Things to Do in New Zealand: Discover the best of New Zealand with our top picks for things to do. From breathtaking natural landscapes to thrilling adventures, and rich cultural experiences to eco-tourism and conservation, there’s something for everyone. Explore Maori heritage, indulge in marine adventures, immerse yourself in Middle-earth, and more. Plan your ultimate New Zealand adventure today!
Things to Love in New Zealand
New Zealand is a paradise for adventure seekers, nature lovers, and those looking to immerse themselves in unique cultural experiences. From breathtaking landscapes to thrilling outdoor activities, there are plenty of things to do in New Zealand that will leave you awe-inspired and longing for more. Here are some top recommendations:
Explore the Fiordland National Park:
Located in the southwest corner of the South Island, Fiordland National Park is known for its dramatic fiords, towering peaks, and pristine wilderness. Take a cruise through Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, hike the famous Milford Track, or simply immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring scenery of this World Heritage site.
Go on an adrenaline-pumping adventure in Queenstown:
Known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown offers a wide range of thrilling activities. Bungee jumps off the iconic Kawarau Bridge, go skydiving, take a thrilling jet boat ride, or go mountain biking in the surrounding hills. There’s something for every adrenaline junkie here.
Experience Maori culture in Rotorua:
Rotorua is famous for its geothermal wonders and Maori culture. Visit Te Puia, a Maori cultural center, to learn about Maori history, traditions, and arts. Experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast), see bubbling mud pools and geysers, and relax in natural hot springs.
Explore the stunning beaches of the Bay of Islands:
Located in the North Island, the Bay of Islands is a haven of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and picturesque islands. Go sailing, kayaking, or take a cruise to spot dolphins and whales. Explore historic sites like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, and learn about New Zealand’s history.
Hike in the Southern Alps:
The Southern Alps are a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook. Hike on the Hooker Valley Track, explore glacier-carved valleys, and marvel at the stunning alpine scenery.
Visit the unique glowworm caves:
Waitomo Glowworm Caves in the North Island is a must-visit attraction. Take a boat ride through the caves and be mesmerized by the thousands of tiny glowworms illuminating the darkness like stars. It’s a magical experience that you won’t forget.
Go wine tasting in Marlborough:
New Zealand is known for its world-class wines, and Marlborough is the country’s largest wine region. Take a wine tour, sample some of the region’s famous Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoy the picturesque vineyards and stunning landscapes.
Enjoy outdoor activities in Abel Tasman National Park:
Located in the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and lush coastal forests. Go kayaking, hiking, or take a scenic cruise along the coastline to explore its natural beauty.
Take a scenic train journey:
New Zealand is home to some of the most scenic train journeys in the world. Take the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, passing through stunning alpine landscapes, or the Coastal Pacific train from Picton to Christchurch, winding along the picturesque coastline.
Relax in hot springs:
New Zealand is dotted with natural hot springs, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visit the geothermal town of Hanmer Springs, famous for its thermal pools and spa treatments, or soak in the hot pools of Lake Tekapo and enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Alps.
Things to Do in New Zealand
These are just a few of the many things to do and explore in New Zealand. With its breathtaking landscapes, thrilling adventures, unique culture, and warm hospitality, New Zealand offers an abundance of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or simply seeking relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this stunning country.
When planning your trip to New Zealand, it’s important to consider the best time to visit to make the most of your experience. The country’s weather can vary greatly depending on the season and region, so it’s essential to research and plan accordingly. The summer months of December to February are the warmest and busiest, with longer days and plenty of outdoor activities available. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) offer mild weather, colorful landscapes, and fewer crowds, making them great times to visit as well. Winter (June to August) is the perfect time for snow sports enthusiasts to hit the slopes in the South Island.
To travel to New Zealand, international visitors will need a valid passport and may require a visa, depending on their country of origin. It’s important to check the current entry requirements and regulations before you travel. Flights to New Zealand are available from major international airports around the world, with direct flights to Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch being the most common entry points. Once in New Zealand, there are various options for transportation, including domestic flights, rental cars, buses, and trains, depending on your preferences and itinerary.
With the practicalities sorted, here are some popular things to do in New Zealand:
New Zealand is famous for its thrilling adventure sports. Bungee jumping, skydiving, ziplining, and white-water rafting are just a few of the adrenaline-pumping activities you can enjoy. Queenstown, Rotorua, and Taupo are popular destinations for adventure sports.
Hiking and outdoor activities:
With its diverse landscapes, New Zealand offers endless opportunities for hiking, trekking, and other outdoor activities. From the iconic Milford Track to the stunning Tongariro Alpine Crossing, there are hikes for all levels of fitness and experience. You can also go mountain biking, horseback riding, or explore national parks for breathtaking scenery and unique flora and fauna.
Maori culture and heritage:
New Zealand has a rich Maori heritage, and immersing yourself in Maori culture is a unique and enriching experience. Visit Maori cultural centers, learn about their history, customs, and arts, and witness traditional performances, including the haka, a traditional Maori dance.
New Zealand is home to unique wildlife, including the iconic kiwi bird, fur seals, dolphins, whales, and penguins. Take a wildlife tour, go bird watching, or take a boat cruise to spot these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.
Scenic drives and landscapes:
New Zealand’s landscapes are nothing short of spectacular, and exploring them by road is a must-do. Take a scenic drive along the stunning coastal roads, winding mountain passes, or through picturesque countryside, and stop at viewpoints, waterfalls, and photo-worthy spots along the way.
Beaches and water activities:
With its long coastline, New Zealand offers plenty of opportunities for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Enjoy the golden sand beaches of the Bay of Islands, go surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, or diving in the clear waters, or simply relax and soak up the sun.
Food and wine:
New Zealand is renowned for its fresh, high-quality produce, and indulging in local cuisine and wine is a must. Try delicious seafood, lamb, and dairy products, and sample the world-class wines from regions like Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, and Central Otago.
New Zealand is known for its geothermal wonders, with hot springs, geysers, and mud pools scattered across the country. Visit places like Rotorua and Taupo to witness the unique geothermal activity up close, including the famous Pohutu Geyser and the colorful Champagne Pool. You can also enjoy natural hot pools and thermal spas for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Apart from Maori culture, New Zealand has a diverse cultural scene with influences from various communities around the world. Explore the vibrant cities of Auckland and Wellington, visit art galleries, museums, and theaters, and attend cultural festivals and events to get a taste of the local arts, music, and culinary scene.
Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film locations:
New Zealand served as the breathtaking backdrop for the popular Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series. Fans of these epic fantasy films can take guided tours to visit the actual shooting locations, such as Hobbiton in Matamata, and immerse themselves in the fantasy world of Middle-earth.
With its pristine waters, New Zealand offers fantastic opportunities for marine adventures. Go on a whale-watching tour to spot majestic whales, swim with dolphins, or take a boat cruise to explore the beautiful coastal scenery and marine life, including seals, penguins, and seabirds.
Eco-tourism and conservation:
New Zealand is known for its commitment to conservation and sustainability, and you can be part of this by engaging in eco-tourism activities. Take a guided tour to learn about the country’s unique flora and fauna, participate in conservation projects, or visit eco-sanctuaries like Zealandia in Wellington to see native wildlife up close.
Skiing and snowboarding:
During the winter months, the South Island of New Zealand turns into a winter wonderland, offering excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. Head to popular ski resorts like Queenstown, Wanaka, or Mt. Hutt, and enjoy the thrill of snow sports in stunning alpine landscapes.
Relaxation and wellness:
New Zealand is also a perfect destination for relaxation and wellness activities. Unwind in natural hot springs, indulge in spa treatments using local products like Manuka honey, or practice yoga and meditation in serene surroundings to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
Stargazing and astronomy:
New Zealand has some of the clearest and darkest skies in the world, making it an ideal destination for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts. Join a guided stargazing tour, visit an observatory, or simply lay back and enjoy the breathtaking night sky, including the stunning Southern Cross and the Milky Way.
New Zealand offers a plethora of experiences for travelers, from thrilling adventures to unique cultural encounters and breathtaking natural landscapes. With its warm and welcoming people, rich Maori heritage, and commitment to conservation, New Zealand is truly a destination like no other. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this beautiful island nation!