5 Of the Best Tourist Destinations In New Zealand
Kia ora (hello)! If you’re reading this, you’re traveling to, or at least thinking about traveling to, Aotearoa, otherwise known as New Zealand.
The land of the long white cloud has been a bucket-list destination for travelers worldwide. Located in the South Pacific, it might take a while for a plane to reach New Zealand, but once you’re there, you’re in for a treat.
From the balmy warm subtropical far north to the colder and more rugged far south, New Zealand’s climate and activities available are as diverse as the country itself. Expect alpine areas, jagged fjords, white-sand beaches, bustling cities, breathtaking scenery, and much more.
So which of New Zealand’s tourist destinations should be on your must-visit list? Let’s take a look:
New Zealand’s North Island is the nation’s most populous, and it’s also home to the two biggest cities: Auckland, located near the top of the country, and the nation’s capital, Wellington, which is found at the very bottom.
The Wellington to Picton Ferry or a Wellington to Nelson Flight
Taking roughly three to four hours to make the Cook Straight crossing, the ferry carries you through the Marlborough Sounds with 1,500 km of coastline, stunning bays, and mountains. Grab a Speights beer, known as the ‘pride of the South,’ and enjoy the scenery as you sail.
In a rush? Take the sights of the Sounds and view the Abel Tasman National Park from the air on a 30-minute flight between Wellington and Nelson.
Perched on a hill overlooking the harbor city, Auckland Museum is the country’s most delicate and boasts the world’s most extensive collection of Māori and Pasifika art and treasures. View intricate waka (Māori canoes) carved from wood, discover how NZ’s indigenous peoples lived in traditional pa, and learn more about the fierce battles between European colonizers and Māori.
The Poor Knights
Located north of Auckland in the Bay of Islands, the Poor Knights are a collection of small offshore islands and one of the country’s best diving and snorkeling spots. Twenty-three kilometers off the shore of the Tutukaka coast, the Poor Knights, are unique because the warm East Australian current flows through here. Expect the unexpected, such as seeing a New Zealand fur seal in the same waters as a green turtle.
Whether scuba diving or snorkeling, the Poor Knights are bound to impress.
The South Island
Rugged, mountainous regions, winding bush roads, and wild wind-battered coastlines characterize the South Island. There are the big well-known tourist attractions here: the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, the Remarkables, Queenstown’s skiing, but what about the lesser known attractions?
Here are our picks:
Watching the Penguins In Oamaru
NZ is home to several species of penguin, you’ll find them in the South mostly, but they occasionally venture north. Police were recently tasked with escorting penguins from Wellington’s train station!
In Oamaru, you have the unique opportunity to watch the little blue penguins come in from the ocean during the breeding season. Take a seat on the bank and watch these little guys’ exploits as they make their way through the waves and over the rocks. Walk the trails around Oamaru, and you might also spot rare Tawaki, Fiordland crested penguins.
New Zealand’s third-largest island is located 30 km south of the very bottom of the South Island. Getting there seems straightforward but isn’t for the faint of heart because crossing the dangerous Foveaux Strait can be a hair-raising experience!
Once safely ashore, you’ll find a laid-back community of locals who are often happy to regale tourists with yarns in the pub. The island is unspoiled, tranquil, and often feels like a simpler world.
What You Need to Pack for New Zealand
Apart from your essential travel go-to’s, there are a few items you’ll want for your trip to the
● Regarding tech necessities, remember that NZ outlets differ from the UK, US, and Europe.
● Good walking shoes; much of the best of NZ is accessible only by foot, so you’ll want an excellent pair of walking shoes. Your standard pair of sneakers will only get you so far, so consider investing in a dedicated pair of hiking boots.
● Clothes for all seasons, NZ’s climate is somewhat unpredictable. Expect four seasons in one day and pack accordingly. Light layers that offer plenty of warmth are best. Alternatively, pick up some 100% Merino-base layers once you land.