New Zealand has beautiful places to discover, but above all, fun or sporting activities to do. Unfortunately, I could not test everything; I regret somewhat not having been able to do a parachute or bungee jump in the country or remember that bungee jumping was born!
There is no shortage of thrill-seekers in this country, but we will mainly talk about what to do and see in New Zealand.
Some tips for visiting New Zealand
A few tips to help you if you decide to visit New Zealand. After going through the dos and see things in New Zealand, let’s move on to the practical side. If you would like to know more, I invite you to read my article on preparing a New Zealand road trip.
We will try to answer three questions that will help you prepare for your trip to New Zealand.
When to visit New Zealand?
The best time to visit New Zealand is undoubtedly summer (in New Zealand), i.e., winter at home. From December to February, the period will be the best, even if it can extend from November to March see April.
How do I visit New Zealand?
New Zealand is a relatively large country with a multitude of things to see. The easiest way to visit New Zealand is to rent vans or motorhomes. This travel mode will allow you to move around with ease and discover the country at your own pace. There are many places to spend the night in your van or motorhome in New Zealand. For your vehicle’s choice, do not hesitate to compare the different models that can exist (there are many).
How long will it take to visit New Zealand?
It all depends on your itinerary, the number of things you want to see in New Zealand. The country is divided into two islands, two weeks to visit an island can be a reasonable duration. 3 to 4 weeks for both islands. I advise 12 weeks of travel. Two weeks is the minimum. It is possible to opt for journeys via domestic flights to reach the main places to see, but this will take away the real road trip’s undeniable charm in New Zealand.
Visit Hobbiton, a must-do in New Zealand.
New Zealand says, “Lord of the Rings.” It’s impossible to visit New Zealand without discovering some of the trilogy’s mythical filming locations. Visiting Hobbiton will undoubtedly be the number one activity to do in New Zealand for all the Lord of the Rings trilogy fans. This Hobbit village that was the setting for the trilogy filming was dismantled after the filming of it. It was rebuilt for the new trilogy: The Hobbit and left to be visited by fans.
A pleasant visit, but do not expect to walk alone in the village since it is visited exclusively via guided tours. Enjoy a 2-hour stay with a drink at the famous Green Dragon Inn.
Discover Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park
Geothermal parks are a must-see in New Zealand, and it is most famous being the Wai-O-TapuGeothermal Park. Located near Rotorua’s town on the North Island, in one of the country’s most geothermally active areas, Wai-O-Tapu Park is famous for its “Champagne Pool,” a bubbling pool of sparkling water in striking colors. This swimming pool has recently been the cover of a renowned travel guide.
This park has many lakes and geysers, all more surprising than the others.
Other geothermal parks are worth looking at, such as Waimangu Geothermal Park, not far from Wai-O-Tapu, which offers incredible landscapes of smoking lakes and swimming pools with stunning color.
If you’re taking a tour of this area, stop at Kerosene Creek, a river with warm water that makes you swim.
A cruise to meet the dolphins of the Bay of Islands
Visiting New Zealand also means discovering its flora and fauna, very rich in places, and often unique in the world. Indeed, the country is home to many marine mammals such as whales, orcas, seals, and dolphins.
When I arrived in New Zealand, I quickly wanted to discover these mammals. Being in the Northland region, north of Auckland, I decided to take a cruise to meet the Bay Islands’ dolphins, the Bay of Islands. An exceptional place in New Zealand with no less than 140 islands, most of which are uninhabited.
This region’s climate is exceptionally mild, offering sandy beaches much appreciated by the people of Auckland.
The marine fauna is very present because it is in this place that lives many dolphins, seals but it is also the place of passage of migrating whales.
An unforgettable memory for me to see all these dolphins swimming around us. Small disappointment, no whale insight at this time of year.
Take a walk in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
To answer the question: “What to do in New Zealand?” it is imperative that I tell you about the famous Glowworm Caves. For those unfamiliar with English, “glowworm” means “glowworm” and “cave” means “cave.” You will have understood it is indeed caves of shiny worms that I will talk to you about now. These shiny worms like to live in total darkness. It lights up in the dark to attract insects that venture around to make their meal.
The shiny worms don’t just live in New Zealand. You’re going to tell me you can even find them in France. That’s true, but in New Zealand, in these caves, they have the distinction of being millions! The entire ceiling of the cave is covered, and the spectacle is grandiose.
The Waitomo Caves are the most famous in New Zealand. Admission is paid, but this has the advantage of walking the cave dry, on a landscaped path, enjoying a small boat ride, and explanations from a guide.
What to see in New Zealand: Milford Sound
It’s time for me to tell you about one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary landscapes, a place I’ll rank as the number one thing to see when visiting New Zealand as the scenery of this place is stunning: Milford Sound.
Milford Sound is none other than one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. These dimensions are impressive, with a peak that peaks at nearly 1700 meters.
Skiing in Tongariro National Park: an unforgettable thing to do in New Zealand
Now let’s talk about one of New Zealand’s oldest national parks. His visit is a must. This park is known around the world in many ways. First of all, it is one of the most beautiful New Zealand with its three volcanoes, its lakes with unique colors and these plains.
The number activity of the park is well on its day hike: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. A 19 km hike that will take you to the most beautiful places in the park.
But we’re not going to talk about hiking. We’re going to talk about skiing. Indeed I was lucky at the beginning of my stay in New Zealand to go to the national park at the end of winter. Surprise, its highest volcano, Mount Ruapehu, was still snowy. On this volcano, which rises to 2,800 meters, was built a ski resort.
So it’s an incredible experience that I was able to experience in this national park: skiing on a volcano in extraordinary landscapes—an original way to visit New Zealand.
I was going to forget! This place was used for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Indeed, one of the three volcanoes of the park, Mount Ngauruhoe, is none other than the mountain of destiny!
Skiing on a volcano
Kayaking Abel Tasman, a must-have in New Zealand
Let’s move on to the South Island to another famous national park, Abel Tasman National Park. It is renowned for its white sandy shores and crystal clear water. The park’s most famous hike is the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, a 3 to 5-day trek through the park’s dense forest to discover many small beaches all prettier than the other.
This hike can be done in two different ways. It is customary to kayak on the first day or discover the park, not on foot but by kayak, to reach some hidden beaches inaccessible from the hiking path.
Walking on the glaciers of the West Coast
Let’s stay on New Zealand’s South Island for a few more moments for one of the island’s must-see spots: the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
On the west coast of the South Island are two low-lying glaciers easily accessible via a short hike, but the number one attraction in this region is the helicopter flyover of the glaciers and then the walk of these glaciers.
Take a hot water bath at Hot Water Beach and discover Cathedral Cove.
Let’s now return to the North Island, in the Coromandel region in the island’s north-east. This area is famous for its beaches, including Cathedral Cove, one of the most beautiful and renowned in New Zealand. Indeed, on this beach, one of the scenes of the second part of the trilogy of “World of Narnia” was shot. A place to see without hesitation.
This beach is not far from another shore, also very famous and very touristy: Hot Water Beach.
This beach has the distinction of being located above a hot spring. It is customary to dig a hole with a shovel, a few tens of centimeters, to access the beach’s hot water. This is truly one thing to do in New Zealand, a must-see on any road trip in New Zealand.
Digging a hole on Hot Water Beach
Climb to the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower
Another must-see activity in New Zealand is to climb to the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower.
The tallest in the Southern Hemisphere offers stunning views of Auckland and its bay from the top.
At the top of this tower are a café, a restaurant, and an observation platform.
Queenstown, a paradise for thrill-seekers
Let’s stay in the theme of thrills with Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world. Before we review the countless things to do in Queenstown, let me tell you a few words about this city. It is merely one of the most exotic cities in New Zealand, nestled between the Southern Alps’ mountains and bordered by Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown looks like an alpine resort.
Let’s move on to the countless activities to be done in and around Queenstown. First of all, its mountains surrounding the city will allow you, during the winter, to enjoy the snow with its ski resorts. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, the choice is vast.
Queenstown is known for its bungee jumping, skydiving, and paragliding spots. The city is a new Zealand must-see!