I’ve teamed up with eight awesome female travel bloggers from around the world to reveal our favourite places in New Zealand, and why they should totally be on your travel itinerary when coming here too.
Mount Cook/Aoraki is stunning and is easily my favourite place in Kiwiland. My husband and I visited there hoping to hike up to the Mueller hut, but when we arrived the mountains were hiding behind clouds.
We decided to give it a go anyway, and luckily the clouds parted at just the right moment to reward us with spectacular scenery of the surrounding glaciers and mountains.
The thunder-like sound of glaciers breaking and cascading down the cliffs was also awe-inspiring! It must be truly epic to stay in that hut above the clouds!
We loved the area so much that we woke up at 5:30 am(!) to hike around the popular (and easy) Hooker Valley Track, as well as a few other mini-walks. Even if you’re not a big hiker, this was a fantastic place to explore. Our time there was just so perfect! I really hope we can go back.
Despite the beautiful scenery of New Zealand’s South Island, nothing quite compares to Wellington for me. Living there lead me to truly fall in love with the coolest little capital in the world, which provides the perfect city break destination.
You can find all of your favourite tourist activities such as the Te Papa museum and the Cable Car but it’s the lifestyle that really makes a difference.
Cute, quirky streets lined with cafes, bars and restaurants fill the city, with something new at every turn. A mecca for coffee lovers, Wellington is home to several independent producers as well as countless craft breweries and local produce stores.
If that doesn’t sound quite “New Zealandy” enough for you, take a hike up Mount Victoria (or any of the numerous other mountains) for great views of the harbour, or, if you prefer something a little flatter, go on a seal hunt down by Red Rocks. It’s the perfect mix of city life and outdoor adventure. What more could you want?!
On the south-west coast on the South Island of New Zealand lies the gorgeous gem known as Milford Sound. Not only is it the eighth wonder of the world, but also part of a World Heritage Site (Fiordland National Park), and rightfully so! Cruising through the Milford Sound is like floating through a sliver of heaven.
Impressive and endless waterfalls pound down to the waters with all their power, snow-capped mountains adorn the horizon, and deep, lush rainforests align the beautiful blue waters. In the mornings, the foggy scenes can make one feel like they are floating through a scene from Avatar.
One of the best ways to experience and fully appreciate the Milford Sound is through an overnight cruise. Many cruises include activities such as kayaking, hiking through the Milford Track, and offer some of the best opportunities to see wildlife. There are many claims that the Milford Track is the world’s most beautiful hike. The track weaves through Milford Sound in-between the dense trees and rare, ancient fauna. In fact, there are over 700 different species of plants specific to Fiordland!
The Milford Sound is also home to a spectacular range of wildlife. There are many species of dolphins including bottlenose, dusky, and hectors. Seals may even be spotted taking in some sun on the rocks on an early morning. If you are lucky, you may have a chance of seeing Fiordland crested penguins or little blue penguins!
From the moment that I first landed in the Queenstown airport, I knew that it would become one of my favourite places in New Zealand. There are few airports in the world with such a stunning view, welcoming you upon landing.
Another reason I fell in love with this city is because of their spirit of adventure. In the summer you’ll find paragliders descending from the mountains around you, in the winter you can swap them for skiers and snowboarders. All seasons host bungy jumping, as well as some tamer activities like zip lining, various off-road expeditions, and a mountainside luge track.
Queenstown is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, perfect for when you’re ready to unwind. The city lies on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, and there are mountains literally everywhere you look. In the winter it is easy to find a fireplace to sit next to so you can take in the views, and in the summer there are plenty of outdoor spaces to do the same.
If you’re ready to delve deeper into the scenery around you, Queenstown is a great host for day trips to Doubtful Sound, Mt. Aspiring National Park and some Middle Earth landscapes for the Lord of the Rings fans out there. There’s something for everyone in this exciting city, and you will never run out of things to do.
The town of Taupo in New Zealand is one of the most exciting and diverse locations in the North Island. This area is an adventure traveller’s wonderland!
For those who love to spend time near the water, Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in New Zealand. In fact, it is almost the size of Singapore, and many people come to the lake to enjoy kayaking and sailing. You can even take a kayak or boat out to go see the famous Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. It is also a very popular fishing lake.
Surrounding the lake, travellers can find prime rock climbing, hiking and excellent mountain biking trails. A short distance away from Lake Taupo one can find beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Huka Falls, and even hot springs.
You are also a short drive to the popular Alpine Crossing Trek in Tongariro. However you decide to enjoy your time at Taupo, you are bound to find an adventure and fall in love with all that it has to offer. So make sure to put Taupo on your New Zealand North Island Itinerary, it’s a town you aren’t soon to forget!
By Allison of She Dreams of Alpine
Today, the island offers a short but steep hiking trail up to a spectacular view, a natural swimming pool, and a snorkel trail. The island is a national park and has one house for the caretakers that live on the island. The trail runs up to a viewing platform that offers a panoramic view over Motuarohia and the neighbouring islands.
At night you can search the underbrush for kiwi birds, or on a clear night enjoy a stunning view of the Milky Way. There are several boats that provide day trips out to Motuarohia, or you can charter a sailboat out of Opua to get there yourself. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful stops we made in New Zealand.
We hit the winding dirt road into the Moke Lake campsite just as the sky was turning dark. After an almost 12 hour day of driving through New Zealand’s South Island, my husband, Joe, and I were exhausted. In fact, we almost didn’t make it here, but gave up and stopped instead in nearby Queenstown. However, Moke Lake was one place we had been told not to miss on our road trip. So we carefully traced the narrow road through farms, along another lake, and watched as it spit us out into the campsite.
The site was tucked into the side of Moke Lake, surrounded on all sides by mountains that opened up into the night sky above us. It was breathtaking. Only a few other campers had made the trip, although we watched, amused, as a movie was shot on the other side. It was hard to feel disturbed by it, the place was a real-life movie set. As night fell in its entirety, the stars emerged in the way that they only can when there is absolutely no light around.
We slept soundly and emerged from our camper to watch the sun light up the mountains in the early morning. It was not only one of our favourite stops in New Zealand, but the most beautiful campsite we’ve ever stayed at in the world.
By Alicia of Miles Less Travelled
I loved the Poor Knights Islands. We started with a scenic boat ride along the beautiful cliffs to reach Riko Riko Cave, the largest sea cave in the world. The cave hosts many sponges that clean the water and offer excellent visibility for snorkellers and scuba divers.
I was particularly fascinated by the beautiful kelp forest, and the colours on the wall were mesmerising. We then went to the Northern Arch on the other side, an area listed in Jacques Cousteau’s favourite dive site. He’s the one who invented scuba diving, and he explored crazy places in the world. No need to explain further why it had been on my bucket list for a while and why you should add it to yours.
My top tip is after a day at the beach or a walk around/up the Mount – treat yourself to a Copenhagen Cone. It’s a famous ice cream shop that’s now so popular the lines can be all the way down the street (totally worth the wait!).
Have you visited New Zealand and have a different favourite place of your own?
Let me know it in the comments!
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They are an award-winning Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour company and I had the best time travelling the South Island with them for three weeks.
Check their website out here.