Travel / Travel Guides

15 magical places to visit in New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most visually magical countries on the planet. It's why this place was chosen as the home of the Lord of the Ring's Middle Earth. No other place in the world houses mammoth glaciers, icy lakes, sub tropical islands, towering mountains and active volcanos all within a few hour's drive of each other.

In light of the newly opened trans-Tasman travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, here are 15 spots in New Zealand to add to your travel bucket list.


Lake Tekapo

New Zealand, particularly the South Island, is filled with picturesque places that hardly seem real. Lake Tekapo is one of them. This isn't a place filled with sights and sounds, you come here for the natural beauty and the hikes. And it's well worth it.


Aoraki/Mount Cook


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The South Island Aoraki region is another place of pure natural beauty and breathtaking views. It's relatively close to Tekapo, so you can see them both in the one trip. The Aoraki park is home to Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. It also has the Hooker Valley Track, one of the most scenic hikes in New Zealand and the perfect way to experience this area.




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The Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea regions on the South Island are both further evidence of New Zealand's impressive natural beauty. In this region you'll find lots of outdoor sports including kayaking, mountain biking, water sports, skydiving plus plenty of hiking trails. There's also a nearby wine region for the foodies.


Tongariro region

Now we head to the North Island to discover this volcano national park. Some of New Zealand's most dramatic landscapes are right here in this region which includes three volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.




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One of the biggest towns in New Zealand is Queenstown, perched on the edge of Lake Wakatipu. This town is known as the home of adventure, it's famed for having a tonne of extreme sports and adrenalin-inducing activities. But even if you're not an adventurer, there's plenty to do. The town itself is picture-perfect and the surrounding nature is a feast for the eye. And yes, there are wineries here too.



The biggest and most populous city in New Zealand; it's the North Island's Auckland. As a metropolitan hub, all the reasons to love New Zealand are housed in this one location. If you only have a short time to visit the country, Auckland will give you a bit of everything; city skylines, nearby wineries, waterviews, hikes, lush hotels and some stellar food and wine.




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Six hours North of Queenstown by car is Christchurch, another metropolitan hub on the South Island. Christchurch makes a great base or starting point to explore the vast sights of New Zealand, but this coastal city is certainly a destination in itself. There are restaurants, shops, museums and stunning beaches.


Fox Glacier And Franz Josef Glacier

Catch them on the South Island before they're gone. These two natural wonders are slowly melting - cheers, climate change - so put them on your list for sooner rather than later.

They're not exactly close to each other but the experience is similar and you do have to access them in the same way, through a helicopter flight. You can drive to them if you want, but with limited nearby accomodation and a drive of up to six hours from nearby towns, it's not the easiest way to experience them. Plus, you'd have a serious hike ahead of you to get to the top.

Both glaciers are special in their own way. Fox is flatter with a gentler incline and more friendly for hikers. Franz Josef is steeper and more dramatic, with more caves and better chances of seeing the famous blue ice.



Milford Sound/Fiordland


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Milford Sound is regarded as New Zealand's most spectacular natural wonder. It's a big call from a country with so much in the way of natural beauty. Nestled in the Fiordland region, this is a place where rolling green mountains drop dramatically into the dark blue waters of the fiords. It's this region that makes you understand why New Zealand was chosen as the home of Middle Earth. Try to see this place via cruise for the best views.


Mount Taranaki/Egmont National Park


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Inside Egmont National Park is Mount Taranaki one of the most visually stunning mountains in the country. You'll probably know it from the pictures showcasing a perfect reflection of the mountain in the mirror-like lake below.


Hokitika Gorge

This stunning blue body of water is a favourite for adventure seekers. There are more than enough hiking trails to satisfy any nature lover. Then there's the kayaking and rafting for those that like excitement.




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On the North Island in Rotorua is thermal wonderland Wai-O-Tapu. With a geothermal park and mud pools, this is a place that shows off the impacts of volcanoes on the surrounding landscape.


Nelson Tasman

Nelson Tasman makes the list because it's one of the prettiest towns in the country. Old heritage buildings meet a burgeoning art scene meets stunning coastlines. This place has a little bit of everything.




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Famous for the smooth, spherical boulders on the beach, no sight-seeing trip to the South Island is complete without a look into at this coastal wonder.


The Bay of Islands


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This subtropical, micro region is the place for lovers of beaches and water sports. North of Auckland, this place is a perfect summer retreat. Catch marine life in the bay, head on a cruise, try a hand at kayaking or just relax on the sand.

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