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Things to do in New Zealand

Things to do in  New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand

It might have been the popularity of The Lord of the Rings movies that put New Zealand on the map, but it's the enchanting landscapes, rich Maori heritage, and unforgettable natural wonders that keep travelers coming back. The North Island is home to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, and largest city, Auckland, but its real highlights lie outside the urban centers. Stroll the golden beaches of the Bay of Islands, journey to Middle Earth on a tour of the Hobbiton set, or cruise through the glowworm caves of Waitomo. Nearby, Rotorua is as renowned for its bubbling mud pools and lava fields as it is for its Maori culture, while farther south, the rocky peaks of Tongariro National Park form the backdrop to one of New Zealand's most rewarding hikes. A short ferry ride from Wellington lands you on the South Island, where the landscapes get wilder, the weather more temperamental, and the cities even more laid-back. Expect to spend most of your time outdoors, traveling from the sandy spit of Cape Farewell, past the windswept beaches of the West Coast, to the dramatic fjords of Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park. Christchurch, revamped after the tragedy of the 2011 earthquake, is the main hub of the north, while the southern city of Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital, where thrill-seekers congregate to try skydiving, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and ziplining.

Top 15 attractions in New Zealand

#1
Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

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Surrounded by mountains and shrouded in legend, Lake Wakatipu and its crystal waters draw visitors as the longest lake on New Zealand's South Island. As a popular spot for adventure activities—from fishing to catamaran cruises—a day on Lake Wakatipu is arguably the highlight of any trip to Queenstown and the Otago region.More
#2
Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

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Measuring more than 33 feet (10 meters) high, these mammoth Maori sculptures were chiseled into the rocks on the edge of Lake Taupo in the late 1970s. Created by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, the carvings depict Ngatoroirangi, who is said to have guided the Te Arawa tribes from their Polynesian homeland to New Zealand.More
#3
Auckland Harbour Bridge

Auckland Harbour Bridge

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The Auckland Harbour Bridge is a landmark site on the city’s skyline. The 8-lane engineering marvel connects downtown Auckland with North Shore suburbs. Visitors can experience the bridge and the stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour from several vantage points: while driving over it, climbing it, or jumping off it.More
#4
Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

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One of New Zealand’s most photographed natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Franz Josef Glacier serves up a dazzling landscape of snow-smothered peaks, rocky gorges, and icy waterfalls, feeding into the Waiho River that's ripe for exploration.More
#5
Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

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A series of sunken river valleys at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, the Marlborough Sounds offer a range of sights and adventures—hiking, biking, camping, and wildlife watching, to name but a few. Many travelers pass through Queen Charlotte Sound and the town of Picton on the ferry between the North and South islands.More
#6
Mission Estate Winery

Mission Estate Winery

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New Zealand produces some of the world’s most renowned, award-winning wines, and Mission Estate Winery on the outskirts of Napier is where it all began. Founded in 1851, Mission Estate was started by missionaries who journeyed from France with little more than a dream and a couple of vines. Now, nearly two centuries later, Mission Estate continues to operate as one of New Zealand’s best wineries, and is a staple on any shore excursion or wine tasting tour of Napier.Head down the tree lined driveway toward the old fashioned estate and its fountain, and you'll immediately fall for the history and regal charm of the area. Step outside on the hilltop veranda for a view of the vineyard landscapes leading back to Napier’s downtown or to sip in the sun protected by the shade of one of the winery's big, white outdoor umbrellas.More
#7
Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

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The Rotorua area boasts dozens of lakes, but Lake Rotorua is larger, deeper, and older than its neighbors. Geologists believe that Rotorua, the second-largest lake on the North Island, dates back more than 200,000 years, while most of the region’s other waterways were created by the Tarawera eruption of 1886.More
#8
Milford Sound

Milford Sound

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With its soaring cliffs, dramatic glacial valleys, and thundering waterfalls, it’s easy to see why Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most visited sights. This natural wonder is the star attraction of Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wildlife haven for dolphins, seals, and penguins.More
#9
The Chasm

The Chasm

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The short walk to the Chasm, in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park, is an ideal family excursion as it’s not challenging, and kids will love the sight of the powerful waterfalls. The high volumes of rain in this part of the country have carved interesting shapes into the rocks here over thousands of years.More
#10
Te Puia

Te Puia

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Te Puia, located in the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley at the edge of Rotorua features Pohutu Geyser and is home to the impressive New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Visitors can tour the bubbling mud pools with a local Maori guide and choose from among myriad activities.More
#11
Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

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Lake Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s largest lakes, surrounded by the mountains of the Mt. Aspiring National Park. The town of Wanaka on its southern shore is a relaxed spot that offers easy access to lake-based activities. In summer, paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, and swimming are popular, while in winter, skiing is available nearby. More
#12
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

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The Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, just outside Blenheim, tells the story of New Zealand’s involvement in World War I and II through vintage aircraft. Two permanent exhibits—Knights of the Sky and Dangerous Skies—present aircraft alongside rare memorabilia, recreate battle scenes, and tell the story of the pilots who flew these impressive aircraft in each of the early-20th century wars.More
#13
Mt. Tarawera

Mt. Tarawera

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Mt. Tarawera’s claim to fame is its historic 1866 eruption that destroyed the recognizable Pink and White Terraces. Today, it's the center of a geothermal wonderland and a compelling attraction in its own right—take a guided tour to the mountain’s peak, or visit the many valleys and lakes carved out and altered by the 19th-century eruption.More
#14
Coronet Peak

Coronet Peak

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Coronet Peak is New Zealand’s oldest ski field and remains a popular choice for people heading to the slopes during the southern hemisphere’s ski season. Snow bunnies can take to one of the ski field’s many trails, while sightseers can enjoy the stunning views of the Wakatipu Basin and the Southern Alps from the summit of the peak.More
#15
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

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A glacial lake on New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Tekapo is an adventurer’s playground by day—and a stargazer’s heaven at night. On a clear night, southern hemisphere constellations, plus the Milky Way and the southern lights, shine spectacularly in the UNESCO-listed Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

Top activities in New Zealand

TSS Earnslaw & BBQ Buffet Lunch
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TSS Earnslaw & BBQ Buffet Lunch

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Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
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Premium Milford Sound Small Group Tour, Cruise & Picnic Lunch from Queenstown
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Small Group, Award Winning, Full Day Milford Sound Experience from Queenstown
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Milford Sound Sightseeing Cruise with Scenic Round-Trip Flight from Queenstown
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Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland
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Milford Sound Coach and Nature Cruise with Picnic Lunch from Queenstown
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Milford Sound Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown
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Milford Sound Coach and Scenic Cruise with Picnic Lunch from Queenstown
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Queenstown 60-minute Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover & Kawarau Rivers
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Premium Milford Sound Small Group Tour, Cruise & Picnic Lunch from Te Anau
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Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
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Recent reviews from experiences in New Zealand

star-5
Worth every cent!
Julie_V, Apr 2022
Wildlife Motuara Sanctuary Tour and Dolphin Cruise from Picton
Fantastic weather and had a chance to see some birds and seals in their habitat.
star-5
Excellent
Michael_C, Jan 2022
Milford Sound Day Tour and Cruise from Queenstown
Highlight was seeing the dolphins and waterfall.
star-5
Phillip was awesome guide
Debbie_W, Dec 2021
Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour
As a NZ’r great to see some of our heritage, learn about things I was not aware of and feel proud.
star-5
A one in a life time experience! Lovely!
Sophie_A, May 2022
Kaikoura Helicopters Extended Whale Watch flight
We were lucky enough to see whales after 5min being in the air.
star-5
Breathtaking
Kelsey_D, Sep 2020
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Driving into Milford was so breathtaking, surrounded by mountains, and waterfalls.
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Waitomo caves and Hobbiton
Gabriela, Jul 2020
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland
On top of everything you get to see two of NZ's famous sights!
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Great Original NZ Experience
David_V, Mar 2020
Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Highlights
Being able to walk through a working village with several hot springs boiling away was something everyone should see when visiting NZ.
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Otago Peninsula and wildlife tour
Linda_U, Mar 2020
Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour
He took us to see fur seals, albatross' and pointed out many birds only found in New Zealand.
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Glow worm phenomenon
bk9572, Feb 2020
Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo
I highly recommend and I would do it again when I come back to Visit!
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Queenstown Bike Ride
Trvanhoy, Feb 2020
Queenstown Guided Ebike Wine Tour
Got to see some wildlife and bungee jumpers over the incredibly turquoise waters of the river.
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Great way to start your stay in Auckland.
HelenGoldman_H, Jan 2020
Private Tour: Auckland City and Countryside Tour
Able to see some interesting sites and get a good feel for the city.
star-5
Wonderful
Elaine_G, Jan 2020
Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Geothermal Geyser Tour and Polynesian Spa
All attractions were good.
star-5
Stupendous from start to finish!
Camper65933166983, Jan 2020
Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise
3) Dress warm, even in New Zealand "Summer" 4) Hopefully you get lucky with weather like we did, it was the only day of the week that wasn't rainy (they cancel the flights if the weather is bad) 5) Shoutout to Pilot Tom!!
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A Unique Tour
kab06wa, Jan 2020
Hobbiton™ Movie Set 2-Hour Walking Tour from Shires Rest
Pictures of Hobbiton are nice, but you truly have to see it to appreciate it.
star-4
Arhtur's Pass and so much more!
Rajesh_H, Jan 2020
Arthur's Pass Full-Day Tour Includes TranzAlpine Express Train from Christchurch
This tour has a number of things packed in it - A farm tour with morning tea, jet boating, lunch at an iconic restaurant and finally great views and majestic waterfalls of Arthur's pass with TranzAlpine train.
star-5
Unbelievable experience
Andrew L, Dec 2019
Half-Day Milford Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown
You get to see varied landscapes and learn about New Zealand history and environment from your talented, courteous pilots.
star-5
Great location and well organised tour
Mansi H, Dec 2019
Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Bus Tour
We were lucky enough to be visiting Milford sounds after rain as a result, there were a number of waterfalls with plenty of water.
star-5
Excellent tour company
Sharonruth2019, Nov 2019
Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland
Would highly recommend both attractions with this tour company.
star-5
the BEST day
Karl_M, Oct 2019
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
We are from NZ, so it was incredible to see our country from this perspective and learn more about our own piece of paradise :-) EVERYONE enjoyed themselves
star-5
Wonderful Tour
Colleen_S, Aug 2019
Half-day Discover Auckland City Sightseeing Tour
Very informative and his suggestions for restaurants, activities and such were spot on.
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