If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, odds are you are having a hard time narrowing down what to see and do. For our two-week trip, we planned on seeing both the North AND South Island, making it even more difficult! Here are 12 of the beautiful places we went that I recommend you do, too.
Waiheke Island is an island off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, reachable in 40 mins by ferry. It is known for it’s beautiful beaches and boutique wineries offering breathtaking sea views and top-notch tastings.
Rotorua, also located on the north island, is known mainly for being the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. To be honest, the town itself is nothing to write home about. The draw is definitely the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
Glowworms caves! They are actually maggots, but you will learn about them when you go. Prior to visiting I had a handful of friends tell me that it is a tourist trap and I actually could not disagree more.
Turangi is a very small town located on Lake Taupo, well known for it’s fishing. If you plan on doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing it is a great place to stay as it is very close. We stayed here instead of in Taupo and really enjoyed it!
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and located on the southernmost point of the North Island. It’s a fun city with lots of great restaurants and bars as well as many museums and other cultural experiences.
Tekapo is a small town between Christchurch and Mount Cook. It is home to Lake Tekapo which often has shockingly blue waters and you have likely seen it on Pinterest many times surrounded by purple lupin flowers, which unfortunately were not in bloom while we were there.
Twizel is a small town just south of Lake Pukaki and a great place to stop for a bite to eat if you are on a road trip to Mount Cook! Especially since we learned the hard way that there are almost no dining options in Mount Cook. It is pronounced “Twy-zel” not “Twizzle”.
MOUNT COOK VILLAGE
Mount Cook Village is home to Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand! The village is beautiful but very remote and small with limited options for dining and sleeping.
Wanaka is an extremely charming resort town and was easily one of the highlights of my New Zealand trip!
Queenstown is a wonderful town near the southern end of the South Island. It is known for having a large amount of adventure sports options such as bungee jumping and jet-boating. There are also many vineyards where you can wine taste.
Despite the name, Milford Sound is actually a fiord and is located on the coast of the South Island a few hours west of Queenstown. It is often called the 8th wonder of the world and is something you should absolutely not miss! You can visit either as a day trip from Queenstown or go and stay there.