Best Things to Do in New Zealand for a Marvelous Trip

Covered with rugged mountains, gorgeous lakes, and rich heritage of the Maori, New Zealand is an ideal destination for all kinds of travelers. Whether you are exploring your adventurous side, trying to encapsulate the natural wonders, or on your honeymoon, New Zealand has it all! This marvelous Oceanian country comprises of two main parts, one being the North Island, another being the South. Most of the popular tourist attractions in New Zealand are located in or around its capital Wellington or its most populous city Auckland. Have an action-packed vacation or a romantic one, New Zealand is all set to enchant you with its wonderful wilderness and creative takes! Discover the best things to do in New Zealand below- 

1. Experience wilderness in National Parks of New Zealand

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You would wonder to know that over 30,000 square kilometers area of New Zealand is covered by the diverse landscapes of its national parks. With three active volcanoes and emerald pools, Tongariro National Park is one of the most-visited places in New Zealand. The park has also been featured in the Lord of the Rings series. In Otago and Westland regions of New Zealand, you will find Mount Aspiring National Park which is another place to be featured in it. Aoraki or Mount Cook National Park is home to New Zealand’s highest mountain peak. 

Other national parks in New Zealand include Nelson Lakes National Park, Kahurangi National Park, Arthur's Pass National Park, and Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Each national park in the country is a beautiful amalgamation of wilderness and tranquility. 

2. Visit the Sky Tower and other monuments

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Although New Zealand is more famous for its natural treasures, the country has no dearth of man-made monuments most of which reside in its most famous city, Auckland. One of the most interesting things to in Auckland, New Zealand is to visit the Sky Tower. In addition to being a telecommunication tower, the Sky Tower offers a 360-degree view of the Auckland city and plenty of activities for the adrenaline-seekers such as SkyJump and SkyWalk. It also has exclusive bars and restaurants to party at.

Apart from the Sky Tower, you can visit other monuments like The Giant’s House, Nugget Point Lighthouse, Old St. Paul’s Church, and other important national memorials and sculptures. 

3. Boat through the stunning fjords of Fjordland (Doubtful Sound)

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One of the best things to do in New Zealand South Island is to explore the majestic fjords of Fjordland on a boat. Fjordland is one of the largest national parks in the world and is famous for its “three walks” called Milford, Kepler, and Routeburn. The most popular attractions in Fjordland are the glacier-sculpted fjords Doubtful sounds and Milford sounds. Besides, the Mirror Lakes and gorgeous waterfalls dotting Fjorland add a unique charm to it. You must really take your camera along as this heavenly place is an ideal spot for nature photography.

Fjordland is also an abode to some endangered species of animals and birds. The bird called Takahe has taken shelter inside the park. While boating from one fjord to another, you can gaze at the beautiful black coral under the waters. 

4. Go for a glacier- walk and heli-hike

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You should never go back to your country without experiencing the pearl-white paradise of New Zealand’s glaciers. A visual treat to the visitors, New Zealand’s glaciers offer the activities like heli-hiking, glacier walking, and ice climbing. New Zealand, alone, is home to over 3000 glaciers and visiting these is a one-of-a-kind experience. The Fox Glacier is considered to be the best place for a glacier walk in New Zealand. This 13-kilometer long glacier is tucked in the Southern Alps and presents a dynamic fairyland. 

Other famous glaciers in New Zealand are Franz Josef Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Mueller Glacier, Hooker Glacier, Murchison Glacier, Volta Glacier, and Douglas Glacier. Exploring these of one of the best things to do in New Zealand in December. 

5. Indulge in aqua-fun at Bay of Islands

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Consisting of 144 islands, the Bay of Islands is one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand. If you are not only seeking the water adventure activities but also the in-depth knowledge of Maori culture, Bay of Islands is the place to be. One of the best things to do in New Zealand North Island is to fishing and diving in the Bay of Islands. The main attractions of the Bay include ‘Hole in the Rock’ on Piercy Island, Russell, Paihia, and Cape Brett. While you can go for a seaside walking, you can also enjoy the activities like kayaking, wildlife-exploring, and cruising.

One of the Bay of Islands is Urupukapuka Island which is available for camping. Camp under the star-studded sky here and you will never forget the night. 

6. Spend a time of tranquility at the lakes

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A meditative time at the azure-alpine lakes of New Zealand is what you need for a rejuvenating day. There are thousands of small and big lakes in New Zealand, 41 of them are major ones including the Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Lake Wanaka, and Lake Taupo, others are also the perfect spots to enjoy peace and solitude. You will find a versatile landscape to capture in your camera and also a plethora of activities like sailing, fishing, kayaking, and water-skiing. Each of the New Zealand lakes is unique, but it is recommended not to miss visiting the Lake Taupo to explore its ultimate economic condition. 

Other lakes that you can keep your travel itinerary are Lake Rotorua, Lake Hawea, Lake Ohau, Lake Te Anau, Lake Manapouri, and Lake Tarawera. There are some amazing hiking trails around each lake. 

7. Explore the magical world of glow worm caves

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If you look at the list of things to do in New Zealand in July, the first thing that you will come across is going on a kayak tour of the glow worm caves. The glow worm caves of Waitomo are one of the natural wonders not only in New Zealand but also in the entire world. Although the glow worms are found in almost every corner of New Zealand, exploring them inside the caves of Waitomo is an experience of its kind. 

To enjoy this unique tour, you have to come to the visitor center which is located in the vicinity of Waitomo Caves. The staff will arrange a boat ride for you along with a few other visitors. Besides, you can also learn about the geological facts about the caves at the visitor center. 

8. Hike along the picturesque trails

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New Zealand is truly a heaven for trekkers and hikers since it offers a wide range of scenic trails and tracks. Most of the trails are located in the country’s national parks like Tongariro and Aoraki. Whether you are a professional trekker or just an amateur hiker, you will find various levels of trails in different parts of New Zealand. Trailing is one of the best things to do in New Zealand in March and Te Whara Track in North Island is one of the best spots for this. The Hooker Valley Track in Canterbury is also a treat for the hikers. 

Other good places to head to for an intense or easy-hike are Milford Track, Routeburn Track, Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and Roy’s Peak. Each hike will allow you to captivate the gorgeous scenes of the valleys and discover the exotic flora and fauna of New Zealand.

9. Take a dip into the geothermal Pools and hot-springs

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Geothermal power has long been a source of energy to the natives of New Zealand. The geothermal energy was first discovered by the Maori people and the same was used in abundance by the European settlers. Take a hot spring bath or a dip into the geothermal pools of New Zealand, and it will take away all your travel exhaustion. Some of the notable places are Kaitoke Hot Springs in Great Barrier Island, The Lost Spring and Hot Water Beach in Whitianga, Te Aroha Mineral Springs below Mt. Te Aroha, and the hot springs of Lake Taupo. 

The hot springs in South Island of New Zealand are also famous among the locals and tourists alike. There are enough recreational activities available for families near each thermal pool. 

10. Click pictures of Huka Falls

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Another picture-perfect place to visit in New Zealand is Huka Falls which is a series of gushing waterfalls on the Waikato River. The rapturous 220,000 liters of water per second falling amid the lush green valleys and the turquoise pools created by it are favorite amongst the avid photographers. You can take a boat trip to this stunning waterfall or come to its vicinity for a picnic.

There are well-established mountain-biking trails around the waterfall as well as some walking tracks that go through the open farmlands and forest. If you loved the place, you can also stay at one of the resorts by the Waikato River.

11. Learn about Maori culture at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute

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Opened in 1963, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute is where you will learn about all the fun facts and stories about the rich heritage of New Zealand. The institute not only houses a large number of items related to the traditional and contemporary art of Maori culture but also provides training to be a master in it. The spotlight of this institute is whakairo which is a carving technique developed by Maori people. Another skill that you will learn here is raranga which is related to weaving.

The institute also organizes some events to offer a keen insight into the Maori art and craft. Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs from the Maori Art Market located here. 

12. Explore the art collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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Another point of interest in New Zealand for art-admirers is the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The eye-catching galleries inside this museum showcase the history of the First World War and how the lives of New Zealand’s common men were hugely affected by it. You can also learn about the world-famous Terracotta Warriors. The most spectacular thing to see in this museum is the Body Cartography. 

Also known as “Te Papa” or “Our Place”, this museum is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand to experience the art, culture, history, and philosophy of Maori people. 

13. Shop till you drop at Queen Street, Auckland

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If you are in New Zealand right after your marriage, start your honeymoon shopping at Queen Street in Auckland. Located in the heart of the city, Queen Street is an ideal location to shop the best of branded items. When it comes to the best things to do in New Zealand for the honeymoon, Queen Street should be on your bucket list. There are plenty of shops, boutiques, fashion stores, and other retail corners on the street. Besides, the main highlight of this happening place is the Queens Arcade.

You can find the Queens Street near Auckland waterfront and beside Downtown Ferry Terminal.

14. Step back in time at Auckland War Memorial Museum

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For all the history buffs, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a great place to be at. You will discover a huge selection of the artifacts related to the natural history and military history of New Zealand. The neo-classicist style of architecture of the Auckland War Memorial Museum is accompanied by a huge park where you can enjoy a lovely stroll. The museum collection includes the Maori and Pacific Island artifacts, various images related to the natural history, and models of the historic airplanes. 

You will also find a war memorial in the museum with two “halls of memory”. 

15. Hike up to the Stratovolcanoes

Finally, the list of tourist attractions in New Zealand will be incomplete without mentioning its fierce stratovolcanoes. While some volcanoes are still active, some are quiescent and compound. If you are making the list for this volcano tour, Mount Taranaki should be the first on your list which is located in Egmont National Park and considered to be 120,000 years old. The gnarled shape of the volcano makes people call it “Goblin Forest”. 

Other volcanoes that you can hike up to are Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, Mount Tarawera, Mount Ngauruhoe, Pihanga, and Mount Tauhara.

In addition to all the things mentioned here, you can also spend some time at New Zealand’s churches, participate in adventure activities, and yes, do try the lip-smacking food of the country!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss' ...

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