Top Attractions in New Zealand
Collected by Brett Atkinson , AFAR Local Expert
Come explore New Zealand's natural wonders—on foot, on bike, in a camper van, at the fully-extended end of a bungee cord—and meet the (exceedingly friendly) locals. If the dramatic scenery doesn't win you over, the Kiwis will.
70 Kilmore St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
Scattered around New Zealand's second-biggest city are creative reminders of how the residents of Christchurch have been resilient and innovative following the powerful earthquakes that rocked the city in 2010 and 2011. Many quake-damaged...
234 Hereford St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
Following a powerful earthquake in February 2011, the Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged, and while there is an ongoing ideological and economic debate over whether or not the Gothic-style church can, or should be, repaired, the Anglican...
Dunedin Railway Station, Anzac Square, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Departing from Dunedin's glorious bluestone-and-stained-glass railway station—built between 1903 and 1906—the Taieri Gorge Railway negotiates tunnels, wends through river gorges, and traverses heritage viaducts across deep and rugged...
Naseby 9396, New Zealand
Just maybe the South Island's prettiest mountain village, sleepy Naseby makes a good 15-mile round-trip detour when you're cycling the Otago Central Rail Trail. Surrounded by pine forests full of walking paths and mountain-bike tracks, it's also...
Baldwin St, North East Valley, Dunedin 9010, New Zealand
There's no shortage of spectacular mountain peaks in New Zealand, and a quiet lane in the southern city of Dunedin provides the opportunity for gravity-beating exercise before you head for the Southern Alps. As certified by Guinness World...
Stewart Island / Rakiura, Southland 9818, New Zealand
At the far south end of the country, Stewart Island is a rugged and isolated addendum to New Zealand's two main islands, and it's a superb place to get a glimpse of the country's national bird, the kiwi, in the wild. Sunset trips with Bravo...
2662 Coast Rd, Barrytown 7873, New Zealand
There's plenty to see along the rugged and wild West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, but an interesting contrast to the spectacular Punakaiki Pancake Rocks or the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers is a day spent making a knife by hand in the...
Great Taste Trail, Tasman, New Zealand
New Zealand has no shortage of physically challenging bicycle rides through spectacular and remote backcountry, but the Tasman District's Great Taste Trail is designed for travelers seeking a more leisurely immersion in the flavors of this area....
Kapiti Island, Wellington 5032, New Zealand
Around one hour by car north of Wellington, Kapiti Island has been a protected wildlife reserve since 1897. Measuring less than eight square miles, the island can only be visited with a licensed tour operator; Kapiti Island Nature Tours...
East Cape, Gisborne 4087, New Zealand
The far-eastern tip of New Zealand's North Island, and one of the first places in the world to see the light of a new day, East Cape is a rugged and isolated location that's off the radar for most visitors to the country. It's remote, but getting...
1234 Fenton St, Cbd, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Known to New Zealand's indigenous Maori people as pounamu, jade or greenstone is treasured throughout the country, and in the North Island city of Rotorua, Rakai Jade provides travelers with the opportunity to craft a special memento of their...
326 Main St, Palmerston North, City Centre 4410, New Zealand
The All Blacks—New Zealand's beloved national rugby team—are an integral part of the country's psyche, and the only side to have been crowned World Champions three times. Even if you're not a huge fan of the fast, open-running sport...
State Highway 45, Taranaki, New Zealand
Located on the western edge of New Zealand's North Island, the Taranaki region is less visited by travelers than other parts of the country, but the combination of its wonderfully symmetrical volcanic cone and its cavalcade of surf beaches makes...
126 Broadway, Matamata 3400, New Zealand
Welcome to Middle Earth in the South Pacific, and an ideal stop for traveling fans of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies. Near the rural town of Matamata—itself a destination for its LOTR-inspired...
Tau Henare Dr, Waitangi 0293, New Zealand
Opened in 2016, New Zealand's Museum of Waitangi offers innovative and interactive exhibits showcasing the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between more than 500 Maori tribal chiefs and the British Crown representing the country's colonial...
Grange Rd S, Hahei 3591, New Zealand
Part of the spectacular wind- and ocean-eroded shoreline of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, Cathedral Cove, on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula, is reached via an undulating coastal track that takes around 40 minutes to hike. To avoid the...
42 Queen St, New Plymouth 4310, New Zealand
A thrilling tribute to world-renowned New Zealand kinetic artist Len Lye (1901–1980), New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre is an integral part of the excellent Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. From the outside, the center's stunning architecture of...
150 Trig Hill Rd, Waiheke Island, Auckland 1081, New Zealand
Auckland 1021, New Zealand
Just a short walk from Auckland's Eden Park, home of big rugby games in the city, the funky and bohemian Kingsland neighborhood is also developing a reputation as an eating and drinking destination. Some of the city's best coffee is served at...
Western Springs, Auckland, New Zealand
With large communities of people from various nations of the Pacific—including Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and the Cook Islands—Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world, and the annual two-day Pasifika Festival in March is a...
8-14 Madden St, Auckland CBD, Wynyard Quarter 1010, New Zealand
First developed when the city hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2011, the harborside Wynyard Quarter has quickly become a favorite destination for Aucklanders. Restaurants, cafés, and bars are especially popular on weekends—standouts...
105 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
Heaven for traveling hops heads is this two-day beer festival held in August in New Zealand's capital city. Excellent Wellington brewers like Garage Project, ParrotDog, and Panhead have been key to inspiring New Zealand's superb craft-beer scene,...
16 Kahu Rd, Fendalton, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Across New Zealand you'll find weekend farmers' markets packed with vendors of artisanal products and organic fruit and vegetables, as well as innovative food trucks providing tasty options for breakfast or lunch. Held in the leafy surrounds of...
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