Now that most of the population is vaccinated and we’re adapting new policies on COVID-19, there might be comfort in knowing we can travel nationally this summer. Perhaps, you’ve lived your whole life here and you’ve never visited some of these top attractions. So, now is the perfect time. Gather your friends or family and head on authentic thrilling New Zealand experiences at these 16 unforgettable destinations.
1. Rotorua Mud Pools
Rotorua is an epic geothermal utopia with mud pools, natural hot springs, majestic forests and volcanic lakes. You can’t go to this place without experiencing one of nature’s greatest creations – the bubbling mud pools at Hells Gate. Feel all your anxieties melt away as you cover yourself in mud and indulge in this therapeutic insta-worthy mud bath.
📍 Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand
2. The Wanaka Tree
This famous willow tree is another one of the best New Zealand experiences. Photographers flock to this tree all year around to get the perfect shot day or night. In 2020, it was sadly attacked with a saw but still stands as beautiful as ever symbolising hope and endurance. With the pretty backdrop of the Southern Alps, you are sure to capture an unforgettable and picturesque moment.
📍 Roys Bay, 59 Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand
3. Abel Tasman National Park
This beautiful wilderness reserve boasts a long trail winding over beaches and ridges between Marahau and Wainui. It resembles a tropical paradise where you can catch seals, little blue penguins, dolphins and more. Surely an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. If you are feeling extra brave, opt to camp under the stars on the pristine coastline.
📍 Tasman District, Nelson, New Zealand
4. Cathedral Cove
This naturally formed archway is one of the most famous spots to visit in Hahei in the Coromandel. It is so picturesque that even The Chronicles Of Narnia was filmed here. To see the coastline from a different angle, opt for a jaw-dropping adventure by kayaking in the shallow waters.
📍 Hahei, the Coromandel, New Zealand
5. Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is a natural hot springs beach just 10 minutes drive from Cathedral Cove. For an unbeatable moment, dig yourself a thermal bath and relax in the natural hot springs. Remember to visit two hours before low-tide for the greatest unforgettable experience. Indeed, the allure of the pristine hot springs has attracted people from across the globe.
📍 Hot Water Beach, The Coromandel, New Zealand
6. Glacier Hiking
There are many glaciers around New Zealand that offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Though, it is not possible to walk the full way up, you must go by helicopter. Therefore, if you have some extra cash, you could take a guided heli-hike via Mt Cook Village to the Tasman Glacier, Fox Glacier and Franz Josef. The best one is arguably the Tasman Glacier because it offers sensational views.
📍 Various Locations
7. Bay Of Islands
This beautiful spot has gorgeous beaches, cute towns and endless fun activities for travellers. Delight in delicious local eateries, classic boat trips, camping adventures or scenic hikes. You can even whale watch or swim with dolphins. This is an excellent place for outdoor enthusiasts looking for fun adventures.
📍 Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand
8. Wine Tasting Waiheke Island
If you find yourself in Auckland, be sure to take the short ferry to Waiheke Island for a fabulous day of views and wine tasting trails. Opt to zipline across the native bush for some extra fun then head down to one of the incredible vineyards to indulge on some tasty food and wine. Mudbrick Vineyards is a favourite to visit.
📍 Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
9. Observe The Southern Lights
The Aurora Australis is a spectacular display that lights up the sky in pink and greens in the deepest southern parts of New Zealand. Pick a remote location to camp like Lake Tekapo, The Caitlins or Stewart Island in order to experience the most phenomenal moments.
📍 Various Locations, South Island, New Zealand
10. International Dark Sky Reserve
See millions of awe-inspiring stars by visiting the International Dark Sky Reserve. This is one of eight around the globe. Another Lake Tekapo adventure where stargazer enthusiasts will be amazed at the constellations including the Southern Cross, the Milky Way and hypnotizing clouds. Certainly, it makes one of the best New Zealand experiences and is totally romantic for lovers looking for an escape.
📍 MacKenzie Region, New Zealand
11. Waimangu Volcanic Valley
Embark on a magical adventure when you visit Waimangu which is home to the world famous Pink and White Terraces and the world’s youngest geothermal system. It was created in 1996 when Mt. Tarawera erupted. With a unique history, spectacular plant life and boasting the world´s largest natural hot springs in a protected surrounding…you won’t be bored. Be sure to stop by the highlight Inferno Crater Lake with dazzling turquoise waters.
📍 Rotorua, New Zealand
12. Mount Taranaki
The snow-capped cone of Mount Taranaki lures visitors from around the world for one of the most breathtaking hikes in New Zealand. Watch in awe as this dormant volcano reflects off the water perfectly. It makes one of the most unforgettable New Zealand experiences, and offers iconic instagrammable moments.
📍 Egmont National Park, North Island, New Zealand
The Hobbiton Movie Set another one of the most incredible New Zealand experiences. Explore Alexander Family Sheep Farm, the 12 acre set of the Hobbit Holes and learn how the movies were made. For tickets, visit The Hobbiton Tours website.
📍 501 Buckland Road, Matamata 3472, New Zealand
14. Tongariro National Park
Feel like you have stepped onto Mars in Tongariro National Park which is a dual UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore three volcanic peaks of Mount Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe. It is a challenging hike that you need to commit time to but offers an unforgettable experience.
📍 Manawatu-Wanganui 4691, New Zealand
15. Rere Rockslide
This is an epic waterfall slide adventure that is only a 30 minute drive from Gisborne. Grab a bodyboard, float or anything else and slide down into the water below. Excitingly, it is totally free of charge and great fun for both kids and adults. Be sure to visit the enchanting Rere Falls on the way for some extra excitement.
📍 Wharekopae Road, Ngatapa 4072, New Zealand
16. Roys Peak Hike
This hike guarantees majestic views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring and the surrounding peaks. Though, it is quite difficult to climb as it is very steep. Nevertheless, if you are up for the challenge, you´ll be satisfied when you reach the top and snap a legendary picture high above the sky.
📍 Glendhu Bay 9382, New Zealand