30+ Best Things to do In New Zealand 2024

Last Updated on November 8, 2023


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New Zealand is hard and expensive to get to for a good reason.

Across the country, you will be teased with jaw-dropping views, friendly locals and a relaxed attitude that can only be found uniquely in New Zealand. It will leave you wanting more.

There are just so many amazing and beautiful places to visit in New Zealand – as well as plenty of cool things to do in New Zealand – that I just couldn’t write about it on my own.

So I have asked a bundle of the top travel bloggers and influencers to name the best things to do in New Zealand.

From stunning nature hikes to the best towns on the North and South Islands, you will find everything you will ever want to do there and more.

🗺 TOUR RECOMMENDATION: Looking to do a tour to discover the best of New Zealand? Join a Haka tour and see some of the most beautiful spots NZ has to offer!

Join us as we highlight the best things to see and do in New Zealand!

Here are 30 of the Best Things to Do in New Zealand

Find the best things to do in New Zealand, lake with tall grass and snow-capped mountains in the distance under an azure blue sky

1. Visit Milford Sound

Recommended by The Travelling Tom

Wondering what to do in New Zealand in January, when the southern hemisphere experiences summer? Then I’ve got just the place for you.

Visiting Milford Sound was one of the best things I did while I was travelling and one of the best things to do in New Zealand. To describe Milford Sound as beautiful would be an understatement.

It’s breathtaking. I visited in the pouring rain, with fog obscuring most of the sound, however, it was still an amazing sight!

The best way to see Milford Sound is to take a boat tour. You spend an hour on the boat, as the guide informs of the history of the sound, and its geographical features.

You get up close and personal, and get to see the true scale of the sound, as it towers over you!

If I could recommend one place to visit in New Zealand, it would be Milford Sound! It’s simply one of the most beautiful must see places in New Zealand!

Explore places to see in New Zealand, view of sandy beach with turquoise green waves lapping gently at the shore with rocky peninsula sticking out into the water under a cloudy sky

2. Hike to Twilight Beach at Cape Maria Van Diemen

Suggested by HH Lifestyle Travel

If you are visiting Cape Reinga in New Zealand’s far north, I suggest a day trip hike out to Cape Maria van Diemen.

Part of the Cape Reinga Coastal Walkway, there are several trails to choose from – from easy 1-hour hikes, to longer 16km advanced tracks. 

You can reach Te Werahi beach (pictured) in around 30 minutes, but I recommend walking all the way to Twilight Beach which is an 8km round trip.

Twilight Beach is on the southern side of Cape Maria van Diemen, and is the next bay up from Ninety Mile Beach. 

Famous for its peach-coloured sand dunes and wild tussock grass, this remote hike is truly a way to see unspoiled New Zealand.

Enjoy fun things to do in New Zealand, rolling green grassland leading towards metropolitan city skyline with river running through it under a blue cloudy sky

3. Try Kava

Recommended by Last Kodiak 

One of the great things about being in New Zealand is that there is a melting pot of Pacific cultures all in the same place. Auckland in some ways is like a smaller New York City.

What this means for is a lot of kava time!

If you do not know what it is, kava is a cultural drink that is popular among Fijians, Samoans and Tongans, and it’s one of the best things about New Zealand!

When they move to New Zealand; they bring the culture of kava with them. It is not uncommon to see them having a night of drinking any day of the week.

If you are in Auckland, just ask anyone where you can find some. If no one seems to know (unlikely), just head over to South Auckland and there will be for sure someone that knows somewhere to get it.

Try out the best things to do in the South Island, New Zealand, woman with arms outstretched looking out across view of rolling grassy hills leading to lake with small islands surrounded by tall mountains with peaks obscured by clouds

4. Hiking to Roy’s Peak

Recommended by Laura’s Travel Blog

It’s without shame that I make this confession: my desire to hike up to Roy’s Peak was driven by Instagram.

If you follow countless travel accounts like me, you’ll have almost certainly seen the unbelievable views from the top too.

The only problem with hiking to a peak? It’s uphill. But I don’t mean a gentle, undulating incline with periods of flat respite. I mean three hours of solid, uphill, calf-splitting climbing.

The ache in my (admittedly unfit) body became so great that I almost turned back around, despite being incredibly close to the top.

But, summoning the strength to carry on, the pain was forgotten as the famous view came into sight.

It feels like you’re standing on top of the world, surrounded by panoramic views of deep blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills in between.

This hike is an experience that you absolutely don’t want to miss and one of the best things to do in the South Island.

Find your favourite top things to do in New Zealand, closeup of a group of horses with a white horse's head in the foreground just in front of a dark brown horse's head

5. Ride Icelandic Ponies in Christchurch

Recommended by Traveling Honey Bird

Being a book nerd I can admit that I’ve read the Hobbit, watched all of LOTR and enjoyed it. As well as having read more books than I’d care to admit that involve mystical beings riding teeny tiny horses.

Because seemingly it’s only large, goofy humans that ride regular-sized horses. So when we found ourselves with a few hours free it was a no brainer to get out of town and ride Icelandic ponies.

The Christchurch Iceland Horse Trek stable is a short 25mins drive from Christchurch CBD.

Stable owner, and pony lover, Inga moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband in 2000 and brought along a select few Icelandic Ponies.

We opted for a short 1-hour lagoon trek and had a wonderful if albeit too short, time in the saddle.

Chatting along with the staff. Watching the dog go swimming in muddy puddles. Why did we choose Icelandic ponies?

Well, you get to enjoy the special gait called “tölt”, which is unique to Icelandic horses. It is a four-beat gait about as fast as trot, but much more comfortable to ride.

And in all honesty, it was well worth the laughs with two average side adults riding two ponies.

Find the best places to see in New Zealand, view across a still lake with silhouettes of surrounding trees and a tall mountain in the distance

6. Visit New Plymouth

Recommended by Happiness Travels Here

A visit to New Plymouth on the west coast of the North Island is one of the best things to do in New Zealand.

Named one of the world’s top regions to visit by Lonely Planet, the city sits at the base of Mount Taranaki, a near-perfect cone-shaped mountain.

The long coastline surrounding the city of New Plymouth is a mixture of fine black sand beaches, rocky surf breaks and a coastal walkway.

The coastal walkway passes through the city.

Here you’ll find galleries, good coffee, delicious seasonal food and a host of arts and music events throughout the year, most centred around the lush grounds of Pukekura Park.

And of course, everywhere is the photogenic mountain in the distance.

In winter a small ski field opens on the slopes of the snow-capped Mount Taranaki making it one of the only places in the world where you can ski and surf in the same day.

Discover cool places in New Zealand, view of worn pathway through grass leading down to sandy beach with foamy waves crashing on the shore

7. Visit Cape Farewell

Recommended by Big World Small Pockets

The walk to the South Island’s most northerly point is definitely one of the best things I did in New Zealand.

With stunning coastal scenery and a great hilltop track that is clearly marked, this a short, but very rewarding hike you can easily complete in an afternoon.

Do make sure you leave enough time to take in (and over-photograph!) the gorgeous panoramic views on the way, however, as the sense that you’re walking to the end of the earth takes over you.

Rather than dropping into the stratosphere, however, you’ll actually end at my favourite beach in New Zealand – Wharariki Beach.

Here seal pups are cared for in nursery pools and where the stunning rock formations are among New Zealand’s most dramatic destinations.

Don't miss these must see places in New Zealand, front of the National Tobacco Company building in Napier with three flagpoles rising from the roof

8. Visit Art Deco Napier

Recommended by Travelnuity

If you’re an architecture buff or just love seeing unusual cities, add Napier to your New Zealand itinerary.

This small city on the east coast of the North Island was almost flattened due to an earthquake and the ensuing fires in 1931.

But the disaster had an unexpected consequence: the city was almost entirely rebuilt in the then trendy art deco style.

Even today if you wander around the city, most of the commercial buildings are in the style, albeit holding modern shops and offices.

One of the highlights is the grand National Tobacco Company building, on the edge of town. It’s one of the most famous things in New Zealand for architecture lovers!

Both guided and self-guided tour options are available, and there’s even an annual art deco weekend in February.

Find some of the best things to see in New Zealand, three New Zealand fur seals sitting on the rocky coast in front of a view out across the water to a grassy peninsula

9. Wildlife Spotting on the Otago Peninsula

Suggested by Sidewalk Safari

The Otago Peninsula on New Zealand’s South Island is an easy day trip from Dunedin and is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

Drive the narrow winding roads with the sea on one side and rolling farmlands awash in sheep on the other.

Take an hour tour in an 8 wheel all-terrain vehicle with Nature’s Wonders and watch New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun from a comfortable hide.

You may even catch a glimpse of a rare yellow-eyed penguin waddling onto the beach. The tip of the Otago Peninsula is home to a colony of nesting albatross.

If you love wildlife and birds like I do, Otago Peninsula should definitely not be missed.

📸 PRO TIP: My go-to camera for all my travels is the Sony A7iii – I highly recommend it!

Discover the most beautiful places in New Zealand, man standing on grassy hilltop in front of huge snow-covered rocky mountain

10. Experience Mount Cook

Suggested by Walk My World

In a country packed full of amazing hiking opportunities Mount Cook still manages to stand out from the rest. It can be four seasons in a day, but the scenery is breathtaking in all of them.

If you’re looking for a spectacular but relatively easy hike then you should opt for the Hooker Valley track, we think it’s one of the best day walks in New Zealand, and in the world.

You’ll wander past glacier rivers, over swing bridges and end with a wow at an iceberg-strewn lake. Mount Cook is one of the most cool places in New Zealand in more ways than one!

If you’re after something a little more challenging then climb the 2200 steps up to Sealy Tarns.

The view is sensational, and if that still isn’t enough, you can head up another few kilometres to Mueller Hut.

The higher you get the more expansive the view, and it’s worth each and every steep step. For a real treat, book a night in the hut and go stargazing. Bliss!

Check out these things not to miss in New Zealand, view of small white lighthouse standing on peak of hill in front of vast blue ocean with people milling around the base

11. Visit Cape Reinga

Suggested by Travel Tom Tom

Needless to say that the most northern point of New Zealand is a well-known tourist destination in this amazing country.

You can drive up to the parking lot and walk up to the beautiful Cape Reinga lighthouse, which marks the end of the Aupouri Peninsula. This is also where two oceans come together.

The landscapes are spectacular and the coastline is a heaven for hiking lovers. Try the coastal walks that depart at the lighthouse and don’t forget to visit 90 Miles Beach.

Cape Reinga is a sacred place for the Maoris and therefore camping and eating and drinking is not allowed. If you want to see this place from the sky try the scenic flights over the area.

Enjoy all the top things to see in New Zealand, front of Hobbit hole with large round yellow door and small table of potted plants and wooden box of root vegetables in front

12. Visit Hobbiton

Suggested by 2 Week Trips

It can’t be denied: the Lord of the Rings films are a global sensation, making this one of the top things to see in New Zealand!

Just slightly over 2 hours from Auckland, you’ll reach the realm of Middle Earth. The 12-acre film set of The Shire is set in the countryside of Waikato and is still open for Tolkien fans to visit.

A two-hour-long guided tour will take you around the movie set, and leaves plenty of time for posing behind waist-high doors and cute manicured gardens.

Along the way, your guide will point out interesting nuggets of information about the filming of the movie, and famous locations seen in the movie.

You’ll end the tour at the local tavern the Green Dragon Inn, where you can enjoy a refreshing ale and munch on some pies for breakfast, and then a second breakfast – just like a Hobbit!

See the best places to go in New Zealand, view across sandy beach with foamy waves and a sandy peninsula in the distance under an azure blue sky

13. Become ‘Beached as a Bro’

Suggested by Tiki Touring Kiwi

On a nice summer day, you’ll get a taste of kiwi culture at beaches around the country.

The reference behind ‘Beached As’, comes from an animated cartoon series, so if you decide to get beached as there are some things you should know.

Even on a cloudy summer day, the Kiwi sun takes no prisoners thanks to the UV rays getting through to you more as there’s a hole in the ozone layer.

Always apply sunscreen in the summer (there’s no harm in the winter either). No one wants to be that lobster. If you see some locals digging in the shallows, they could well be digging for pipis.

A small seashell that might be used for fishing bait, or on the dinner plate later that night. And don’t forget to join in on a game of beach cricket!

Discover what to do in New Zealand in January, view of Wellington city from the Victoria Lookout with lots of tall buildings nestled into a bay surrounded by tall green hills

14. See Wellington from Mount Victoria Lookout

Suggested by The Invisible Tourist

One of the best ways to appreciate Wellington’s unique beauty is to see her from a birds’ eye view.

Surrounded by emerald mountains, a clear blue harbour and a jagged city skyline, you can really begin to admire everything New Zealand’s capital has to offer at Mount Victoria Lookout.

Knowing the spectacular panoramic views from almost 200m above the city could not be beaten, I simply had to visit in person.

My travel buddy and I decided to visit on a Saturday – only to find out that the buses en route to the summit don’t run on the weekends (take note, you’ve been warned).

Instead, we made the half-hour trek up the muddy, rocky and incredibly steep track carved into the bushy mountainside.

Being greeted with one of the best views in New Zealand at the summit was definitely worth it!

Don't miss these must visit places in New Zealand, vibrant red coloured hot springs giving off steam in front of verdant green hills under a blue sky

15. Wai-o-Tapu Sulphur Springs

Suggested by The Opposite Travellers

Set in beautiful Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu Sulpher Springs is a colourful and unique experience and is one of the must visit places in New Zealand.

Shaped from thousands of years of volcanic activity these geothermal springs feature incredible mud pools, geysers, and vibrant pools of sulphur.

While visiting you will marvel at some absolutely incredible natural wonders. The Wai-O-Tapu Sulpher Springs is home to the extravagant 900-year-old hot spring named the Champagne Pool.

The colours and bubbling CO2 are a spectacular sight. You will also witness the daily eruptions of the Lady Knox Geyser and watch impressive jet streams of water sky rocket 20m into the air.

Have you seen these famous things in New Zealand, person standing on sandy shore underneath a large naturally formed stone arch with view out to beach with blue waves and rocks beyond

16. See Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel Peninsula

Suggested by Luxury Backpacking

Cathedral Cove is a popular beach with stunning scenery on the Coromandel Peninsula, about a three-hour drive south-east from Auckland.

It’s one of the best places to see in New Zealand; getting there isn’t super easy, however.

You have the choice between a taxi boat from nearby Hahei Beach (NZ$30 per person round-trip), or you can park in Hahei and go on a 45-minute walk along and down the cliffs until you reach the beach.

Be aware that free parking is very limited and thus at peak times you’ll have to park in one of the local overflow parking lots for NZ$10 to 15.

Once on the beach, you’ll be rewarded with two beautiful bays (Cathedral Cove and Mare’s Leg Cove), as well as the infamous rock arch linking the two, which gave Cathedral Cove its name.

In addition, each bay features a beautifully shaped rock in the water (Te Hoho Rock in Cathedral Cove and Sphinx Rock in Mare’s Leg Cove). For the best photos visit at sunrise and low tide.

💡PACKING TIP: Make sure you bring a good snorkel, water shoes and a fast-drying towel for all of the beach-going you’re about to do!

Enjoy exciting things to see in New Zealand, view of calm pool of turquoise green water with almost circular beach with hills covered in green trees surrounding

17. Kayak around Abel Tasman

Kayaking is one of my favourite ways to discover a new place. You can’t beat the clear blue water and best of all you will have a new perspective on how beautiful New Zealand is!

A great place to go kayaking is at Abel Tasman National Park. It’s easy-going, has lots of options for various budgets and is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand.

But best of all: the views are breathtaking.

The Abel Tasman, a stunning stretch of golden beaches, peaceful inlets, offshore islands, wildlife, and native forest coast guarded by ferns and gorse is one of New Zealand’s most popular spots.

You can opt to do a day kayaking trip or even pick a multi-day tour with the likes of Abel Tasman Kayaks and explore this part of New Zealand in-depth!

Find the best views in New Zealand, red and white helicopter parked on snowy mountainside under a blue sky

18. Helicopter up to Fox Glacier

Suggested by Where is Tara?

Franz Josef is normally the name that comes to mind when people think of glaciers in New Zealand.

But, my geologist boyfriend assured me that Fox glacier is more interesting, at least from his perspective. So we by-passed Franz Josef and headed straight for Fox.

We decided to go all out and take a helicopter trip up to the glacier to take in its full expanse.

Word of warning: they weigh you before you get on the helicopter. It’s horrendous but it’s worth it for the incredible views.

We flew up to the top of the glacier, getting an aerial view of the spectacular landscape.

Make sure you have your camera/phone ready.

The best part is that you land on the glacier (make sure you have a warm coat with you) and have about 20 minutes to have a snowball fight and snap a few pictures!

How often do you get to walk on a glacier?

And the views on the way down are even more incredible than on the way up. You can see the bright blue lines of the glacier tracing their way through the white snow.

It’s really an amazing sight to behold. I cannot recommend it enough. Definitely, one of the best things to do in New Zealand in July.

Come and see the best places to visit in New Zealand, group of people in climbing gear with helmets and head torches sitting in an underground cave structure

19. Search for Glowworms at Waitomo Caves

Suggested by Our World to Wander

Have you ever heard of glowworms? They are some amazing small creatures, similar to maggots actually, that glow in the dark. Yup, you’ve got that right, they are bioluminescent worms.

And New Zealand is the perfect place to spot them.

You can find them in various locations in New Zealand.

While we also spotted them in the Fox Glacier area, one of the best places to go in New Zealand for glowworms is in the North Island, in the Waitomo Caves.

We opted for a tubing tour in one of the Waitomo Caves, the Ruakuri Cave. And I can tell you that it was one of our highlights in New Zealand.

You are literally tubing in a cave and get to watch a majestic show put on by the glowworms. They light up and it feels like stargazing, with tons of them on the ceilings and the caves’ walls.

A must-try experience – one of the most unique and best things to see in New Zealand!

Experience all the things to see and do in New Zealand, two dolphins floating just under the surface of some turquoise green water

20. Swimming with Wild Dolphins in Akaroa

Suggested by Le Long Weekend

New Zealand-native Hector’s dolphins are an endangered species, with only around 7,000 remaining in the wild.

Home to around 900 dolphins, the Banks Peninsula near Christchurch has the largest population of Hector’s dolphins in the world. And it’s the only place you can swim with them.

Join a cruise from Akaroa to get up close to these small but incredibly playful dolphins. And with any luck, they won’t be the only animals you see on your way out of the harbour.

We were lucky enough to spot both seals and penguins as well.

Swimming with Hector’s dolphins is such a rewarding experience, and definitely one of the things not to miss in New Zealand.

The dolphins are naturally inquisitive and love to come close to humans – quickly dashing around and under you as you bob around in your thick wetsuit.

It’s one of those bucket list adventures that you’re likely to cherish forever!

Enjoy all the beautiful places to visit in New Zealand, vibrantly coloured lagoons resting amongst rocky mountaintops with rough terrain surrounding

21. Hike the Tongariro Crossing

Suggested by The Sweet Wanderlust

“One does not simply walk into Mordor”… unless you decide to hike the Tongariro Crossing!

Take in the Lord of the Rings sights— Mount Doom and Mordor— but don’t let them intimidate you. This area is one of the top places to visit in New Zealand for hikers and film fans alike!

It’s a 12.1 mile hike through active volcanic terrain with steep climbs (they don’t call it the Devil’s Staircase for nothing!) and slippery descents, but this is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world.

New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site offers stunning views from the Red Crater, the walk’s highest point at 1886 meters.

Continue on to the Emerald Lakes…. a colour I’ve never seen in nature before! It’s a long and challenging day, but 100% worth it!

Find some cool things to do in New Zealand, side of building decorated with street art of two hands outstretched in a mixture of photo-realism and yellow and blue colour splashes

22. Christchurch Street Art

Suggested by Boy Eats World

Seven years after a series of earthquakes left the historic city of Christchurch devastated, it is rising from the ashes.

With a newfound sense of optimism, and creativity and ingenuity that can only leave visitors smiling.

With new buildings popping up with great frequency and the remains of damaged buildings being repurposed into an ever-evolving gallery of street art.

There is even a fun and fabulous Dance-O-Mat, a coin-operated installation that doubles as a public dance floor, should the need to dance strike.

And while the art scene was born from the tragedy it has become a vibrant addition to the rejuvenated and resourceful city.

In fact, there are more than 100 eye-popping artworks created by local and international urban artists located in and around Christchurch.

The city now ranks alongside New York, London and Melbourne as one of the world’s great street art capitals.

💡 TOP TIP: Looking to stay in this trendy location? Definitely check out Booking.com for the best deals on accommodation.

Discover the best things about New Zealand, shot of grassy area leading down to stony beach with cool waves crashing on the shore under a cloudy sky

23. Explore Ngawi

Ngawi is located just an hours drive from Martinborough. It boasts a rugged coastline and landscapes that will blow your mind.

Not only that, but Ngawi is home to the North Islands largest colony of seals, plus (randomly) it has the most bulldozers per capita than anywhere else. 

It is also only 5 kilometres to the Southernmost point of the North Island – Cape Palliser (where this photo was taken).

It’s a sleepy beach village and perfect if you want to see rural New Zealand. Exploring Ngawu is one of my favourite things to do in New Zealand in February.

Enjoy all the places to see in New Zealand, view of Sky Tower building in Auckland looking up towards brightly lit spire at night

24. Visit the Sky Tower in Auckland

Suggested by The Rare Welsh Bit

No trip to Auckland is complete without a visit to New Zealand’s tallest building, the Sky Tower.

The 360-degree views from the top of the 220-metre tall tower are amazing.

You can even enjoy a meal in a revolving restaurant, and if you’re feeling particularly brave, you can take a stroll around the Sky Tower’s 1.2 metre-wide pergola or even bungee jump from the tower!

An iconic part of Auckland’s cityscape for 20 years, The Sky Tower was recently used as a backdrop for New Zealand’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

Try out all the fun things to do in New Zealand, person in the midst of beginning a bungee jump attached by their feet to a bungee cord attached to a wooden bridge over a valley

25. Bungee Jump in Queenstown

Suggested by What The Girls Say

I’ve always said I would never go bungee jumping…but, being in Queensland, the birthplace of bungee jumping?!

I had a “when in Rome” moment and could not pass up the opportunity. And man, am I glad I didn’t. It was the scariest and thrilling experience of my life.

To make it even more exciting, I opted for the “touch the water” option. 

My head was dunked headfirst into the water under the Kawarau Bridge. AJ Hackett offers several options, so you can find one that you enjoy.

It’s one of the most fun things to do in New Zealand. And as always, “never say never”!

Find all the top things to do in New Zealand, ski lift bringing passengers up the side of a snow-covered mountain with more rocky snow-covered mountains in the distance

26. Ski in the Dark!

Suggested by Passport Collective

New Zealand’s south island, Queenstown in particular, is well known as one of the best places to enjoy the snow in the southern hemisphere.

With a range of mountains to choose from and stunning scenery to enjoy whilst you’re off-piste, it’s no wonder people flock there in droves.

A unique way to enjoy both Queenstown’s beauty and slopes ironically is to enjoy a sleep in and hit up Coronet Peak late afternoon for their night skiing sessions.

Starting at around 4 pm, you’ll enjoy the gorgeous pink hues of a killer sunset before the lights come on and you’re skiing in ‘the dark’.

It’s one of the best things to do in New Zealand in June!

The nighttime vibes include live music, a warm drink in the village and the unique experience of skiing under lights.

It’s truly a spectacular experience that can be enjoyed as a standalone or added on to a day pass.

Enjoy the best things to do in New Zealand in December, person holding white surfboard pointing towards sandy beach with long slow waves approaching the shore

27. Surfing in Ahipara

Suggested by Bren on the Road

Ahipara is a charming little town in New Zealand’s north, not far from the better-known Kaitaia. There are a lot of holiday homes and cute little shops, but what Ahipara is really known for is the surf.

Situated along the famous 90 Mile Beach, Ahipara is the perfect spot for beginner-intermediate surfers – friendly swells, not too busy, and lots of waves.

You can even head out to the popular Shipwreck Bay, which boasts one of the coolest left-handers in the country.

If the surf is flat, you can always do some horse riding, fishing, beach bumming, or take a little road trip through the northern towns. You’ll love it!

You'll love these best things to see in New Zealand, foamy water in small lake with waterfall surrounded by lush green trees under an azure blue sky

28. Visit Huka Falls

Suggested by A Brit and a Southerner

When it comes to natural beauty, New Zealand is certainly not short of amazing attractions worth experiencing.

Huka Falls epitomizes this beauty in the heart of the North Island, just a few miles from Lake Taupo. This set of raging waterfalls is located on the Waikato River.

Although it may not be the tallest set of falls in the world, it makes up for it with power and beauty.

The word “Huka” is a Maori term for foam.  After visiting Huka Falls, you can will quickly understand why it was called “Foam Falls.”

With approximately 220,000 liters per second flowing over the edge, Huka Falls is a breathtaking sight.

For the adventure junkies, why not hop on the Huka Falls Jet for an “up close and personal” experience of the falls.

This ultimate thrill a minute ride takes visitors to the base of the falls to really enjoy the power of the water.

Huka Falls truly is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.

Try out these things not to miss in New Zealand, blue boat speeding through dark grey waters with people in orange life jackets holding on

29. Skipper Canyon Jet Boat in Queenstown

Suggested by Fill My Passport

Okay all you adventure junkies out there! Time to get the adrenaline pumping on this incredible thrill-seeking jet boat ride through the unforgiving Skipper Canyon.

First, head to the jetty on one of the top 20 most dangerous roads in the world. Your guide is a trained driver on this rough cliff-edge terrain.

They will give you invaluable information on the drops, the statistics, and even the best photo spots while on the road. Once you arrive, head down and collect your life jacket.

You will board the jet boat and have the ride of a lifetime.

Get close to the edge of rocks, bounce over whitecaps, and learn of the obsolete bungee jumps and mining equipment left amidst the river rapids.

Remember, you will get wet so don’t bring anything aboard that could get ruined. Take a Go Pro for exceptional action photos and video footage. 

Do hang on with at least one hand to avoid getting thrown overboard! I highly recommend this energy brimming experience that you will be talking about the rest of your life.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

Enjoy the greatest things to see and do in New Zealand, three hands holding glasses of white wine with other people sitting at tables in the background

30. Explore the Boutique Wineries in Martinborough

Only an hour and a half drive from Wellington is one of the best wine regions in New Zealand – Martinborough.

There are over 20 wineries located here, and visiting them is one of the top things to do in New Zealand for wine lovers!

The best thing to do is come on a sunny day and hire a bike. This way you can bike from winery to winery and taste all that this region has to offer! 

My personal favourite is Poppys. I would highly recommend booking in there for lunch (they can get super busy in the summer).

You must taste one of their platters filled with delicious nibbles that are sourced locally. The rose is always a winner too!  This is one of my personal favourite things to do in New Zealand in December!

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What activities is New Zealand known for?

Visitors to New Zealand can enjoy hiking through the beautiful landscape, visiting sites of historical significance, wine tasting, skiing, bungee jumping and more!

✅ What’s the best time of year to visit New Zealand?

Because it’s in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand has its sunniest weather in the December to March period – this is often the best time to visit.

✅ Is it expensive in New Zealand?

That depends where you’re coming from, but New Zealand can be considered relatively high end when it comes to other English speaking countries.

I hope you’ve found this list of the 30+ best things to do in New Zealand helpful!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please share with me below which 3 items are at the top of your own personal bucket list.

What would be your number one thing to do? Number two on the list? And three? Let’s get some discussions going and plan our next holiday to New Zealand together!


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The Comments

  • Cat
    January 15, 2018

    Love these suggestions. A few new ones for me to try on my next nz trip. 🙂

  • Marta Kulesza
    January 16, 2018

    Awesome list. There’s so much to do in New Zealand I bet it was difficult to narrow it down to just 30 things!!! I just can’t wait to be back in a month or so. Maybe our paths will cross.

  • Mike from TravelAndDestinations
    January 17, 2018

    Beautiful post. Milford Sound and Huka Falls in particular look breathtaking!

  • Brooke of Passport Couture
    January 22, 2018

    So many wonderful photos. Although New Zealand is known for “Lord of the Rings,” it’s the incredible landscapes and outdoor adventures that make the country so appealing and breathtaking. Thanks for these suggestions. I’m excited to see bungee jumping, I have that on my list!

  • Britannia Cars
    January 23, 2018

    Wow!!!!Great photos.Amazing view,,looks wonderful.Was planning a trip to new-zealand this year.Hope it will help us in future.

  • Rowan Sims Travel Photography
    February 24, 2018

    Great list! I’ve managed to tick off 17 of those I think. We’re pretty bad a seeing our own country, so not bad I think. I’ll need to do a few more next time I’m home in NZ 🙂

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Rowan Sims Travel Photography
      February 27, 2018

      Wow, that’s good going! I know, I get so embarrassed when backpackers rattle off places in New Zealand and I have never been or heard of it before.

  • Ryan Biddulph
    March 7, 2018

    Fabulous list Anita. We are heading to Opotiki in 2 weeks; keeping Northern Island places in mind though we may see more of this stunning country.

    Ryan