10 Top Tourist Attractions in New Zealand

Martina Rosado
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Coromandel Peninsula

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is a National Park in New Zealand. It is the largest national park in New Zealand.

It covers a total area of 1,366 km2 (531,743 acres). The park is located 80 km (50 mi) north of the city of Nelson at the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand.

The park is named after the explorer Abel Tasman, who was the first European to see it.

In particular it is named after Tasman’s first trip in 1642, in which he sighted the south-east tip of the South Island and sailed along the shore to create the world’s first mapped coastline. The park is covered in native bush, interspersed with exotic tree plantations established by the nineteenth century timber trade.

Abel Tasman National Park protects a portion of the central and northern parts of the Tasman mountains, a group of ridges and hills on the South Island of New Zealand.

It is the largest national park in New Zealand.

Sky Tower

The Sky Tower at Auckland City is actually a combination of three buildings: the elevator to the observation deck is in a glass dome. It houses nine dining levels with 360-degree views of the city and the harbor.

The Ultima Thule restaurant is the highest one at 279 meters (908.3feet). The observation deck has a glass floor so you can take in the boiling 114 degree Fahrenheit (46.6degreec) deep rock on the seabed below.

At the top of the tower, a glass-walled observatory offers the best views of the city. Some of the best footage of the Sky Tower was used in The Lord of the Rings.

The Sky Tower also has the world’s highest indoor skydiving facility. You can jump out of an airplane with a pair of wings and a helmet in the Sky Tower. Jumping is apparently exhilarating enough that you might request to do it again.

Napier Art Deco

Napier is the capital of Hawke's Bay and it has over 200 buildings designated as Art Deco. When you visit the central business district, take time to visit the Napier Art Deco Centre, which is located on the banks of the Napier foreshore.

The center houses both historical and contemporary art and historical artifacts. You will not want to miss the Hawke's Bay Historical Museum, which houses a rare collection of Chinese and Japanese ceramics and graphic art.

You can get a photo op in the Napier Sky Tower with an observatory overlooking the city and surrounding vineyards.

The Wairau Canopy tour is a fun way to get an aerial view of Napier. The skywalk is a suspended 790 ft/240 m walk over the top of the tukau tree canopy, 260 ft/80 m above the ground. The canopy walk runs from the Napier city center to the Larnach Castle.

If you are into wine, the Brightwater cellar door is a great place to savor some Hawke’s Bay wine.

Napier Art Deco Tour

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Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a small coastal town in New Zealand. A great place to visit, Kaikoura is known for its whales and blue penguins, as well as the rare and unusual penguin species that are found there. Whether you are visiting in the winter season or the summer months, you will likely get to witness both species in the marine wildlife of Kaikoura. Other types of wildlife that you will find in Kaikoura include seals and sea lions.

Maui Dive and Travel is a great source of information for you if you are interested in diving in Kaikoura. However, you may wish to opt for a tour boat instead. It is an excellent way to get a good view of the whales in their natural habitat, as well as the marine wildlife in the area.

Some tours include a walk along the beach where there is another good chance of seeing blue penguins, if you arrive in the day.

The Whale Centre and the Kaikoura Center, which are both located in Kaikoura, are an excellent source of information on whale behavior and feeding, how to safely watch the whales, and on all the usual marine wildlife that you can expect to find in the area. The Whale Centre also includes the Blue Penguin colony, which is another great place to observe blue penguins in their natural habitat.

Franz Josef Glacier

The Franz Josef Glacier, in the South Island, is the largest glacier in the world outside of the polar regions.

With a glacier the size of Iceland stretching out underneath, it’s easy to see why this place is the most visited tourist attraction in New Zealand.

The glacier hosts hectares of ice caves and can only be thoroughly explored when the ice is at least a meter thick. The exact location of the cave is not known until the very last minute, which ensures that visitors will not be disappointed by the lack of icecream shops.

There are no restrictions on wedding photography at the glacier, so your wedding photos will be guaranteed to have a surreal, glacier-based setting in them.

Wai-o-tapu

Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a pool of hot water fed by geological heat that is over 180 degrees centigrade. The hot water is thought to have healing health properties and has been prescribed by medical professionals in the past.

Dating back to pre-European Maori settlement, the pools were used for ceremonial cleansing rituals and healing by the local Tūhoe people of the Waikato.

With an average temperature of around 50 degrees centigrade, the pools are warm and inviting. The best way to experience the thermal pools is by taking a guided tour through the region.

Even if you are not interested in the water, it is worth your time to take a tour of the area, as it provides an insight into New Zealand history and culture.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing

This 8.2 kilometer hike around Mount Ngauruhoe provides a panoramic view of Mount Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe as well as the entire Tongariro National Park. This hike is located on the North Island and is one of the most popular walking spots in the area.

If you are short on time and don’t have the ability to drag equipment up a mountain, then you should give this walk a shot. As far as a tourist attraction goes, this one is pretty low on the scale. It’s not the biggest or the most beautiful hike, but if you are trying to get a feel for the area while on vacation, you should try it.

New Zealand has some incredible hikes that you have to make time for when you are visiting. This is one of the more popular hikes because it is located close to where most visitors stay. It’s a good place to start off your tour of the mountains, valleys, and lakes in this region.

Best time to go: June to December

Bay of Islands

This small area, located north of the city of Auckland in the North Island, is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. It features the dramatic volcanic scenery of Cape Brett and the white sand beaches of Waipu Cove and Abell Point.

Captain Cook’s Bay, famed for its beautiful turquoise waters and white sand beach, was a popular place for European and American travelers in the late 1800s.

Bay of Islands Tourist Attractions:

  • Cape Brett
  • Bay of Islands White Sand Beaches
  • Waipu Beach
  • Abell Point
  • Bay of Islands Hiking Trails
  • Te Teko Falls
  • Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and definitely one of my top tourist attractions (and the country!) in New Zealand.

The milford sound is a fjord, a crevasse that cuts into the land, from the fourth longest in the world, the largest non-postglacial valley in the country.

At the mouth are two glaciers that constantly push into the fjord, slowly developing the striking landscapes around it.

Milford sound has many scenic points, almost as if every corner is a view. You can enjoy it with an aerial cableway, at the road, in a kayak or in a boat.

Maybe you will prefer the comfort of the ride on the famous Milford express train, called the "sound express". It takes about 47 minutes to get to Milford sound from Queenstown. For such a short time, it will be enough to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and know the history of this place.

You will have many opportunities to take pictures of the famous Fiordland national park, that you will not want to miss.