→ Stunning landscapes
→ Packed with the adrenaline rush
→ Is the trip of a lifetime
New Zealand is known for its extreme sports, adventure tourism and stunning landscapes from glaciers to subtropical forests. There are various reasons to visit New Zealand. But the strongest reason why you must visit New Zealand is seal and whale watching along with varieties of adrenaline activities and relaxing outdoor activities within a 100-mile radius.
Snorkeling and Scuba diving, Surfing, Skiing and Snowboarding, Rafting and Kayaking, Trekking/Hiking, River cruising and Sea Cruising, Exploring National Parks, Bungee jumping, Sky diving, Paragliding, Sailing, Sea Kayaking, Four-wheel driving, Bike riding
Beaches, National Parks, Forests, Mountains, Scenic Landscapes, Lakes and Fjords, Geological Sites
Architecture, Museums and Galleries:
Culture and Traditions:
Festivals and Events:
It depends on what you are interested in doing and seeing.
Best Time: March, April, and May (Fall)
This is the list of top destinations in New Zealand where you can have a lot of experience in one trip. This saves your time not only while surfing the internet for the top destinations to travel but also while traveling or exploring that particular location. And of course, this can save your money too.
Adventure capital of the world
Plethora of activities in one go
- Queenstown is the adventure capital
- Stunning scenic sightseeing with diverse landscapes.
- Paradise for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers.
- Queenstown is the place through which Milford Sound can be reached.
- Lake Wakatipu
- Queenstown gardens
- Aotearoa sunshine on a sandy beach
- Marine parade
- Arrowtown’s Lake District Museum
- Gibbston Valley
- Walter Peak High Country Farm
- Glenorchy (Filming location from the Lord of the Rings)
- Kawarau Bridge
- Coronet Peak
- Ride skyline gondola to Bob’s Peak
- Hike the Ben Lomond Track
- Cycling through Gibbston Valley
- Sky diving, Paragliding
- Bungee Jumping, Zip-lining
- Jet boating, White water rafting
- Skiing and snowboarding in Coronet Peak
- Visit Kiwi Birdlife Park
- Take scenic flight
- Relax over the onset hot pools
- Enjoy the nightlife
Franz Josef Glacier
Accessible glacier in the world
Franz Josef Glacier
- Accessible Glacier in the world
- Scenic beauty
- Franz Josef Glacier
- Franz Josef Town
- Lake Mapourika
- Scenic flight
- Glacier walks
- Try ice climbing
- Taste a coffee
- Visit kiwis
- Horseback riding
- Hunting tours and fishing tours
- Kayaking on Lake Mapourika
- Okarito boat tours
- Relax in the hot pools
World Heritage Site
Paradise For Hikers
- World heritage site with spectacular scenery
- Milford Sound
- Doubtful Sound
- Lake Te Anu, Fiordland’s main base
- Lake Manapouri, Doubtful Sound’s base
- Trek the Milford Track, one of the finest walk in the world
- Explore the Fiords by Sea Kayaking
- Scenic flight over the National Park
Best for wildlife enthusiasts
- Kaikoura is the popular destination for watching sea animals (Giant sperm whales, seals, dolphins)
- Best place for a seafood lover.
- Kahurangi National Park
- Go for whale watching tours
- Bird watching
- Taste the delicious seafood
- Tour to Kahurangi National Park
bay of islands
Top Summer Vacation Destination
bay of islands
Packed with many activities to experience
- Bay of Islands is one of the most top summer vacation destinations which is famous for varieties of marine activities and sightseeing walks.
- A group of 144 islands (helicopter ride on a scenic flight)
- Haruru Falls
- HMS Canterbury
- Waitangi Treaty Grounds
- Cape Brett
- Cape Reinga
- Hole in the Rock
- Urupukapuka Island
- Yachting, big-game fishing, snorkeling
- Scuba diving
- Cruising for whale watching and swimming with dolphins
- Helicopter ride to see a group of 144 islands
- Kayaking to Haruru falls, night kayaking
- Parasail up to 1200 ft.
- Have a day trip to Cape Reinga and 90-mile beach
- Cycling to the Waitangi Mountain
- Visit Rainbow Falls
- Take a wine and craft tour
- Experience Maori cultural performances
- Rotorua is famous for geothermal activities, such as geysers, volcanic mountains.
- Center for traditional Maori Culture.
- Travel hub for visiting the most popular sites: the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo and movies set of Hobbiton.
- Waimangu Volcanic Valley
- Rotorua Museum
- Te Wairoa, the buried village
- Whakarewarewa, a Maori Village
- Te Puia
- Hells Gate Geothermal Park
- Waitomo Glowworms Caves
- Mount Ngongotaha Reserve
- Zip-line in wilderness
- Dip down yourself in natural hot spas
- Take a sightseeing tour around Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Wai-O-Tapu
- Walk the trails to Mount Ngongotaha Reserve
- Rafting or Jet speed boat
- Take a helicopter ride
- Watch the Maori cultural shows
- Trip to the Glowworm Caves of Waitomo and movie set of Hobbiton
Either a valid passport only or valid passport with visa (depending on your country) may be required to enter New Zealand.
For Australian, Canadian, USA and EU nationals visas are not required. For nationals from other countries, it’s better to check visa requirements (required for the nationals of your country) with the embassy well before you travel.
Citizens from the selected countries (countries that are in the visa waiver program) can stay up to 90 days without a visa for tourism purposes. Nationals from the UK may stay up to 6 months while there is no time limit for Australians.
Nationals from other countries have to apply for a visitor visa which allows them to stay for 9 months in an eighteen-month period.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards are widely accepted. ATMs are available throughout the country. Changing cash or traveler’s check is not that hard. It’s better to take traveler’s check in US Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euro or Pounds Sterling.
Since there are lots of international flights to New Zealand, you should choose one based on where you want to go and what you want to see.
Since the major attractions are well scattered across New Zealand, domestic flights are convenient and fast for traveling long distances.
New Zealand has got a good public transport system. In case of time availability, buses are a fair option for traveling not-too-long distances. Major towns and cities are well connected by roads. City buses/coaches are an affordable option as long as you are a familiar rider. You can hire camper-van too
Inside the city, you can get around on foot or by taxi. Hiring a car or picking up a taxi (registered) can be the best alternatives too. You can rent a bike too.
The train provides services through some scenic routes
Purchase rail tickets in advance for a cheaper option.
There are Scenic Rail Pass available within New Zealand.
Most of New Zealand’s attractions are free to visit while others require fees.
Since the weather in New Zealand can turn extreme (heavy rain and snowfall), it is a good practice to always check the latest weather updates before going to mountainous regions. Do not ignore the suggestions given by local people and always follow the instructions given by local authorities.
It’s better to take precaution against tetanus and mosquito and midge bites (in summer) while traveling to New Zealand. Although immunizations are not required while traveling to New Zealand, it is advisable to update your standard vaccinations of mumps, measles, rubella, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and tetanus.
It’s better to make full travel insurance.
You should be aware of the petty crimes (from pickpockets, thieves, scammers, etc.) taking place inside and outside the cities. You should take care of your travel documents, luggage, and other belongings. Don’t walk alone at night and don’t walk through less traveled areas alone.
Note: New Zealand falls in a seismically active area so that you have to be prepared for natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Based on the places and experiences that you will never get in other countries i.e they are uniquely different from other countries.
New Zealand is a remote country, with so many destinations to visit and a plethora of activities to do. It’s almost impossible to see all the highlights of New Zealand on the one week vacation. For the first time traveler, we suggest you to have at least 2 weeks to get most out of your trip and planned your itinerary worth the long flight. We tried to narrow down the lists in terms of ‘must-see’ places.
Must-visit destinations in New Zealand:
If you are an outdoor activities lover:
- Bay of Islands
If you are adrenaline activities lover:
If you are a nature lover:
- Bay of Islands
- Milford Sound
- Franz Josef Glacier
- Mount Cook National Park
If you are museums, galleries and culture lover:
For Art, Museums and Galleries:
For Cultures and Traditions:
From the above list, you can see that Queenstown overlaps in three categories whereas Bay of Islands and Rotorua overlap in two categories. You can make your trip worthy by planning an itinerary according to your priorities and make much out of it by having a lot of experiences in your single trip without having your time and money wasted in traveling and just covering distances in-between.
Our Pick: If you want a unique experience, then our pick would be Queenstown, Milford Sound, and Rotorua. If you want a mesmerizing summer vacation, then our pick would be Bay of Islands.
Follow these itineraries ideas (below): If you want to make most out of your trip; if you want to have a lot of experiences in one trip missing almost nothing in your whole trip; if you also don’t want to miss the must-see places and if you also don’t want to miss ‘nowhere-else’ destinations on the planet, then follow these tips.
New Zealand comprises of two main islands: the North and the South Islands.
If this is your first-time visit to New Zealand and
If you have 7-8 days, then we recommend you to focus only on one island and choose one from the following itineraries depending on your interests:
(If you are a serious outdoor adventurer, head towards South Island)
Christchurch (Day 1)→Lake Tekapo (Day 2)→Mount Cook National Park (Day 3)→Wanaka, Queenstown (Day 4-5)→Milford Sound (Day 6)→Queenstown (Day 7)
(Note: Mount Cook to Franz Josef is at a distance of 2-day drive or bus trip. You can have a scenic flight from Mt Cook or Tekapo if you have a tight schedule.)
(If you want to see some unique geological wonders and want to combine your tour with summer vacation spot, then head towards North Island )
Auckland, Bay of Islands (Day 1)→Bay of Islands (Day 2-3)→Rotorua (Day 4-5)→Waitoma, Auckland(Day 6-7)
If you have 14 days, you can combine your first itinerary with the second itinerary (from above) to have better experiences on your trip. For this after completion of North Itinerary, fly to Christchurch from Auckland.
If you are on your return visit, then choose another itinerary (from above) which you didn’t do in your first visit.
(Note: Please note that the itineraries mentioned here are focused on the routes or directions to follow for saving time and money and still not missing the ‘must-see’ destinations. The days mentioned here in-between the places is a rough estimation just to give you general itinerary ideas. You can shorten or lengthen this time according to your interests, season, budget and time available. For example, sometimes you might want to experience the nature, activities, and culture in a relaxed manner without any haste and without feeling cramped.)
We’ve covered our recommendations for ‘must-visit destinations’. The list of other wonderful places throughout New Zealand can get long. The priorities for a destination to visit can be different from person to person as it depends upon personal preferences and interests. But these are the itineraries covering ‘must-do’ or ‘must-see’ places once in your lifetime.