Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean not too far from Australia, New Zealand is one of the world’s most stunning destinations that ranks high on the bucket list of many travelers. Known for its breathtaking and diverse natural landscapes, adventure sports, fine wine, and rich cultural history, New Zealand has something for everyone. So let’s countdown of the top things to do in New Zealand.
This guest post was written by Libe Nuñez from Flyparks.com.au. Flyparks is an online comparison site for airport parking that helps customers find budget options at airports across Australia and New Zealand.
1. Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set
Located in Matamata, this iconic film set was used in the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies. Touring the set is a must-do for any fan of the series, as you’ll see the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and other famous landmarks up close. The tour also includes a visit to the party tree and a drink at the Green Dragon Inn, making it a truly immersive experience. This is a great excursion for any Lord of the Rings fan.
2. Ski or Snowboard in the Southern Alps
With resorts on the North and South Islands, there are plenty of skiing and snowboarding options for all skill levels. However, if you’re a winter sports fan, don’t miss the chance to hit the slopes in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. You’ll find runs to suit your ability, whether a seasoned pro or a beginner. Some of the best ski resorts in New Zealand include Treble Cone, Cardrona, and The Remarkables.
3. Explore the Bay of Islands
Located in the far north of the North Island, the Bay of Islands is a picturesque region known for its endless beaches, crystal clear waters, and historical landmarks. Take a boat tour to see the islands up close, go fishing, or visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds to learn about the history of the Maori people and the signing of the treaty that established New Zealand as a nation. The Bay of Islands is also home to some of the country’s best diving and snorkeling spots, with abundant marine life to explore.
4. Take a Lord of the Rings Tour
Fans of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy will surely want to visit the stunning landscapes that served as the backdrop for the films. Tour companies offer guided trips to popular filming locations, such as Mount Doom and Edoras, allowing you to see the landscapes that inspired the films in person. These tours are a great way to learn more about the making of the movies while seeing some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking scenery.
5. Visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves
The magical Waitomo Glowworm Caves are located on the North Island and are easily accessible from Auckland and Rotorua. The caves are home to thousands of glow worms, which produce a beautiful blue-green light in the darkness. Visitors can take a boat tour through the caves to see the glow worms up close and explore the underground tunnels and caverns that make up the cave system.
6. Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
If you enjoy hiking, don’t miss the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in the North Island. This popular one-day hike takes you through some of the most unique scenery in New Zealand, including active volcanoes and alpine meadows. The hike is moderate in difficulty and offers impressive views of Mount Ruapehu (a.k.a. “Mount Doom”), the Blue Lake, and other iconic landmarks.
7. Go Whale Watching
New Zealand is home to several species of whales, including humpback whales, which can often be seen off the coast of the North Island. Many tour companies offer whale-watching excursions, allowing you to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Some of the best places to go whale watching in New Zealand include the Bay of Islands, Kaikoura, and the Marlborough Sounds.
8. Visit the Maori Village of Rotorua
Rotorua is a popular tourist destination located on the North Island, known for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Visitors can take a tour of a traditional Maori village to learn about the history and customs of the Maori people. The tour typically includes a cultural performance, a traditional meal, and the opportunity to participate in Maori activities such as carving and weaving. Rotorua is also home to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, a geothermal area with colorful hot springs, geysers, and mud pools.
9. Go Bungee Jumping
New Zealand is known for its diverse offering of extreme sports, and bungee jumping is one of the most popular activities. In fact, Kiwi local A.J. Hackett is known as the “father” of modern bungee jumping. There are several bungee jumping sites around the country, including the famous Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. If you’re feeling brave, take the plunge and experience the rush of bungee jumping in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Other popular extreme sports in New Zealand include skydiving, paragliding, and jet rafting.
10. Take a Scenic Drive Through the Southern Lakes Region
The Southern Lakes region, located on the South Island, is known for its marvelous lakes, mountains, and forests. A scenic drive through the region is a great way to take it all in, and there are plenty of stops along the way to enjoy the scenery, go hiking, or visit local attractions. Some of the must-see landmarks in the Southern Lakes region include Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy, and the Fiordland National Park.
This wraps up our countdown of the top things to do in New Zealand. Overall, New Zealand is a travel destination that has something for every type of visitor. Whether you’re interested in adventure sports, hiking, or cultural experiences, there are plenty of things to do and see. With its stunning landscapes and friendly locals, New Zealand is the perfect destination for your next adventure.