Now that almost all corners of the world are so widely visited and explored that few places remain uncharted, there is still a fresh little country that remains full of mysteries for many, and that is New Zealand. New Zealand is as close to the edge of the world as possible, and perhaps this remoteness is how it still manages to maintain an unexplored vibe. Nevertheless, this country has been experiencing constant rapid growth when it comes to its tourism in the past few years, which means that the sooner you visit it, the better. What you have to know is that New Zealand is so much more than just the set of the Lord of the Rings, although undoubtedly that is the first thing most people associate it with. It is a country of incredible natural beauty, great infrastructure, friendly locals, and notable sports hotspots no sports fan should miss out on. Read on to get inspired and learn about some of the most amazing places in New Zealand that should find their way onto your travel bucket list.
1. Tongariro National Park
To start off this list on a strong note, if you are a fan of unique views that are like out of a fantasy book, make it a point to explore Tongariro National Park, the country’s oldest national park when you’re in New Zealand. Eerie reddish mountain slopes hugging bright, emerald-colored glacial lakes, no less than three active volcanos that are a sight to behold and many more activities await you in this national park. Make sure you devote a day to hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a 19-km track that is possibly the most picturesque hike you will ever take. On this hike, you will see lava flows dating back hundreds of years, red rocks and you will even smell the active volcano. If you are an experienced climber and want to see even more volcanic magnificence, you can head to Mount Ruapehu as well and try your hand at a crater climb. It is interesting to note that this volcano becomes a ski area when the winter comes.
Makarora is located on the Haast Pass, at the base of Mt Aspiring National Park on the South Island of New Zealand. Makarora is known for its scenic parks, rivers, mountains, and wilderness. There is a huge range of activities available to travelers in and around Makarora including hiking, scenic flights, jetboats, hunting, and fishing. In addition, there are a plethora of waterfalls to visit around the area. To make the absolute most of this beautiful location, consider staying in a cozy cabin at Wonderland Makarora Lodge. Offering a cozy, warm, and delightful stay in one of their cabins or chalets, Wonderland Lodge offers a central accommodation location for visitors to base themselves and explore Makarora. While there, enjoy some of the best local wines and a hearty meal by a crackling fire.
3. Bay of Islands
While Tongariro National Park is right in the middle of the North Island, for your next destination, you’ll have to travel even further north. Bay of Islands is located in the Far North District and this area boasts over 140 subtropical islands, which means that you will feel overwhelmed by beauty. While there is no way you can explore each and every island in this group, there are a few spots that you should not miss. This area is notable for water sports, important history and culture and even blood-pumping activities, so you will choose depending on what you want to get out of your holidays. The water activities that should be on your radar include cruising the seas in search of dolphins and other amazing sea creatures, snorkeling in the crystal clear waters as well as sailing (which is an especially fun family activity.) But if you want more movement on your Bay of Islands trip, you can try jet skiing, parasailing or even skydiving if you’re brave enough! All in all, adventure is everywhere.
Regardless of what you want to get out of your New Zealand trip, spending a few days experiencing the city life is an essential part to get the full picture of this incredible country. So, why not explore the City of Sails, Auckland, which is the largest city in the whole country? With a private jet hire, you can get from Sydney to Auckland in no time, and no matter how long you are staying there, you will have plenty of things to see and do every minute of your vacation. A must when you’re in this city would be to visit the Sky Tower to take in some of the most expansive views you will ever see from 328 meters above the ground. Art lovers can explore a number of museums to get acquainted with this side of New Zealand while those enjoying architecture will have plenty to see just walking around the city center. But concrete is not all there is to Auckland. In fact, nestled right by the buzzing streets, you can already find beautiful nature in the form of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Islands as well as a number of great beaches on the east coast if you want a relaxing day spent sunbathing.
5. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Mount Cook is rarely left out of any list concerning New Zealand’s visit-worthy natural wonders, and for a good reason. This popular national park on the South Island is one of the most picturesque mountainous areas out there. Located in the Mackenzie region, it encompasses 19 peaks, including the country’s highest mountain, Mount Cook, towering an impressive 3,724 meters. But don’t be intimidated even if you’re not an experienced mountain climber. There are lots of tracks for all levels of fitness that will all give you stunning views. For instance, the Hooker Valley Track is a great 3-hour walk that is even free. On the other hand, you can even hike incredible glaciers and explore interesting ice formations by exploring Tasman Glacier hike options. Still, that is not all. You can also explore this side of New Zealand by taking a boat tour on the Tasman Lake to explore the glaciers from a different angle.
For a truly unique experience, head back to the North Island and visit the village of Waitomo where you can find truly magical things. Here, you can explore incredible caves that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Visiting the Waitomo Glowworm Caves should definitely be on your to-do list, as when you enter, you will be charmed by beautiful bright lights adorning the ceilings. These are actually glowworms, a species of fungus gnats whose tail is bioluminescent. Nevertheless, after seeing these caves, you will agree that this is the closest we get to real magic and you’ll never regret visiting this amazing place. Moreover, there are so many more things worth exploring in Waitomo. Aranui Cave and Ruakuri Cave are both sights of their own while walking tracks will allow you to discover beautiful waterfalls and natural bridges nestled in lush vegetation.
7. Lake Tekapo
Finally, a picturesque natural wonder on the South Island that should be on your itinerary is Lake Tekapo. This massive lake will charm you with its bright blue color and surrounding nature that make this one of the most postcard-worthy places in New Zealand. But you can expect the best views if you decide to stay after sundown. As Lake Tekapo sees little light pollution, you can gaze at the clear night sky and see more stars than you ever had. In fact, it’s even part of the UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, so if you’re looking for the best stargazing spot out there, Lake Tekapo might just be it. What’s more, this is also a perfect destination if you’re looking for ultimate relaxation as you can find hot pools and other spa amenities at Tekapo Springs just by the impressive lake.
It is clear that New Zealand is a natural paradise that both ambitious adventurers and those looking for a serene, peaceful holiday will love. Picture-perfect green hills, towering mountains and bright-colored lakes will make your stay colorful and almost magical, so don’t hesitate to make New Zealand your next holiday destination.