Oct 03

10 Most Beautiful Places in New Zealand

by in New Zealand, Top travel tips

When you dream about traveling to New Zealand you dream of those epic landscapes you see on travel brochures, not bustling cities. Well, the news flash here is that those pictures in travel magazines barely do justice to the immense beauty of these islands.

They have it all in their tiny country of only four million kiwis. They have massive mountains, tranquil lakes, 8,700 miles of coast line, stunning national parks, glaciers, curious wildlife, some of the largest trees in the world and fiords that will take your breathe away.

It is my personal opinion that there is so much to love in New Zealand that everyone should visit at some point in their life to experience this extraordinary country!

Though, I never had the opportunity to visit the east coast of the North Island, these are the 10 most beautiful places in New Zealand..based on what I’ve seen with my own eyes!

1. Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman

 

I am not coming up with the correct adjectives to describe the visual impressiveness of this place. (Which is why I’m including more than one picture!) Abel Tasman National Park is one of the most magnificent places I’ve ever seen, definitely my favorite hiking destination to date. The entire National Park is on the coast so the hiking trails traverse beaches and mountains, then more beaches and a few hills, then more beaches.

It is one of the official Great Walks and if you are looking for something less challenging than the more famous Milford or Routeburn Tracks, this is perfect for all hikers.

2. Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

 

This is arguably one of the most popular destinations in the country and with good reason. The Milford Sound is breathtaking and you can visit it by water or air! (You can also hike through it on the Milford Track.) You also have a good chance of seeing some wildlife in the sound! Cute little penguins, dolphins, and seals call the Sound home.

Milford Sound Waterfall Rainbow

Milford Sound Waterfall Rainbow

 

3. Routeburn

routeburn

Routeburn

 

Where do I start? I may be a little crazy to say this, but I think everyone should do a great walk during their trip to New Zealand, and the Routeburn would be a perfect choice. There are nine official Great Walks most of which take between 2-4 days to complete. They are all very special in their own way, but the Routeburn takes you into two of country’s best national parks (Mt Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park). Most of the hike is above tree line which allows for magnificent views all day long.

4. Cape Reigna

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

 

The northern-most tip of New Zealand is where the Māori believe the spirits of the dead go to pass into the afterlife. We were very glad we decided to drive up the gorgeous countryside to see this place for ourselves! In addition to the awesome energy of this place, it was really interesting to see the waters ripple where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

5. Banks Peninsula

banks peninsula

Banks Peninsula

 

We were fortunate enough to spend six weeks living on the Banks Peninsula and my feeling is that it is one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. Not far from the adorable city of Christchurch, there is an atmosphere on the Peninsula that can only be felt, not articulated.

6. Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

 

One of the most epic things I’ve ever done was hike on a glacier and wow, was Fox stunning! I can’t speak from experience, but rumor has it that Franz Joseph Glacier is just as impressive.

7. Punakaiki

Punakaiki

Punakaiki

 

Another natural wonder of New Zealand. Unlike most nature-related sites, Punakaiki is best scene when the weather is rather terrible. When the wind is strongest the waves crash the hardest against the rocks and force the water upwards and it looks like blowholes. To maximize your chance of seeing this you want to be sure to visit at high tide.

8. Wai-o-tapu

Wai-o-tapu

Wai-o-tapu

 

This place should not be missed. It is so unique. It reminds me a little of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. You wander through the Thermal Wonderland of geysers and hot pools that are every color of the rainbow and each completely different than all of the others.

9. Waipoau Forest’s Kaouri Trees

Abel Tasman trees

Abel Tasman trees

 

I feel like this forest is something out of the Lord of the Rings! The Kaouri Trees in the Waipoau Forest are some of the oldest in the world. Unfortunately, most of these trees were destroyed by early settlers for making boats, among other things, the ones remaining are truly remarkable! The most famous tree is also the biggest, and is named Tāne Mahuta, standing at 168ft tall and 45.1 feet in diameter!

10. Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Kaikoura

 

Kaikoura may not be as visually beautiful as the other destinations on this list, but it sure is a magical place. And, it seems anyone I’ve met that has been there says the exact same thing. If we could go back to one place in New Zealand for a visit it would be to Kaikoura. The town is adorable, they have whale watching year round, you can buy fresh-caught lobster from local fishermen, see baby fur seals in the wild, and have snow-capped mountains on one side of you and gorgeous coast line on the other the whole time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kathleen is the one half of Our Favorite Adventure where she and her husband blog about their adventures since they decided to leave behind a conventional life to live a life of perpetual travel. They hope to inspire others to follow their own dreams by sharing their journey! You can follow Kathleen on FacebookTwitterGoogle + and Instagram.

About Agness Walewinder


Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"

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44 Responses to “10 Most Beautiful Places in New Zealand”

  1. From santafetraveler:

    I love water- these photos make me want to travel out of my high-desert homw.

    Posted on October 3, 2013 at 2:15 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      I know!! Me too! x

      Posted on October 3, 2013 at 11:57 am #
  2. From Colleen Brynn:

    From all that I’ve heard, this post included, you just can’t go wrong in New Zealand! Can’t wait to visit one day.

    Posted on October 3, 2013 at 3:27 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      True. It’s just so beautiful and look at these National Parks – breath-taking!!

      Posted on October 3, 2013 at 11:56 am #
  3. From Ally:

    Honourable mentions for The Coromandel, The Wairarapa and The Catlins also!

    Easily my favourite country.

    Posted on October 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      These places are on my bucket list :))

      Posted on October 4, 2013 at 2:18 am #
  4. From Jennifer Cooper:

    Yes I’ve been to most of these places in NZ – my partners family lives near the Abel Tasman – I love it!!

    Posted on October 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Seriously? I’m so jealous right now!!!

      Posted on October 4, 2013 at 2:17 am #
  5. From Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans:

    Wai-o-tapu looks otherworldly, but all of these sites look stunningly beautiful. I hope to make it to New Zealand someday soon!

    Posted on October 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm #
    • From Kathleen l Our Favorite Adventure:

      Hey Dana! I hope you make it there too! It is truly a magical country! :)

      Posted on October 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      I still can’t decide which one is the most beautiful!!

      Posted on October 4, 2013 at 2:17 am #
  6. From Paul and Kasia:

    Witam Agness i Cez! New Zealand is so beautiful isn’t it? We love the Abel Tasman as well! The beaches are just perfect!

    Posted on October 4, 2013 at 12:49 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Hey guys! We absolutely agree, although we have never made it to New Zealand. These photos make us wanna go there so soon!

      Posted on October 4, 2013 at 2:14 am #
  7. From Franca:

    I’ve never been to New Zeland and I have to say I’m very tempted after seeing those pictures and reading this post. Wai-o-tapu looks and sounds very unique, I’ve never seen anything similar to it.

    Posted on October 4, 2013 at 9:03 am #
    • From Kathleen l Our Favorite Adventure:

      Franca, I am a little bit flattered the pictures may have inspired you to visit New Zealand ;) It is absolutely our most favorite place we’ve been yet! Wai-o-tapu is a very unique place! Hope you make it there some day soon!

      Posted on October 4, 2013 at 9:33 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      I agree with you France, Wai-o-tapu looks and sounds just extraordinary. Who knows… maybe we can make it to New Zealand together one day… x

      Posted on October 5, 2013 at 5:06 am #
  8. From Mike:

    Agness, I always love New Zealand posts and your’s is right up there! It’s such a beautiful country and I can’t wait to get there someday. That picture of Wai-o-tapu is amazing. I loved your Yellowstone comparison which I’ve been to many times. I know you don’t care for meat, but I’m a huge fan of lamb and I believe it’s a staple there. I would love to eat some home-cooked dishes :)

    Posted on October 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Hey Mike. I agree, NZ is so unique and special, especially its landscape and National Parks. Yep, that’s true, I am not a fan of meat but having a home-cooked dish sounds good to me! :)

      Posted on October 5, 2013 at 5:08 am #
  9. From Freya Renders:

    I love the Punakaiki. Too bad it’s best when the weather’s not good.

    Posted on October 7, 2013 at 12:41 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Is it? We hope to make it one day.

      Posted on October 7, 2013 at 1:56 am #
  10. From Kirsten:

    So exciting to see a blog about my home country!! Thank you for posting this and helping to inspire travelers to make the long long flight over to see us in its far off corner of the world! NZ is very much worth it!! :D

    Posted on October 7, 2013 at 2:13 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      We are also grateful for this guest post Kirsten. Hope our path will cross in NZ in the future :).

      Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:12 am #
  11. From Stef - Food & Photos around the world:

    Great post. I totally agree wiith these places (at least those I could visit as well). Abel Tasman and Milford Sounds have been my favorite places too. I’d add the Moeraki Boulders and Lake Tekapo to the list :) Hopefully I am able to visit the missing places soon ;) x

    Posted on October 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm #
  12. From Hogga:

    Looooove NZ

    Posted on October 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Glad to hear that :):)

      Posted on October 12, 2013 at 12:57 am #
  13. From Andrea:

    Every corner of NZ is gorgeous – great picks!

    Posted on October 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Thanks Andrea. Yes, there is something about NZ that makes you wanna go there and stay forever :)

      Posted on October 13, 2013 at 6:09 am #
  14. From Leigh:

    I spent almost three months in New Zealand just after I graduated from university. As I had almost no money I got around the country chiefly by hitchhiking. I met the kindest people and routinely got invited into homes for the night. Looking at these photos brings back some good memories especially of Kaikoura.

    Posted on October 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Seriously? Great to hear that! Good to know Irish are hospitable and kind!

      Posted on October 16, 2013 at 1:27 am #
  15. From Cameron:

    How did you find surviving on $25 a day in New Zealand? I am from New Zealand and $25 a day would be very difficult to live on if you aren’t relying on goodwill of locals handing out freebies

    Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Everything’s possible if you have a great idea and you are not afraid of leaving your comfort zone to save some $.

      Posted on October 18, 2013 at 2:48 am #
  16. From Pola (@jettingaround):

    I recently saw a photo caption that read, “It’s not Photoshop, it’s New Zealand.” I love mountains (my second love after cities) and have a feeling I wouldn’t put my camera down in NZ.

    Posted on October 18, 2013 at 3:25 am #
  17. From ken murika:

    the Milford sound is a great palce, the site is breath taking especially when hiking through

    Posted on October 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      it does, indeed!

      Posted on October 21, 2013 at 1:56 am #
  18. From Rob @ Hungry Escapades:

    I absolutely love New Zealand! It took me by surprise after a year in in Oz, I turned up expecting to stay a couple of weeks and leave. Ended up staying 3 months! Will definitely be heading back there. Stunning!

    Posted on October 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Great to hear that Rob. I hope it will happen to us when we finally make it here :).

      Posted on October 21, 2013 at 1:54 am #
  19. From niagara falls:

    Nice piece of the information thanks for sharing it with us.

    Posted on October 21, 2013 at 8:13 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      It’s been our pleasure :)

      Posted on October 22, 2013 at 1:35 am #
  20. From Maria Christina:

    Nature can easily attract everyone. Milford Sound looks like an amazing holiday stop. Thinking to plan next holidays in New-Zealand. :)

    Posted on October 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm #
  21. From Marysia @ My Travel Affairs:

    Great photographs! Take me to the Abel Tasman please! :)

    Posted on November 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm #
  22. From ardun:

    Rotorua is also amazing on the north island. And there are some great glow worm caves too!

    Posted on December 11, 2013 at 2:41 am #
    • From Agness Walewinder:

      Have you been there? Awesome, thanks for sharing!

      Posted on December 12, 2013 at 3:32 am #
      • From Gerrard:

        Thats right! Ive been to Waitomo caves last week to see the glow-worms. Thats was so ecstatic!!!!! One of the best places to visit while you’re still living on earth! ^_^ . It’s like I entered to a new dimension . haha..

        Posted on March 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm #
  23. From Lina:

    Love this tips! Don’t forget about the Catlins though! Penguins and dolphins galore, plus amazing waterfalls, caves, and short treks!

    Posted on April 22, 2014 at 5:11 am #

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