Top 10 Must-Visit New Zealand Squares
1. Milford Sound, South Island
When you try to explain Milford sound you almost run out of superlatives, and I will say only that the images are not justice (and the images look very amazing!).
There are some great walks here, you might imagine, but take a cruise to experience this best. You’ll truly appreciate the size of the sound, get up close and personal with the many waterfalls and you’ll almost certainly see seals.
2. Abel Tasman National Park, South Island
Abel Tasman National Park is a paradise on Earth thanks to the lush rain forest, golden beaches, and calm waters.
Spectacular walks are available from 5 to 30 days. You can use a water taxi to all the best places if you’re too lazy for that.
There’s a great chance to see seals off the shore and you have to try the Cleopatra Pool natural waterslide.
3. Mt Cook, South Island
New Zealand’s tallest mountain – as you fly across South Island you’re going to see it from a wide variety of viewpoints but never tire of it.
I suggest the reasonably simple Hooker Walk near Mt. Cook village to be seen from a close perspective. You’ll marvel at the valley, going through several spectacular suspension bridges, with the mountain just ahead of you throughout. At last, you’ll come to the glacial lake to take the perfect picture off.
4. Hahei and Cathedral Cove, North Island
The Coromandel Peninsula offers magnificent weather, lovely beaches, moderate waters, and impressive natural monuments.
The Hahei and nearby Cathedral Cove are my favorite locations, which offer a chance to see whales, dolphins, and even orcas.
5. Queenstown, South Island
New Zealand’s backpacker capital and the world’s adrenaline capital – a place you won’t be bored.
Locate on Lake Wakatipu against the background of the well recognized Remarkables – it’s also a beautiful location.
You have to do something crazy on a trip to Queenstown at home to the ski areas and the original bungee jump, with numerous other events.
6. Lake Matheson & Fox Glacier, S. Island
The two highest peaks in the country retreat into the bay, home to one of the most picturesque views in New Zealand and the world as a whole.
The Lake Matheson is situated in the town of Fox Glacier, a short drive or an hour’s walk from the tourist market of the neighboring glacier.
Together with neighboring Franz Josef Glacier, you will be as close to these natural wonders as possible to your budget. A walk to the foot won’t cost you much, but get your crampon and pay for a guided tour of the glacier. Helicopter drops are also available, but they are possibly beyond the most cost-effective.
7. Tongariro National Park, North Island
One of the best days walks in the world is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing within this World Heritage National Park.
The trail of 19.4 km crosses active volcanoes – you will be reminded of these multiple warning signs. It is the closest you ever can walk on another planet with burning blows, emerald swimming pools, and red dust.
Lord of the Rings fans will be in the park to have a treat like many parts of New Zealand, as Mt Doom (or Mt Ngauruhoe, as it was known for real-life) can also be found in this park.
8. Bay of Islands, North Island
This remarkable bay lies at the northern tip of the North Island.
You probably are here to enjoy the sea life if you’re not here for the balmy weather, sandy beaches, and luscious green islands.
There is a great variety of life in the waters – one of the world’s best fishing spots and the location where wild dolphins can almost be enjoyed.
9. Wanaka, South Island
A lovely and quiet town at the edge of Wanaka Lake – the ideal spot to relax and reflect.
There are plenty of activities on the lake and a variety of amazing walks in the area (more than one way). Mt Iron is a fast, close walk, but in Mt Aspiring National Park, my favorite one is Roy’s Peak, there are several more challenging walking.
10. Rotorua, North Island
Geysers, thermal wells, and mud pools are the biggest tourist attractions in the country – one of the world’s most active geothermal regions.
Around Rotorua, there are many sold hot springs, but also many free, hidden springs. I won’t tell you where they are, to keep them that way; you must find them for yourself.