New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it is also a country full of culture and adventure. In this article, we'll list seven must-dos in New Zealand, from soaking up the sights of the Fjordland National Park to heart-pounding adventure activities like jet boating or bungee jumping.
Famous as New Zealand's geothermal wonderland, Rotorua is known for its hot springs and geysers that continue to draw travellers from all over the world. Situated on Lake Rotorua towards the centre of the North Island, visitors will see natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud all around. Rotorua is in the centre of the Taupo Volcanic Zone -- named after Lake Taupo, the biggest volcano in the region.
2. Bay of Islands
When the first European settlers arrived in New Zealand, it was at the Bay of Islands in the far north of the North Island. It was here that they first clashed with the native Maori before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. These days, the Bay of Islands is a land rich in history, but also famous for its sub-tropical climate, beaches and nature walks.
3. Visit the Fjordland
Home of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, as well as some of NZ's greatest walks (in fact, they're known as the Great Walks) including Milford Track, Kepler Tracks and Routeburn Track, the Fjordland National Park is a rare wonder. World heritage listed and one of the most significant sightseeing destinations in the world, it's a must-see for anyone visiting New Zealand. You'll find the Fjordland National Park in the south-west region of the South Island.
4. Kaikoura Whale Watching
Famous for its whale watching, the Kaikoura Peninsula is located almost 200 kilometres north of Christchurch. This is all thanks to Kaikoura's stunning natural features, with the sea bed just off its shores dropping away sharply to create waters up to a kilometre in depth, attracting sea mammals of all varieties. Head here and you can catch enormous sperm whales, migratory humpbacks and orca roaming the waters amongst each other.
5. The Moeraki Boulders
Head to the eastern edge of South Island -- about 75km north of Dunedin -- and you'll find large, naturally formed boulders submerged partially in the sand These are known as the Moeraki Boulders, strange natural features whose smooth, rocky outers belie the fact that they have centres of honeycomb.
Whether you're visiting in winter or summer, Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Perhaps most famous for its stunning mountain peaks which receive their fair share of snow for skiers and snowboarders come the winter months, Queenstown is also the location of great adventure activities during the summer. If you're after somewhere a bit more low-key, but still capable of offering plenty of snow and adventure, check out Wanaka, about an hour's drive north of Queenstown.
7. Check Out Auckland
It's New Zealand's biggest city and one of the most beautiful harbourside destinations in the world, so you'd be crazy not to see all it has to offer. From experiencing the restaurants and night life of the Viaduct Basin and Ponsonby Road to the natural beauty of the Waitemata Harbour and Rangitoto Island, there's so much to do. If you're keen for some adrenaline-pumping adventure action, try leaping off the southern hemisphere's tallest building with the fun (and completely safe) SkyJump, or jump on an NZ jet boat and explore the harbour at breakneck speeds.