New Zealand is situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and comprises of two main islands. Both of these islands have volcanoes and glaciation but that doesn’t stop New Zealand to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. It attracts tourists from all over the world and is surely a once in a lifetime kind of destination. Although filled with scenic beauty everywhere we have come up with 10 must-visit places when you are in New Zealand. Have a look-
The Bay of Islands
Only a three-hour car ride from Auckland will take you to the Bay of Islands. One of the best places for fishing in entire New Zealand, this place is also famous for different water sports and sailing. This glorious region comprises of 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula. You can try scuba diving and explore the vast underwater world with Paihia Dive’s intro-to-diving course. You can also experience marine life like never before you can even swim with the wild dolphins if the weather is right. Don’t miss The Hole in the Rock which is a famous opening rock through which you can sail through!
In Rudyard Kipling’s words, Milford Sound is the “Eighth wonder of the world”. True to this name it was formed by glaciers during the Ice Age. The unique part of this is that it still holds proof of its creation in the form of a marvelous scenery: Cliffs rise from fjords and are capped by mountains and waterfalls. The best place to witness this beauty is through a boat. You can also visit the only floating underwater observatory in New Zealand called the the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory. People who visit the observatory can go more than 30 feet deep (while staying dry) and get a 360-degree view of the breathtaking underwater environment.
Auckland New Zealand
Listed as one of the top 10 cities’ in the world by lonely planet, the largest city of New Zealand and also the stop for its major air travel, Auckland is the perfect city to begin your New Zealand tour. Due to the international Auckland airport there is a high probability your flight will land here so it will be your first destination by default. You can visit The Auckland Art Gallery if you are a fan of literature and art. It is the largest art institute of New Zealand and holds more than 15,000 works of historic, modern, and contemporary art. If you are in the mood for adventure you can try the Auckland Bridge Climb or Auckland Bridge bungee jump for the really daring ones.
A heaven for wine lovers, the Waiheke Island is just 30 minutes away from downtown Auckland through a boat ride. Situated in the heart if the middle of Hauraki Gulf the island is full of vineyards. The best part? You can sample as many of them as you like. There are also many eateries if you are hungry from all that wine tasting. Apart from this, there are art community, beaches, forests, and olive groves to visit on this captivating island.
Despite being hit by four major earthquakes between September 2010 and December 2011, Christchurch still stands still with all its glory. Visitors can see the hints of reconstruction everywhere like the Re: Start mall. There are a lot of other of places to visit here as well like the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, a network of conservatories, walking tracks, and horticultural displays that are one of a kind. The gardens also have few of the largest, tallest, and oldest trees in entire New Zealand. You can also go up till mount Cavendish with a cable car or just explore the city in the Christchurch Gondola.
Te Puia o Whakaari, a Maori name that translates to “The Dramatic Volcano” or commonly known as the White Island is certainly the best place for adventure lovers as this is the country’s most active volcano. The name white volcano came in to being when Captain Cook called it that in 1769 because every time he sailed nearby this place, it was always covered in a cloud of white steam (Cook did not know if it was a volcano). You can get real close with the scenic helicopter ride with Volcanic Air Safaris. Because it is an active volcano, you’ll have to wear a hard hat and gas mask throughout. You might even find some volcanologists monitoring the activity of this volcano.
Situated on the South Island towards the southwest side, Queenstown is truly the adventure capital of New Zealand. Skiing is a favorite activity here during the winter and spring months. Some activities happen all year round like bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating, and river rafting. These activities will increase your adrenaline rush and make you experience the region from great heights and fast speeds. It is also the home to world’s highest cliff jump, the Shotover Canyon Swing, where you can toss yourself in the cliff- even backward or tied to a chair! If all these activities make you hungry you can visit Fergburger which according to CNN “is the best burger joint on the planet”.
Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley
Te Puia is the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute located in Rotorua’s Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Preserving the Maori heritage, you will an authentic “steam box” meal prepared using the age-old geothermal cooking technique here. Pohutu, the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere is also found here. Another attractive thing about this place is the mud pools which reach up to a destination of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves
No list of the best places to go in New Zealand would be complete without the mention of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. This is because the caves are naturally lit by uncountable glowworms- which are only found in New Zealand. You can take a boat ride for visiting the caves where you will know the history and science behind this rare phenomenon. For those of you who love adventure, you can try the black water rafting which will allow you to float on an inner tube down a subterranean stream. The most adventurous part? The cave will be pitch dark except for the glowworms! You can also go on a land-based excursion in the Aranui Cave which has ancient cave decorations or the Ruakuri Cave which is famous for its spiral entrance and limestone formations along with more glowworms!
The Franz Josef Glacier
If you want to go hiking on an actual glacier, The Franz Josef Glacier is for you. From ice climbing to relaxed hiking on the 6.8-mile-long glacier, there are many tours who offer many things. Scared about getting a frostbite on the top of the glacier? To your surprise, this glacier receives plenty of sunlight and the temperature here is no less than a few degrees colder than in any nearby town. There are hot glacier pools also available where you can soak in and enjoy a relaxed and peaceful visit.