12 of New Zealand’s most beautiful places

( CNN)– You’ve seen your pals’ pictures, you have actually viewed the Lord of the Rings trilogy and also you’re hopeless to experience New Zealand on your own. But taking into consideration that the Land of the Long White Cloud has to do with the exact same dimension as the UK, exactly how will you choose what to see?

Here’s our expert’s overview to Aotearoa’s must-see locations, consisting of some off-the-beaten track treasures.


Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is completion of the roadway when it involves the North Island– the only location additionally north is North Cape, which isn’t open up to the general public.

Stand next to the renowned Te Rerenga Wairua lighthouse on this rough, windy factor and also you’ll see where the Tasman Sea (in between New Zealand and also Australia) and also the Pacific Ocean satisfy.

You’ll additionally be attesting to a spiritual location in Maori society. An 800- year-old pohutukawa tree at Cape Reinga is thought to be the last leaving location for spirits of deadMaori

Legend has it that they jump from this tree right into the sea to start their trip back to their genealogical homeland of Hawaiki.


Auckland: New Zealand’s largest and also most culturally varied city.

Chris McLen nan/Tourism New Zealand

There’s whole lots to see and also carry out in New Zealand’s largest and also most culturally varied city.

The ‘City of Sails’ stretches about greater than 40 volcanic cones and also is bordered by the island-strewn HaurakiGulf

Auckland has an urbane ambiance, however it’s additionally honored with abundant coastlines, parks and also places to escape all of it.

When you require a break from the stress, stroll to the top of Maungakiekie (Mt Eden). Here, simply 5km from the CBD, you will certainly delight in scenic sights from the city’s greatest volcanic cone while lamb forage in harmony close by.

Bonus journey: Make certain you consist of a journey to Waiheke Island– simply 40 mins from the incurable in Auckland -l- for a full adjustment of rate. Waiheke is residence to picturesque coastlines, bushwalking tracks and also 20- weird wineries.

Lake Taupo + Tongariro National Park

A lake the dimension of Singapore?Check Volcanoes?Check Bubbling mud and also steaming warm water swimming pools?Check Bleak, barren desert landscapes? Check.

Lake Taupo and also its surrounding landscapes review like they have actually been purpose-built for a tourist pamphlet. The freshwater lake, which is the largest in Australasia, is a large caldera developed by a super-volcanic eruption some 26,000 years back.

At the southerly end, 3 magnificent volcanoes (Mounts Ruapehu, Tongariro and also Ngaruahoe) impend huge. It’s not surprising that that close by Tongariro National Park (a World Heritage Area) was made use of as the background for some of the most magnificent scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies.

Many site visitors select to base themselves in Taupo, the community on the lake’s north coasts. There’s no lack of exterior experiences available below, consisting of angling, hill cycling, sky diving, jet-boating and also bungee leaping.

In winter season, all eyes get on the hills. There are 2 areas on Mount Ruapehu (Whakapapa and also Turoa) and also lots of apres-ski enjoyable to be had in the village of Ohakune.

Bonus journey: Get up close (fine, not as well close!) with steaming mineral swimming pools and also gurgling mud at the Tokaanu Thermal Walk (near Turangi, 40 mins from Taupo), after that swim in the recovery waters of the close-by geothermal warm swimming pools to calm away any type of travel-induced pains and also discomforts.

Lake Waikaremoana + Te Urewera

Lake Waikaremoana boasts the largest protected tract of native forest in the North Island.

Lake Waikaremoana flaunts the biggest safeguarded system of indigenous woodland in the North Island.


Remote and also sturdy Te Urewera is the biggest safeguarded system of indigenous woodland in the North Island: Think thick, sturdy shrub, substantial Lake Waikaremoana (developed greater than 2000 years back by a significant landslide) and also whole lots of possibility for angling, tramping, outdoor camping and also searching.

It’s residence to the Ngati Tuhoe people (nicknamed ‘the Children of the Mist’) and also most varieties of New Zealand’s indigenous birds. If you’re trying to find someplace to entirely turn off, this is it.

To workout body in addition to mind, think about treking the total Lake WaikaremoanaTrack

This path, one of New Zealand’s ‘Great Walks,’ traces the western side of the lake and also takes about 4 days. Expect huge podocarp woodlands, remote coastlines and also extraordinary sights. There are plenty of much shorter walks if you’re pushed for time.


Head west to experience the Taranaki area, one of the North Island’s best-kept keys.

The flawlessly in proportion Mt Taranaki (a dual for Japan’s Mount Fuji), situated in Egmont National Park, is the maximum perspective to absorb the area’s rich, rolling countryside and also black-sand coast.

Prefer obtaining your feet damp? Taranaki’s well known ‘Surf Highway 45’ has a loads first-rate browse breaks, intermixed with lovely coastlines, charming country communities and also hill sights.

Don’t miss out on: New Plymouth’s Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand’s very first modern art gallery, is committed to worldwide popular modernist filmmaker and also kinetic artist LenLye

The Govett Brewster Gallery is to New Plymouth what the Guggenheim is to Bilbao, an aesthetic banquet both in and out.


New Zealand’s resources consistently includes in checklists of the globe’s most comfortable cities.

Wellington is extremely rather. Look out for eccentric wood residences set down on dizzy inclines, whole lots of environment-friendly area, hill cycling tracks, the prize-winning bird refuge Zealandia and also numerous coastlines.

It’s additionally residence to Peter Jackson’s movie realm (seek the ‘Wellywood’ indication as you fly in or drive throughout the Miramar Peninsula) and also the incredibly kid-friendly Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, the nation’s nationwide gallery.

Wellington’s setting at the base of the North Island, in between the Tararua Ranges and also Cook Strait, makes it the windiest city worldwide. Prepare to be revitalized by northwesterly gusts and also do as the citizens do– put on a raincoat rather of lugging an umbrella when discovering.

Don’t miss out on: Head to Point Howard and also the impressive Massey Memorial, a white marble mausoleum to previous Prime Minister William Massey and also his spouse Christina, concealed high over Shelly Bay on the MiramarPeninsula

Climb up with the shrub to the memorial, or the weapon locations over, for sights of the far-off hills of the South Island.


Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds is home to more than 50 reserves and 20% of the country's coastline.

Marlborough Sounds is residence to greater than 50 books and also 20% of the nation’s coast.

Rob Suisted/Tourism New Zealand

This elaborate internet of protected rivers represent 20 percent of New Zealand’s overall coast. The 3 unique rivers, Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and also Pelorus Sounds, developed from sunken river valleys that were swamped in the last IceAge

There are greater than 50 books in this breathtaking play area– grab a kayak, angling charter or unwinding watercraft trip to value them completely.

The Marlborough area creates almost 80 percent of the nation’s a glass of wine (specifically sauvignon blanc) and also there are almost 40 vineyards to pick from.

Don’t miss out on: The 70 kilometres (44 mile) Queen Charlotte Track provides you the opportunity to experience the most effective of the location’s background, breathtaking thrills and also food, either walking or by bike.

In New Zealand, Waitomo is residence to thousands of “glowworms” that produce an impressive radiant result day or evening.


Thanks to a deep sea trench leaving its coast, Kaikoura is one of the most effective places in New Zealand to see aquatic life. It’s one of minority places worldwide where sperm whales can be seen year-round, together with seals, dolphins and also seabirds.

If you like ‘kai moana’ (fish and shellfish), Kaikoura additionally has an online reputation for the island’s ideal crayfish (neighborhood lobster) and also various other fresh fish.

A massive stretch of the eastern coast of the top south island around Kaikoura was boosted in a 2018 quake, however the community recouped in spite of disturbance to carry web links and also facilities.

It stays a remarkable location to check out, with the hills towering above long, deserted pebble coastlines.

Punakaiki Pancake Rocks + Paparoa National Park

The Great Coast Road in between Greymouth and also Westport on the West Coast of the South Island was lately called one of the globe’s biggest drives by Lonely Planet.

This wild, almost unoccupied stretch of coast has near-mythical condition in New Zealand, many thanks mainly to its diverse and also pristine location, realistic citizens and also abundant background.

With the battering waves of the Tasman Sea on one side and also the exotic jungle of the Paparoa National Park on the various other, the drive in between Greymouth and also Westport is stressed by the well-known sedimentary rock developments and also blowholes atPunakaiki

Don’t miss out on: Head approximately Denniston over Westport for magnificent sights of the coastline prior to coming down right into the historical below ground coal mine, or take on the caverns at close-by Charleston.

Milford Sound + Fiordland

Fiordland National Park has super-sized scenery.

Fiordland National Park has super-sized landscapes.


The South Island has no lack of extraordinary landscapes, however Milford Sound and also Fiordland are something else.

Milford Sound, a fiord sculpted by Ice Age glaciers, is the gem of Fiordland National Park, a 1.2 million hectare heaven including hills, lakes, fiords and also rain forests. Rudyard Kipling called it the ‘8th marvel of the globe.’

The landscapes below gets on such a super-sized range– looming high cliffs, plunging falls, apparently endless rivers– that you would certainly be forgiven for believing it was some kind of computer-generated hoax.


Queenstown establishes the requirement for all hotel celebration communities.

Its worldwide track record as a bucket-list location returns to 3 points: area, area, area. Queenstown rests on the coasts of Lake Wakatipu, bordered by impressive chain of mountains like TheRemarkables

While there’s lots to see and also carry out in the prompt location– specifically if you enjoy winter sports, treking, jet-boating, bungee leaping and also skydiving– it’s is additionally the portal to picture-perfect communities like Glenorchy, Wanaka, Arrowtown and alsoAlexandra

A ‘continental’ environment with warm, completely dry summertimes produces exceptional wine-growing problems – the main Otago area around Queenstown is well known for its pinot noir.

Stewart Island/Rakiura

This is the little island at the ‘end’ of the SouthIsland

An hr by ferryboat from the landmass and also as near Antarctica as you can obtain without leaving the nation, it’s complete of wild animals and also raw, unblemished landscapes.

Stewart Island’s seclusion makes it one of the least-visited components of the nation– which is a lot more factor to make the initiative.

Brown kiwi surpass the 400 human occupants and also greater than 85 percent of the island has actually shielded national forest condition. There’s simply 28 kilometres (17 miles) of roadway, contrasted to 280 kilometres (173 miles) of strolling and also treking tracks.

Need an additional factor to make the journey? Stewart Island’s Maori name, Rakiura, suggests ‘the land of beautiful skies’ many thanks to the regular look of the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights.

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