Best places to visit in New Zealand
With so many incredible places to visit, how do you narrow down your options? Most people only have a few weeks to explore, so it’s important to know the best places to visit in New Zealand and how to include them in your travel plans.
North vs South
New Zealand is made up of two islands, North and South. The North Island is lush and green with rolling hills, sandy beaches and a bubbling geothermal heart. Home to the majority of New Zealand’s 4.8 million population, the North Island is also where our largest city, Auckland, and the nation’s capital, Wellington, are located.
The South Island is rugged, sparsely populated and devastatingly beautiful. With increasingly impressive vistas around each corner, the wild coastlines, thick forests, deep fiords and towering peaks vie for attention and keep your camera clicking.
It’s not all wilderness though – the colourful town of Nelson illuminates the upper South Island with its arty eccentricity, while the historic city of Christchurch and surrounding Canterbury plains act as a bedrock for most of the South Island’s population.
If you are limited on time and trying to decide which island to visit, find out the best places to travel in New Zealand with our North vs South Island debate.
New Zealand’s cities
Our main centres are gateways to the rest of New Zealand with international airports and transport links to the surrounding countryside. They’re also cultural centres with art galleries, museums, markets and monuments illustrating New Zealand’s history and culture, both past and present.
Of course, most visitors come to New Zealand to experience our stunning landscapes, not our city life, but we think there’s merit in both, so we like to include a blend in our Trails trips.
New Zealand’s best landscapes
Outside of the main centres, the top places to visit in New Zealand include our outstanding National Parks which make up some of our most spectacular wilderness areas. Home to many world-class hiking tracks and trails, New Zealand’s National Parks are a national treasure. Visit six of the best New Zealand National Parks on a New Zealand Trails trip.
Explore the wild west coast of the South Island, hike Jurassic-like surroundings in Punakaiki and Paparoa and pick your jaw up off the floor as you gaze in wonder up at our highest peak, the majestic Aoraki/ Mount Cook.
And to complete your trip, let us show you the best places to stay in dreamy accommodation. These are the places that other guests want to visit and stay in, but don’t know how to find!
This section of the blog will help you tick off the best places to visit in New Zealand and show you the best way to go about it. You can always get in touch if you have more questions or want to chat about your travel plans!
ORDER A FREE BROCHURE
Our Latest Article
New Zealand's Best Waterfalls
Aotearoa/New Zealand is blessed with natural beauty of all kinds. As a relatively young landscape, you can witness it still being carved by the immens...READ THIS ARTICLE
The Best Places to Visit on New Zealand's West Coast
The West Coast of New Zealand is a remote and beautiful stretch of our South Island that we love to visit on our New Zealand hiking tours. Its unique ...READ THIS ARTICLE
Travel like it used to be | 24 hours on Stewart Island
As you enter Invercargill airport and check-in for your flight across to Rakiura/Stewart Island it’s hard not to think this is more similar to what th...READ THIS ARTICLE
Top 10 New Zealand Adventures
New Zealand is a wilderness playground with opportunities for incredible adventures in every corner of the country. With such a stunning and diverse n...READ THIS ARTICLE
Top Tips for your Free Day
Our guests love free day! If you’re on a 13-14 day trip, it’s a day midway through where you can either take it easy or add in an extra adventure.Our ...READ THIS ARTICLE
The Most Beautiful Lakes In The South Island
New Zealand's South Island is a land of immense natural beauty. From the towering snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the golden sand beaches of...READ THIS ARTICLE
Hiking the Kepler Track in January
January is heralded as a time for new beginnings, new goals and new experiences. Whether you’ve done a Great Walk of New Zealand before, or you’re con...READ THIS ARTICLE
Arrowtown - A Few Hours To Explore
Arrowtown, New ZealandArrowtown is a quaint historic town, first established during the gold rush period of the 1800s. With its old architecture, mini...READ THIS ARTICLE
Top 15 things to do in Queenstown
What to Do in QueenstownQueenstown is well-known as the adventure capital of the world. But it is not all adrenaline and thrills. There are plenty of ...READ THIS ARTICLE
Top 5 things to do on Stewart Island
The third and smallest of New Zealand’s three main islands, Stewart Island is a hidden gem that even many Kiwis have not yet had the chance to visit. ...READ THIS ARTICLE
The Best Beaches in New Zealand
Are you looking for the best and most beautiful New Zealand beaches? The hidden coastal secrets that will take your breath away? The whitest sands and...READ THIS ARTICLE
10 of New Zealand's Best Backroad Experiences
Do you want to discover the best of New Zealand when you visit? While the main tourist trail is always popular, we recommend delving a little deeper f...READ THIS ARTICLE
New Zealand Bucket List... with a Twist
Are you looking for the best things to do in New Zealand? But perhaps you’ve read a few too many generic bucket lists written by travelling bloggers? ...READ THIS ARTICLE
New Zealand Tours | Lord of the Rings
One of the conditions of Peter Jackson directing the Lord of the Rings films was that the trilogy be filmed in his home country of New Zealand. Thanks...READ THIS ARTICLE
New Zealand National Parks | A Complete Guide
How many national parks are there in New Zealand?There are 13 national parks in New Zealand; three in the North Island and 10 in the South. These vast...READ THIS ARTICLE
New Zealand Mountains
Stomping ground of legendary explorers and source of inspiration for countless artists, poets and storytellers, New Zealand’s vast peaks and snow-capp...READ THIS ARTICLE
North vs South Island | Which To Visit?
Why choose one or the other? If you have the time, explore both islands. If that’s not an option for you and you have to choose between visiting eithe...READ THIS ARTICLE
Hike and Kayak Abel Tasman National Park
Small but perfectly formed, Abel Tasman National Park is the ideal place to relax, adventure and explore. Renowned for its natural beauty and idyllic ...READ THIS ARTICLE
Queenstown | Adventure Capital of the World
Picture steam drifting up from your freshly brewed coffee, as you sit at a table on the waterfront of Lake Wakatipu. Snow glistens as the first sunlig...READ THIS ARTICLE