50 things not to be missed in New Zealand

50 things not be missed in New Zealand


New Zealand doesn’t get almost 2.5 million international visitors (from Statistics New Zealand) to its shores each year for nothing! If you’re planning a holiday to Aotearoa, make sure to pop a few of these ideas on your to-do list.

90 Mile Beach, Northland


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A beach so long it’s classed as a highway! Great sand dunes and ocean swimming.

Akaroa, Canterbury

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A charming French settlement with a scrumptious cafe culture.

Arthurs Pass, Canterbury

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For forest and mountain scenery, with plenty of mischievous kea, visit Arthurs Pass.

Baldwin Street, Dunedin

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The steepest street in the world.

Blue Lake, Nelson Lakes National Park

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The clearest lake in the world.

Bluff oysters, Southland

Famously delicious oysters, enjoyed around New Zealand between March and August

Cape Palliser, Wairarapa

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WARNING: Contains historic lighthouse (built 1897), adorable seals and stunning ocean views.

Cape Reinga, Northland

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Cape Reinga is where two oceans meet at NZ’s northernmost point.

Cape Foulwind Seal Colony, West Coast

Unfortunate name, but amazing seal colony.

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

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A famous ‘must-visit’ of NZ.

Doubtful Sound, Fiordland

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Don’t doubt, Doubtful Sound features nature at its best. Book a cruise to enjoy its ‘sound of silence’.

Fossicking for gold

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NZ history is filled with gold. To try your hand at finding some, visit Arrowtown or Shantytown.

Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers, West Coast

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Grab a scenic flight, lace up your hiking boots or drive on up to one of these glaciers, almost adjacent to each other.

Goat Island Marine Reserve, just north of Auckland

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Established in 1975 – our first marine reserve. Excellent swimming, snorkelling and diving.

Hamurana Springs, Rotorua

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The deepest freshwater spring in the North Island, surrounded by a pristine nature sanctuary.

Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata

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Need we say more?

Hot springs

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NZ has numerous natural and commercial hot springs. Try Rotorua, Hot Water Beach and Hanmer Springs.

Huka Falls, Taupo

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Imagine 220,000 litres of water per second roaring past. Now imagine seeing it from a jet boat. Yeah, you need to visit Huka Falls.

Kaikoura, Canterbury

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New Zealand’s premier whale-watching destination.

Karangahake Gorge, Bay of Plenty

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A historic wilderness area with numerous walks. Come to see antique railway lines, tunnels and other pieces of mining history.

Kawarau Bridge Bungy, Queenstown

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The world’s first commercial bungy operation, opened in 1988 and still going strong.

Kiwi spotting

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Wondering where to see kiwi birds in NZ? Try Trounson National Park, Te Puia, Orana Wildlife Park and any of our awesome zoos.

Lake Taupo

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Once a volcano that exploded so ferociously thousands of years ago, the ancient Romans saw it over in Europe!

Lake Wanaka, Otago

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A sparkling aquatic playground, perfect for sightseers, swimmers and, well, anyone, really.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin

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Our only castle, built back in 1871.

Manuka honey

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Famous around the world for its healthy properties. Available around the country, but a must-try before you leave.

Milford Sound, Fiordland

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Home to one of our greatest walking tracks – the Milford Track – as well as world-renowned cruises.

Moeraki Boulders, North Otago

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These are surreal, spherical boulders that have become an iconic attraction.

Mount Cook, Mackenzie Region

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Aoraki (Mount Cook) is our tallest mountain, at 3,724 metres.

Mount Hikurangi, Eastland

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The first place in the country to see the sunrise, and a sacred Maori place to boot.

New Chums Beach, Coromandel

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An untouched jewel in the crown that is the Coromandel Peninsula. Another absolute must-visit.

New Zealand salmon

If you love fresh salmon, you’ll love New Zealand. Visit Twizel or Golden Bay.

Otago vineyards

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Tantalise your tastebuds with a wine tour through Otago. Pop by Wanaka, Cromwell and Gibbston Valley.

Pancake Rocks, West Coast

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An attraction 30 million years in the making. Includes a delightful 20-minute loop walk and great views.

Rotorua geothermal parks

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The smell might be weird, but the photo memories here last a lifetime. Visit Te Puia, Hells Gate, Wai-O-Tapu or Orakei Korako.

Skiing on the Southern Alps

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Come winter, the Southern Alps are your playground. Carve up Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Mount Hutt or Awakino.

Skippers Road, Queenstown

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Though it would be wiser to take a tour along here (safety reasons), the mid-1800s historic sights will make it all worth it.

Sky Tower, Auckland

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The tallest man-made structure in NZ (328 metres), and a landmark of Auckland.

Stewart Island

Across the water from Invercargill. Come to enjoy its tranquil setting and many natural wonders.

Tane Mahuta, Bay of Plenty

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At 51.2 metres, Tane Mahuta is the largest living kauri tree in NZ.

Tarawera Falls, Bay of Plenty

These cliffs were produced by an ancient lava flow, and now the falls pour out of a dramatic black fissure.

Te Paki Sand Dunes, Northland

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Bring a boogie board, because sliding down these dunes is an unmissable experience.

The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail

This is the ultimate wine road trip. It covers 80 per cent of NZ’s wine regions, according to Wellington’s website.

The Catlins, Southland

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A rugged natural forest area just off the Southern Scenic Route.

Tongariro Crossing, Ruapehu

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NZ’s oldest national park, and the location of Mount Doom from The Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy.

Volcanoes

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Our most active volcano can be found on White Island, Bay of Plenty. Dormant volcanoes include Rangitoto, Ruapehu and Tongariro.

Waiheke Island, Auckland

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Just off the coast of Auckland, Waiheke presents a tranquil setting a world away from the city.

Waitomo Caves, Waikato

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You’ll find blackwater rafting, glow worms and a fascinating cave journey here at Waitomo.

Wanganui River journey

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Jump in a kayak and experience the multi-day, 145-kilometre-long Wanganui River Journey.

Weta Workshop, Wellington

Finally, for an activity like no other, visit Weta Workshop for its 45-minute movie-based tour.