New Zealand has a wealth of national treasures and holiday destinations worth exploring which can make planning your travel itinerary a little difficult. With a little bit of something for everybody in the form of amazing beaches, beautiful hikes, awesome nature preserves and a very unique culture, it’s an amazing travel destination. But it can be hard to decide just exactly what you want to see and do when you’re here. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and created our top 10 list of things you must see & do in New Zealand.
1. Take a ferry to Milford Sound
The six-hour journey from Queenstown to the pier alone is worth every second. The sound itself will leave you properly speechless with breathtaking views of the fjord, grand waterfalls, commanding mountain ranges and, with a little luck, dolphins, seals and even whales.
2. Hike the Franz Josef Glacier
Ever hiked inside a glacier? Franz Josef Glacier, located on the South Island’s beautiful West Coast, is the place to do it. You will hike through a fascinating landscape made of ice and rock – a truly unique New Zealand experience.
3. Take a Hobbit Tour
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably know that much of the film was shot on location in New Zealand. The good news is that you can take guided tours to some of those locations in NZ! Explore the beautiful landscapes and natural set designs that inspired Peter Jackson’s film.
4. View the Waiotapu Hot Springs
New Zealand is located on the fault line of two major tectonic plates and therefore home to volcanoes, earthquakes and hot springs. Make sure to visit Waiotapu and its countless hot pools to marvel at their extraordinary beauty.
5. Hike the Karangahake Gorge
This is an absolute must for those of you that love nature and love hiking. With not shortage of breath-taking spots to stop and marvel at the natural beauty, you will not regret this one. There are several trail loops ranging from 1-8 hours of total (round trip) hiking time. A must-see is the Owharoa Falls.
6. Enjoy the world-famous wineries of New Zealand
New Zealand is quite well known for it’s wine, and many wineries are open for public tours and tastings. It’s definitely a great treat after a long day of exploring to sit down, relax and have a glass.
7. Take a scenic train ride
Similar to many countries in Europe, New Zealand offers some amazingly scenic long-distance train rides. These are more for enjoyment of the countryside than they are for transportation. You can get between most major cities in the country by train, and almost all of them take you past beautiful natural sights. Be sure to check out the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth.
8. Explore the glow worm caves of Waitomo
Waitomo has become world-renowned attracting both local and overseas visitors captivated by the brilliance of the secluded glowworms, atmospheric cathedral caverns, deep limestones shafts and ornate decorations found in and almost the cave systems. Book yourself a tour to float through the caves and experience this amazing natural sensation.
9. Visit the Paparoa National Park
30,000 hectares of rugged coastline, lush native rainforest, cliffs and canyons. Staying active isn’t difficult in this national park with adventurous walking tracks, horse trekking, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and local crafts such as knife making and glass blowing.
10. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a perfect day hike in the North Island’s Tongariro National Park. This park is famous for volcanic activity, its beautiful Emerald Lakes, and Maori religious sites. Another must for the adventurous hiker.