reinga Cape is a cape in the very north of New Zealand, on the Aupouri Peninsula. The indigenous New Zealand Maori people give this place special spiritual significance - it was the Maori who gave it this name, which means “Underworld” in their language. They believe the Reinga Cape is a kind of portal to the underworld, where the souls of the dead descend to the underworld. A solar-powered lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction. And also on the cape you can watch one amazing natural phenomenon - how the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet, and the border becomes especially clear in clear weather.

20. Wai-O-Tapu

The "Champagne Pool" Hot Spring

Areas of hydrothermal zones have always attracted a lot of interest, especially among tourists. New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu Valley, located on the North Island, is no exception. It seems that the entire surface of the earth in this place is like a cauldron, in which everything is boiling, bubbling and squeaking. There are several interesting places in the valley - geysers and lakes, with steam and hot sprays bursting out every now and then. This valley is one of the few places in the world where you can observe the volcanic element so close. However, it is worth staying vigilant, the crater can form anywhere, so it is better not to take any chances and walk along the path strictly designated for the tour.

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21. Mount Cook National Park

The natural landscape of Mount Cook National Park

New Zealand’s true treasure and pride of its people is Mount Cook National Park, located on the outskirts of the country’s highest mountain peak, the Aoraki. The territory of the park is a real paradise for climbers and travelers who want to see the most beautiful and impressive natural creations. For example, the Tasmanian Glacier is the largest glacier here, and its meltwater forms one of New Zealand’s largest lakes, Pukaki. Another find is the frozen Gochschretter Falls, dubbed the “Ice Niagara. During the hike everyone will discover all the splendor of this place - high mountain meadows, clear water bodies and unique mountain scenery.

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22. Kavarau Bridge

The Kavarau Suspension Bridge for bungee jumpers

New Zealand’s best sights are rounded out by a place popular with extreme sports fans. It is a high bridge from which you can jump: jumping on a long rubber rope from a dizzying height is an entertainment not for the faint-hearted. Kawarau Bridge has become the ancestor of extreme sports, because it was there who performed the first jumps on the special bungee cord. The bridge itself was built by Chinese gold diggers about a century ago, and only in the late 80s of last century, thrill-seekers opened here the first school of bungee-jumping.

23. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Museum (Wellington)

Facade of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Museum in Wellington Kaihsu Tai

The capital of New Zealand, the city of Wellington, has a small but very interesting Reserve Bank Museum. This government body, founded in 1929, is responsible for the country’s monetary system. The museum square features a number of unique exhibits, computer systems and automatons from different times. Here visitors learn in detail about New Zealand’s banking system and the gold reserves that form the backbone of the state’s economy, and get information about the printing of new banknotes and how to destroy obsolete ones. Guests are introduced to the printing presses and the first econometric computer, created in 1940, which provided a dramatic breakthrough in computer technology. Most surprising is the fact that all of this computer’s calculations are based on plain water, which mimics the money supply in economics.

Official website: https://www.rbnz

24. Japanese Meditation Garden (Hamilton)

The Japanese Garden Corner is imbued with harmony and idyll in Hamilton's 14th- and 16th-century tradition Bit2spam

Japanese gardens have long been one of the symbols of the Land of the Rising Sun, and the very first of them appeared in the Japanese islands some 1,500 years ago. In the United States and Europe, the fascination for this art appeared relatively recently, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. And today, beautiful Japanese gardens can be found on almost every continent. However, New Zealand’s gardens in the southern part of Hamilton have distinguished themselves not only by the techniques of Japanese art, but also by features of park design from Italy and England. Hamilton’s unique Japanese Garden is a beautiful garden and park complex of over 54 hectares, built in the 1960s on the site of the city’s former landfill. The main concept of the Japanese Garden is that being in it should bring tranquility and peace, like after meditation. Once here, anyone can see and feel with his own eyes the differences between the eastern and western approach to the garden art.

25. Fjordland National Park

Great scenery of Milford Bay in Fjordland National Park in New Zealand

When choosing the best natural attractions in New Zealand, the presentation cannot leave out the fjords - stunningly beautiful places where the water of sea bays cuts into the rocks and grinds them through, creating fantastic landscapes and scenery. This is exactly the kind of place you can see in Fjordland National Park, located in the southwestern part of the country. Here New Zealand has preserved its pristine beauty - on these lands you can see not only fjords, but also waterfalls, and mountain peaks and rivers. Human activity has hardly touched Fjordland’s nature, so almost the whole land part of the park is covered with evergreen rain forests, myrtle trees, laurel, ferns and other rare plants - about 7 thousand species in all. The park’s fauna is equally abundant, with sperm whales, orcas, whales, and harbor seals swimming in the coastal waters. Visitors come to this place not only to contemplate the natural beauty, but also for active recreation, because here you can swim in a boat, and fly a plane, and dive into the water, and take a ride on a jeep.

Official website: https://www.doc.govt.

26. Hot Water Beach (Coromandel Peninsula)

Hot Water Beach vacationers on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula Steve & Jem Copley

Anyone can find a vacation to their liking in New Zealand, but the real find for the traveler is the Hot Water Beach on the coast of Coromandel Island. These interesting places are formed by the rising thermal waters from underground springs, which seep right through the sand at low tide. Vacationers take advantage of the wonderful possibilities of these places by digging small holes in the sand, which eventually form warm mini-lakes. Lying down in such a natural “Jacuzzi”, you can spend a few hours here, saturating the body with beneficial moisture. Such a home-made font is not inferior to the elite thermal baths in the elite spas. After enjoying your holiday at the thermal springs, you can go deep into the north island to the town of Matamata, near the village of Hobbiton, New Zealand. Here you can enter the fairytale world of hobbits, an atmospheric park with interesting scenery.

27. Whales and dolphins in Kaikoura

Giant sea creatures on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand

Many interesting historical and natural attractions, fjord parks, protected areas, mirror lakes concentrated in its lands New Zealand. The South Island, which is famous for its wildlife, is the only place on the planet where you can see a cluster of huge sperm whales during their migration. While traveling in the coastal waters, vacationers can also see colonies of seals and dolphins, with whom they can even swim in the ocean. This number of whales and dolphins is due to the abundance of nutrients and ideal conditions for the growth of plankton, which serves as food for these inhabitants. In addition to whale watching, there are a number of equally interesting activities on Kaikoura - such as golfing, diving, walking through lavender fields, hiking in the mountains, exploring karst caves and much, much more.

28. Otago Peninsula (New Zealand)

View of the town of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula from Mount Cargill in New Zealand

New Zealand’s best attractions are, of course, its nature, and one of the great places to enjoy pristine nature is the Otago Peninsula, a small piece of land jutting out far into the expanse of the ocean. This land was once a volcano, which was active millions of years ago and has long been extinct. And today Otago is a hilly edge of land, separated from the South Island by a small isthmus. Most of it is covered by forest, and the coast is a strip of rocky shores and small sandy beaches. The real treasure of Otago is its rich flora and fauna: it is home to rare species of penguins, lizards, the smallest blue penguins, countless species of wading birds - the catfish, herons, kingfishers. Coastal waters are home to the great white shark, the great turtle, and populations of sea lions and seals. And in the center of Otago, climbing a picturesque hill, you can visit the only castle in the country - Larnaca.

29. Tiri Tiri Matangi Island (Hauraki Bay)

Tiri Tiri Matangi Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Hauraki Bay in New Zealand Claire Gribbin

Another corner of New Zealand’s natural uniqueness is Tiri Tiri Matangi Island, located some distance from the shores of Auckland, about 30 kilometers away. Since the 14th century the island was inhabited by Maori tribes, and in the 19th century Europeans came to the island and settled here, ennobling the territory and founding a small village. Around the middle of the last century, the island acquired the status of a recreational reserve and began to be used for tourism and scientific purposes. The real living attraction of the island were the birds, which are brightly colored and extremely diverse - many of the local species are not found anywhere else. In terms of tourism, Tiri Tiri Matangi is an ideal place for hiking and beautiful photos. The real delight for visitors is the island’s beautiful beaches, where you can sit for a long time, enjoying the unity with wildlife and the sound of waves crashing against the coastal cliffs.

30. Fox Glacier (Westland Park)

Fox Glacier hikes are very popular with Westland Park Flying Kiwi Tours

New Zealand’s islands, once discovered by the eminent navigator Abel Tasman, are a veritable treasure trove of natural treasures, and Westland National Park is one of them. It is here you can see the Fox Glacier - one of the most amazing and beautiful sights of this region. The glacier was named in the late 19th century after Prime Minister William Fox. Slipping down from the mountains to a height of about 2.6 kilometers, it forms four giant ice jumps that stretch for as much as 13 kilometers along the gentle surface of the Southern Alps. The glacier is fed by snowfalls, which form a thick layer of snow and ice at its head. Walks to the glacier are organized by the tourist center, located in the nearby town of Wehek. It is worth noting that over the last century the glacier has gradually receded, and its outflow has formed the Fox River, quite full today, as well as many valleys-flats. Mountain Lake Matheson was also formed in one of these valleys.

Official website: https://www.doc.govt

Holidays in New Zealand - an invaluable breath of clean fresh air in the bosom of pristine nature, the opportunity to feel the contrast with the usual everyday life. Getting to know the local cultural and hospitable people, who honor traditions and appreciate their native land, leaves the brightest impressions, causing a desire to travel again and again to this fabulous land.