New Zealand might look small on a map but there is so much to see on both islands. This country has landscapes which are among the most breathtaking in the world.

If you are planning a trip to New Zealand check out our list of the best places you have to visit.


1. Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is a spot you don’t want to miss if you like picturesque sceneries. It is a natural archway over the beach. Situated in the Coromandel Peninsula near Hahei Beach, you can walk from there or you can drive until the car park for a shorter walk. 


Tongariro Crossing

2. Tongariro Alpine Crossing

If you have time and are not afraid to hike for 1 whole day among volcanoes, then you should not hesitate! The Tongariro Alpine Crossing has been voted best day hike in New Zealand and will lead you across amazing sceneries; volcanoes, plains, blue and emerald lakes. It is also a must do for fans of Lords of the Ring who want to see the famous Mount Doom.


Rotorua, Waiotapu park

3. Rotorua 

After such a walk, you well deserve a rest, and what better place than Rotorua and its geothermal wonders! There you will find hot springs in the middle of the city and numerous Spas. Don’t forget to check one of the numerous geothermal and volcanic parks where you will see mud pools, geysers, multicolor lakes, craters and much more.


Cape Palliser, New Zealand

4. Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser is at the southern end of the north island. The scenic road to get there provides dramatic views on Palliser Bay. Continue just after the fishing village of Ngawi to the lighthouse. Climb there if you have the strength!

On your way, stop to see the seal colony, it is wonderful to watch them interact between each other. Go there December to February and you might see pups. But don’t forget to keep a distance though, even though they might seem harmless, they can run faster than you think! 


Tasman lake, Aoraki Mount Cook

5. Lake Tasman & Aoraki & Mount Cook

This part of New Zealand has to be among the most beautiful one. Aoraki/ Mount Cook, highest mountain in New-Zeland, dominates the Hooker valley and is the perfect spot to hike, mountain bike or climb. 


Lake Tekapo

6. Lake Tekapo

You won’t believe your eyes, the turquoise blue color of Lake Tekapo seems unreel. For a better view, take your car or walk to the summit of Mount John and appreciate the wide area around the lake; if the weather is good, you can actually see Aoraki/ Mount Cook from there.


whale watching Kaikoura

7. Kaikoura

For those who love wildlife, Kaikoura is a must-do.

Whales, seals, dolphins, albatross, sharks, they are all there. You can take a walk from the city center until Point Kean and you will arrive at the seal colony. Keep on going to the Shoreline Walk along the cliffs to see birds and don’t forget to keep an eye on the ocean, you might see whales!

For better chances to spot them, take a boat or a helicopter tour.  Sperm whales are here all year long, there is 95% chances you will see them.


Nugget Point, Catlins

8. The Catlins

The Catlins are often forgotten by travelers, maybe because it’s too far south, but it would be a pity to skip them. There is plenty to see there: between the dolphins and penguins in Curio Bay, the sea lions in Cannibal Bay, the dramatic scenery of nugget point and the waterfalls all along the way, you can easily spend 3 days along this coast. 


Milford Sound

9. Milford Sound

Fiordland is breathtaking. There is no other word. You can take a boat cruise, rent a kayak, do a helicopter tour. You might see dolphins, seals, and whales.

There is a lot to see one the way, the Mirror Lake, rainforests, waterfall, you can as well stop to go on one of the numerous short walks and stay the night in one of the numerous campsites.  



Queenstown, New Zealand

10. Queenstown

You will never get bored in Queenstown.

First, the city is in the shore of the Wakatipu Lake and surrounded by majestic mountains which lets plenty of opportunities to explore; hiking, kayaking, boat tours are among the most popular things to do in Queenstown.

This is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Try bungy jumping, rafting, mountain biking or even a tour on a jet boat. This is also one of the best places to go skiing in New Zealand.

Finally there are plenty of bars and restaurants, from cosy bar wine to fancy restaurant, pubs and even not one but two ice bars. Try it if you dare, it’s minus 5 degrees there! It’s not because you are a nature lover that you can’t enjoy a drink and a good restaurant, right?


By Pauline Bayle


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