→ 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.
Franz Josef Glacier
Accessible glacier in the world
Franz Josef Glacier
Best for wildlife enthusiasts
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.
- 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.
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.
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.