An island destination unlike any other, New Zealand is a traveler's playground, offering beaches, mountains, lakes, glaciers, coves, volcanoes, cities, and so much more. After learning about the top spots to visit on the island, you won't want to miss out on a single one.
Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier is one of the few places where you can take a walking tour of a glacier and is not to be missed. See the glacier on foot or take a helicopter tour — both offer stunning views. Despite being covered in ice, the glacier sees plenty of sunshine, so temperatures are usually only one to two degrees cooler than in town. You might not need a parka, but pack layers to stay comfortable.
Sunbathe on the sand, walk the beach, or get a bird's eye view of the scenery at Mount Maunganui. The trail up the mountain is a steep 2.3 miles, but the rewarding views of the harbor, port, and beach are well worth it. Afterwards, relax in the region's hot saltwater pools. With clear blue water, white sands, and stunning beauty, this area is a must-visit.
Visitors to Milford Sound quickly realize why Rudyard Kipling called it the "eighth wonder of the world." Formed by glaciers, this breathtaking area offers cascading waterfalls, towering vertical cliffs, and mountain peaks that stretch to the sky. For the best experience, take a sightseeing tour by boat and enjoy the majestic waves.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Experience one of the most distinctive natural phenomena New Zealand offers at the Waitomo glowworm caves. Thousands of Arachnocampa luminosa glowworms, a species unique to New Zealand, illuminate the dark recesses of the cave as you glide along on a boat tour for an adventure you won't find anywhere else.
If touring an active volcano is on your bucket list, then White Island is the place to visit. Take a helicopter tour to see it from the skies, or hike around its base. You can even scuba dive to observe its beauty beneath the sea. Visitors by land are required to don a hard hat and a gas mask for this thrilling journey.
Rub elbows with artists at Waiheke Island, located just a 30-minute boat ride from Auckland. New Zealand's island paradise, this scenic spot is home to vineyards, small art galleries, sandy beaches, and quaint oceanfront eateries, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy New Zealand wines.
Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal areas in the world with boiling mud pools, thermal springs, and geysers including Pohutu, the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere. Rotorua is also the central home of the Maori people, an indigenous Polynesian tribe that settled in New Zealand more than 700 years ago. After you view the natural marvels, learn about the Maori people's heritage, history, and culture with a tour of a traditional Maori village.
A stunning New Zealand beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove, requires a bit of a hike, as the nearest parking is 30 minutes away. Still, the seclusion adds to this marine reserve's charm and beauty, and the easy walking path offers captivating scenery, with massive cliffs, native bush, and access to Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay, making the entire journey worth it.
Bay of Islands
With more than 144 islands, the Bay of Islands is home to plenty of sailing, fishing, and other water sports. Enjoy the chance to view a wide variety of marine life, hike the island trails, explore secluded caves, and tour the sub-tropical forests. Area towns like Russell, Paihia, Kerikeri, and Opua offer plenty of accommodations.
With unprecedented beauty and a reputation as an adventure-lover's paradise, Queensland isn't your ordinary city. Here you'll find world-class skiing, the world's highest cliff jump at the Shotover Canyon Swing, and one of the best foodie scenes in New Zealand.
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