Welcome to the land of adventure, relaxation, and breathtaking beauty – New Zealand! This amazing country offers something for everyone, from adrenaline-pumping activities to serene natural wonders. Prepare to be awestruck as we take you on a journey through the best things to do in New Zealand. Are you ready to create unforgettable memories?
Table of Contents
- Experience an unforgettable adventure in New Zealand with thrilling activities like bungy jumping, skydiving, and kayaking!
- Immerse yourself in Maori culture and explore the captivating North Island, from Hobbiton to Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
- Relax & reinvigorate with spa treatments, geothermal hot pools & stargazing at Lake Tekapo’s Dark Sky Reserve!
Things to Do in New Zealand
1. New Zealand’s South Island Adventures
New Zealand’s South Island and Zealand’s North Island are the absolute best places to start your New Zealand itinerary, offering diverse landscapes and incredible backcountry adventures. Some highlights include:
- Exploring the stunning East Coast
- Gazing upon majestic glaciers like Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier
- Conquering the heights of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Outdoor enthusiasts find a haven in the South Island, with activities ranging from multi-day hiking treks to skydiving over Abel Tasman National Park. Isn’t it time to embark on your lifetime adventure?
Bungy Jump in Queenstown
Did you know that bungy jumping was invented in New Zealand? That’s right, and Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, is the perfect place to experience this exhilarating activity. Choose from the original Kawarau Bridge jump, The Ledge Bungy, or the terrifying Nevis Bungy, which will have you plunging 134m in the heart of the Nevis Valley.
This thrilling experience costs around $205 NZD; you can even capture the moment with a GoPro to relieve the adrenaline rush. Remember, when it’s time to jump, take a deep breath and go for it!
Explore Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park is a gem on New Zealand’s South Island, boasting golden beaches, turquoise waters, and lush forests that will leave you speechless. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just looking for some relaxation, there are countless activities to suit your interests, including sailing, skydiving, and hiking.
For a unique and immersive experience, explore the park by boat or kayak, allowing you to access secluded coves and witness the breathtaking beauty of Cathedral Cove. Remember to try the one-of-a-kind dining experience at Anatoki Salmon Fishing & Cafe, where you can catch your salmon and have it cooked to perfection.
Visit Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home to New Zealand’s highest mountain, offering awe-inspiring views and abundant hiking trails for all skill levels. The Queenstown to Mount Cook tour is an incredible small-group adventure that takes you through:
- The beautiful Kawarau Gorge
- The charming town of Omarama
- The picturesque Lindis Pass
- The breathtaking backdrop of Mount Cook
For the more adventurous, embark on the Mueller Hut Route or try skiing down the Tasman Glacier. No matter what activities you choose, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.
2. North Island Wonders
Now that you’ve experienced the South Island’s adventures, it’s time to discover the equally captivating North Island. From the volcanic landscapes of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing to the rich Maori culture and the enchanting Hobbiton movie set, the North Island offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave you in awe.
Discover New Zealand’s North Island’s natural wonders, fascinating history, and diverse attractions. Isn’t it time to uncover the island’s hidden gems?
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, located in the stunning Tongariro National Park, is a world-renowned day hike that takes you through incredible volcanic landscapes, emerald lakes, and alpine meadows. Highlights of this breathtaking trek include Mount Ngauruhoe (also known as “Mount Doom” from the Lord of the Rings films) and the strikingly green Emerald Lakes.
Before embarking on this unforgettable journey, make sure to book a shuttle ticket in advance, as the start and end points of the hike are different. With proper planning and preparation, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing will be an awe-inspiring experience you’ll cherish for years.
Immerse Yourself in Maori Culture
New Zealand is home to a vibrant Maori culture, with most of the Maori population residing in the Rotorua area. Immerse yourself in their fascinating history and customs by witnessing the powerful Haka, discovering ancient traditions, and feasting a delicious Hangi meal.
One of the best ways to experience Maori culture is by visiting a Maori village, such as the Rotorua Maori Experience, where you can learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life. Be sure to also stop by the Mine Bay Māori Rock Carvings, a 10m high depiction of the ancestor Ngatoroirangi, accessible only by boat.
Discover Hobbiton Movie Set
Step into the magical world of Middle-earth with a visit to the Hobbiton movie set, featured in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. Explore the Shire’s lush pastures, wander the hobbit holes’ rambling paths, and visit the iconic Green Dragon Inn.
For an even more immersive experience, consider the Evening Banquet Tour, which includes a guided tour of Hobbiton followed by a sumptuous feast fit for a hobbit. This enchanting adventure will leave you feeling like you’ve journeyed to the heart of Middle-earth.
3. Wildlife Encounters
New Zealand is home to diverse wildlife, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Experience the thrill of swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura, go whale watching, or spot kiwi birds on Stewart Island.
Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife enthusiast or wish to connect with nature, New Zealand provides countless opportunities for intimate encounters with its remarkable wildlife. Isn’t it time you embarked on this lifetime adventure?
Swim with Dolphins in Kaikoura
Swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura is an unforgettable experience, offering the chance to interact with these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat. Kaikoura is one of the best places in the world to swim with wild dolphins, thanks to its nutrient-rich waters that attract a variety of marine life.
To ensure the safety and well-being of both you and the dolphins, it’s essential to follow the instructions of your tour guide and stay within the designated area. Remember to respect the dolphins, as touching or feeding them is prohibited.
Embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with these amazing animals in the wild.
Whale Watching in Kaikoura
Kaikoura is an ideal whale-watching destination located on New Zealand’s South Island. Here, you have the chance to see a variety of marine animals up close, including:
Join an exciting whale-watching tour for the opportunity to spot different species of whales, fur seals, pods of dolphins, and the endangered albatross.
Whale watching in Kaikoura is not only an incredible experience to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, but it also contributes to the conservation of these animals and their environment. Take advantage of this awe-inspiring experience on your New Zealand adventure.
Spot Kiwi Birds on Stewart Island
New Zealand’s Stewart Island offers:
- A thriving population of kiwi birds makes it one of the best places in the country to spot these elusive creatures in their natural habitat
- Pristine wilderness
- Tranquil beaches
- A variety of hiking trails to explore
For the best chance of spotting kiwi birds, consider taking a guided tour with a local expert who can lead you to their favorite spots and teach you how to spot them. Discover the untamed beauty of Stewart Island and create lasting memories as you encounter its unique wildlife.
4. Thrilling Activities
For those seeking a dose of adrenaline, New Zealand offers many thrilling activities to satisfy your adventurous spirit. This fantastic country has no excitement, from skydiving over Lake Taupo to jet boating through canyons and zorbing in Rotorua.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie wanting to push your limits or someone seeking an unforgettable experience, New Zealand’s thrilling activities won’t disappoint. Isn’t it time you took the plunge?
Skydive over Lake Taupo
Imagine soaring through the sky above Lake Taupo, one of the best places to skydive in New Zealand, and taking in breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding landscape. Feel the adrenaline rush as you:
- Freefall from 15,000 feet
- Experience the thrill of the wind rushing past you
- Admire the stunning scenery below
- Feel the exhilaration of the parachute opening
- Gently glide back down to earth
Skydiving in Lake Taupo is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Skydiving over Lake Taupo is an incredible adventure and offers a unique perspective of New Zealand’s stunning scenery. Whether you’re a first-time jumper or an experienced skydiver, this exhilarating experience is one you’ll never forget.
Jet Boat through Canyons
Jet boating is an exhilarating activity that originated in New Zealand, and there’s no better place to experience this high-speed adventure than in Queenstown, the country’s adventure capital. Navigate through narrow rivers, speed past stunning canyon walls, and hold on tight for thrilling 360-degree spins as you experience the excitement of a jet boat ride.
With various jet boat experiences available, from the famous Shotover Jet to the exhilarating Huka Falls ride, you’re sure to find the perfect adventure to satisfy your need for speed. Are you ready to make a splash?
Zorbing in Rotorua
Zorbing is a unique and thrilling activity invented in New Zealand and involves rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball. Rotorua is the perfect place to try this exciting adventure, with three exhilarating tracks: the Fast Track, the Zig Zag, and the Drop.
Whether rolling solo or with a friend, zorbing provides an adrenaline-pumping experience that will leave you laughing and smiling as you bounce down the hill. Are you ready to embrace your inner daredevil and give zorbing a whirl?
5. Relaxation and Wellness
After all the excitement and adventure, it’s time to unwind and rejuvenate with some of New Zealand’s incredible relaxation and wellness experiences. Here are a few options to consider:
- Soak in geothermal hot pools
- Dig your hot tub at Hot Water Beach
- Indulge in luxurious spa treatments at one of the many wellness centers throughout the country
If you’re yearning for tranquility amid your action-packed journey or seeking to pamper yourself with a well-deserved treat, New Zealand’s relaxation and wellness experiences promise rejuvenation. Isn’t it time to restore your mind, body, and spirit?
Soak in Rotorua’s Geothermal Hot Pools
Rotorua is famous for its geothermal attractions, making it the ideal destination for soaking in mineral-rich hot pools with soothing warmth and healing properties. Experience the luxury of a Polynesian Spa, the enchanting natural setting of Kerosene Creek, or the refreshing waters of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
These geothermal hot pools provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience and offer a unique opportunity to connect with New Zealand’s rich geothermal history. So why not dip and let the healing waters wash away your stress?
Dig Your Own Hot Tub at Hot Water Beach
Located in the Coromandel region of New Zealand, Hot Water Beach is a truly unique and unforgettable experience. During low tide, you can dig your hot tub in the sand, allowing geothermal springs to create natural hot pools for you to soak in.
To ensure the best experience at Hot Water Beach, follow these steps:
- Visit two hours before and after high tide.
- Bring a shovel and towel.
- Relax and unwind in your hot tub, crafted by your hands and powered by nature.
Indulge in Spa Treatments
Enjoy luxurious spa treatments at one of New Zealand’s many wellness centers. Indulge in:
- Body wraps
- And more
All are designed to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.
Some of the best spa treatments can be found at:
- The Lost Springs in Whitianga
- Polynesian Spa in Rotorua
- Chuan Spa in Auckland
- Spa at Nugget Point in Queenstown
Treat yourself to a moment of bliss and discover the healing power of New Zealand’s spa experiences.
6. Scenic Drives and Road Trips
New Zealand’s awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse attractions are best experienced on the open road. Embark on scenic drives and road trips throughout the country, taking in breathtaking vistas, rugged mountain peaks, glacial lakes, and mossy rainforests as you explore this fantastic country.
The picturesque drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy, the enchanting journey from Te Anau to Milford Sound, and the discovery of the West Coast’s rugged beauty are best experienced on the road. Isn’t it time you buckled up and explored?
Drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is a must-do experience, offering stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains along its 44km (27 mi) journey. As you wind your way between the Southern Alps and the lake, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in New Zealand.
Stop at various viewpoints to capture the incredible scenery and enjoy a cozy cafe. This picturesque drive will leave you in awe of New Zealand’s natural beauty, creating memories that last a lifetime.
Te Anau to Milford Sound
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is a journey through the heart of Fiordland National Park, offering breathtaking views, numerous photo opportunities, and short walks. This enchanting route takes you through lush rainforests, past cascading waterfalls, and along the dramatic cliff faces of the fjords, showcasing the awe-inspiring beauty of New Zealand’s landscape.
As you travel from Te Anau to Milford Sound, stop at Key Summit or Marian Lake for a refreshing hike, offering even more stunning views of this incredible region. After your drive, embark on a boat tour of Milford Sound, where you can marvel at the grand waterfalls and dramatic cliffs that make this area so famous.
Discover the West Coast
New Zealand’s West Coast is a land of contrasts, where glaciers meet rainforests, and rugged coastlines give way to deserted beaches. Discover the unique attractions of Zealand’s West Coast, such as the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, the Pancake Rocks, and the Hokitika Gorge, as you embark on an epic journey through this untamed region.
Whether you’re exploring the West Coast by car, bus, or plane, be prepared for all types of weather and bring plenty of food, water, and a good map. Embrace the wild beauty of the West Coast and create lasting memories as you traverse its diverse landscapes.
7. Taste New Zealand’s Culinary Delights
New Zealand’s culinary delights are as diverse and captivating as its landscapes. From the legendary Fergburger in Queenstown to wine tasting in Otago and Marlborough, there’s no shortage of delectable experiences to savor during your journey.
Delight your taste buds with fresh seafood, tender lamb, and seasonal vegetables, or immerse yourself in Maori culture by feasting on traditional Hangi meals. Isn’t it time you discovered the flavors of New Zealand?
Enjoy a Fergburger in Queenstown
No trip to Queenstown would be complete without indulging in a mouthwatering Fergburger, a must-try experience with people lining up for hours to get their hands on one of these delicious creations. With a wide range of options, including vegetarian choices, there’s a Fergburger to satisfy every craving.
Treat yourself to the Classic Burger, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the tempura tofu burger with spicy satay or the falafel burger with lemon yogurt and avocado. No matter which Fergburger you choose, you’re in for a culinary delight that’s truly unforgettable.
Wine Tasting in Otago and Marlborough
New Zealand is renowned for its exquisite wines, and two of its premier wine-producing regions, Otago and Marlborough, offer the perfect opportunity to sample the country’s finest vintages. From the award-winning Pinot Noirs of Otago to the crisp Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough, there’s a wine to please every palate.
Visit top wineries like Rippon Vineyard, Te Kano Estate, and Mondillo in Otago, or explore Framingham Wines, Yealands Estate, and Saint Clair Family Estate in Marlborough. Embark on a guided wine tour or explore the vineyards at your own pace, savoring the flavors and enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
Feast on Traditional Maori Cuisine
Experience the rich flavors of traditional Maori cuisine, an integral part of New Zealand’s cultural heritage. The Hangi meal, a cooking method that uses heated rocks in a pit oven, is a delicious way to immerse yourself in Maori culinary traditions.
In addition to the Hangi, other Maori dishes include:
- Whitebait fritters
- Meat pies
- Anzac biscuits
- Cheese rolls
All showcasing the diverse ingredients and flavors of New Zealand’s Maori culture. Feast on these delectable dishes and sincerely appreciate the country’s culinary history.
8. Stargazing and Astronomy
New Zealand offers unparalleled opportunities to stargaze and explore the cosmos, thanks to its clear skies and minimal light pollution. Here are some options for experiencing the wonders of the night sky:
- Visit Lake Tekapo’s Dark Sky Reserve, one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
- Explore observatories throughout the country to view celestial objects through powerful telescopes.
- Attend informative observatory presentations to learn more about the stars and planets.
Explore the wonders of the night sky and traverse the stars as you unravel the mysteries of the universe. Isn’t it time you embarked on a celestial adventure?
Lake Tekapo Dark Sky Reserve
Lake Tekapo is home to a Dark Sky Reserve, an area with restrictions on light pollution, making it one of the most amazing places in the world for stargazing. The minimal light pollution allows unparalleled night sky views, offering the perfect opportunity to observe celestial objects and explore the cosmos.
Whether you’re an experienced astronomer or a casual stargazer, visiting Lake Tekapo’s Dark Sky Reserve is an awe-inspiring experience you will remember. Gaze upon the stars and let the beauty of the universe captivate your imagination.
Visit an Observatory
For a deeper exploration of the cosmos, visit one of New Zealand’s many observatories, such as Tūhura Otago Museum, Space Place at Carter Observatory, or Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. At an observatory, you can view celestial objects through powerful telescopes, attend informative presentations, and learn about astronomy from experts in the field.
Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or just beginning your celestial journey, visiting an observatory in New Zealand is an unforgettable experience that will expand your understanding of the universe and leave you in awe of its wonders.
New Zealand is a land of adventure, relaxation, and breathtaking beauty. This amazing country offers something for everyone, from the South Island’s rugged landscapes to the North Island’s diverse attractions. Whether you’re exploring its unique wildlife, embarking on thrilling adventures, or simply soaking in the serene natural wonders, New Zealand is a destination that captures the imagination and leaves memories that last a lifetime. Are you ready to discover all that New Zealand has to offer?
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of activities can you do in New Zealand?
Explore the stunning coastlines and beech forests, experience Mori culture, take on adventurous activities like bungy jumping and skydiving, or enjoy a peaceful road trip through rolling vineyards. Whatever you’re looking for, New Zealand has something to offer!
What are five things New Zealand is well known for?
New Zealand is world-famous for its Manuka Honey, Sheep, Wine, Lord of the Rings, and Kiwifruit. Explore Aotearoa to learn more fun facts about these iconic items!
What is New Zealand best known for?
New Zealand is widely known for its picturesque landscape, the Kiwi spirit and culture personified by Sir Edmund Hillary, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, its national rugby team and the All Blacks, extreme sports and outdoor pursuits, its indigenous Maori culture and world-famous pavlova.
Where should I go for my first time in New Zealand?
Experience the excitement of Auckland’s skyline and Sky Tower or escape to the quieter town of Glenorchy – your first trip to New Zealand promises to be a unique experience. Check out the 12 must-see places, such as the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Queenstown, Wellington, Marlborough, and Nelson, for the Kiwi experience!
What is the best time to visit Hot Water Beach?
If you’re looking for the perfect beach-going experience, two hours before and after high tide is the best time to visit Hot Water Beach!