"Kia Ora - Aotearoa" Top 5 Page for this destination New Zealand by vtveen
New Zealand Travel Guide: 14,447 reviews and 36,446 photos
You will find our personal top 10 destinations in the 'things to do' tips. Tips about other remarkable places in the 'off the beaten path' section and recommended accommodations - mainly B&B's - in the 'hotels and accommodations' section.
Even a lot more tips and pictures on other pages about destinations in New Zealand.
Since our first visit 2000, we are hooked on New Zealand with its fantastic and various scenery and its very friendly people. In the meantime we have been there four times and visited the North and South Island, travelling with a rental car. Usually we did sleep in B&B's, a great experience, ideal to meet people and to learn more about the country.
Auckland is called 'the city of sails'. Walk along the waterfront and through the 'old America's Cup Village' with its trendy cafes and restaurants. Explore the harbour on a ferry to Devonport, Rangitoto or Waiheke Island and enjoy Auckland's skyline. The city is build on several volcano's. From the top of these craters (Mt. Eden for instance) you will have a wonderful view of the city and the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. And Auckland Region offers some interesting daytrips; it is more or less Auckland's playground.
Let's first go to the top of Northland, where Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet each other. Lovely views over Cape Reinga, Cape Maria van Diemen and much more. Try to be there before the guided tours arrive !! On your way back visit the Te Paki Sand Dunes. On the east side of Northland are many 'tropical' beaches and lovely towns like Mangonui, Russell and Kerikeri and don't forget Waitangi, where modern New Zealand was born.
Along the ‘wild’ west coast you will find the Kauri's: enormous giant trees. 'Tane Mahuta' (God of the Forest) is the most famous and oldest one with an age between 1.500 and 2.000 years. Unbelievable !!
Coromandel Peninsula is more or less little New Zealand. For us the absolutely most beautiful beach of the country is Cathedral Cove, it is just like paradise. Not far away is Hot Water Beach, depending on the tides with real HOT water coming out of the earth near the sea.
In the middle of the island lies the volcanic zone extending from Tongariro National Park to White Island, an active marine volcano. Perhaps the most remarkable area of the country.
Best places to stay are Taupo and Rotorua.
We can recommend to visit or to do: hiking in Tongariro National Park, Mt. Tarawera, Wai-O-Tapu, Orakei Korako and Hell's Gate. And off course do the guided tour to White Island. It is OVERWHELMING !!
Wairarapa is the most southern area. Martinborough, the wine village, is a good starting point for visiting Palliser Bay with its the fur seals along the main (gravel) road and the lighthouse. More or less secluded are the Putangirua Pinnacles, an incredible wild scenery !!
Wellington is New Zealand's capital and worth a visit. An absolute 'must' is Te Papa Museum, New Zealand's national museum with excellent exhibitions about the history of the country and its original inhabitants the Maori's. But you haven't seen Wellington without using the famous red cable car to the Botanic Gardens.
We do like Napier, on Hawkes Bay, very much. Completely destroyed in the 1931 earthquake it has been rebuild in the typically 'art deco style'. You will find dozens of beautiful buildings everywhere in town. Near Napier you can find the famous Gannet Colonies of Cape Kidnappers, where you are walking around in the midst of these impressive birds.
"Christchurch Garden City" tells a lot about the 'capital' of the South Island. It is not only Hagley Park, but also Riccarton and Mona Vale. And don't forget to visit the famous Botanic Garden. The Avon River winds through the city. But Christchurch has much more: the Cathedral (square), nice museums and the Arts Centre.
Most impressive of the South Island are the Alps with lots of high mountains like Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman and many more. We crossed the island over Arthur's Pass, a scenic route starting through the Canterbury plains, over the Alps and ending on the wild West Coast.
On these West Coast you will find glaciers like Franz Josef and Fox. North of Greymouth drive along the road with spectacular views over the coastline and many little islands on your left hand and on the right the green rainforests of the South Island; they do smell so like New Zealand and are so intense green. Green is THE colour in New Zealand. It is amazing how many different green colours you will see. Fantastic!!
Don't miss the Pancake Rock’s near Punakaiki and if you are lucky you may see the 'blow holes'.
To the North lies Abel Tasman National Park. Being Dutch we do have to like this spot. It is a wonderful place with really golden beaches and fantastic scenery. Try to do some parts of the coast track. A little bit further away is Golden Bay with Farewell Spit. One of the most beautiful beaches we ever visited was Wharariki Beach, so pure, so deserted.
Off course you have to visit Queenstown, the centre of many activities and situated among impressive Alps; a little bit too touristy. Arrowtown is a cute little village with lots of old buildings.
Dunedin has some nice (Scottish) buildings and not far away the Otago Peninsula with a penguin an albatross colony.
Feel free to ask more about this overwhelming country.
- Pros:'overwhelming diverse scenery', 'friendly warm people'
- Cons:guided tours and activities rather expensive
- In a nutshell:most beautifull spot on earth (till yet)
Tairua is a small village on the east side of Coromandel with a lovely beach, a lot of accommodation and restaurants. It... more travel advice
Te Papa, or even better with its officially name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Its is the national museum of... more travel advice
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