Nestled on the South West Coast of South Island, Queenstown is the top pick for New Zealand. With breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and the many popular mountains around the lake, it is one of the most popular spots in New Zealand today. Queenstown has been coined “The Adventure Capital of New Zealand” as there are activities ranging from bungee jumping to skydiving. It is a marvellous place for sight seekers and thrill seekers alike.
Waitomo Caves is a beautiful place where magic and nature come together. The caves are naturally illuminated by glow worms and the guided tour includes an explanation of the science and history of this phenomenon. The mesmerising glow worms are otherworldly, an experience not to be missed in New Zealand.
Milford Sound is one of the hardest places to reach, but the journey is worth it at the end. Milford Sound is known for its iconic scenery and marine life. On a good day, dolphins or even penguins can be spotted here. The cruise tour is a must here because that is the best way to view the animals in their natural habitat. For thrill seekers, the kayak tour is another option. Apart from this, the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory, the only floating underwater facility in New Zealand is an interesting stop.
This is a must for every Lord of the Rings fan out there. This movie set is where the LOTR movies were filmed, including the tiny houses of the little hobbits. The guide explains the history of the set and also points out important locations of the set (including the Baggins’ house). To top it all off, visitors get a chance to go into the Green Dragon Inn. All in all it is a truly magical experience and a great place to visit. Based in a small town called Matamata, Hobbiton is on a huge farm where you will also encounter many animals.
Rotorua is a small, beautiful village near the lake of the same name, a pretty common practice in New Zealand. It is known for the Maori culture show, Pohutu geyser, mud pools, hot springs, silica formations and the national schools of wood carving, weaving and stone carving. Kiwi bird, the national bird of New Zealand and is very rare to spot in the wild and the Maori village in Rotorua is one of only places you can see a real Kiwi bird. These treasures are shared with the manuhiri or visitors for the last 200 years and is an ongoing legacy. In all this is cultural touch of the Maori makes Rotorua feel like a home away from home and also one of the best places to visit in New Zealand.
Franz Josef is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. It is also a chance to take a scenic helicopter ride near the largest mountain in New Zealand. For those unsure about flying, there are guided tours which also give valuable information about geology and history of the glacier. All tours will provide the necessary warm clothing. In the nearby town of Franz Josef there are world class hot spring pools which have a direct source from the Franz Josef Glacier. This is a unique opportunity to get close to a glacier.
Tauranga is one of New Zealand’s many ports, but it famous for being the “Party Capital of New Zealand”. The beaches of Tauranga have been voted as the best beaches in New Zealand due to the turquoise sea water and white sand. Apart form lounging on the each, visitors enjoy hiking Mt. Maunganui and surfing.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and because of its size, there are many hidden gems and known gems. Voted one of the top 10 cities in the world by Lonely Planet, it offers everything from bungee jumping to farmers markets and multicultural bars. For a taste of Kiwi culture, visit the many museums in Auckland. Auckland Gallery alone features 15,000 work of historical, contemporary and modern art.