Kia Ora! Planning to visit beautiful New Zealand anytime soon? Then, feed your wanderlust and head onto one of the most vibrant, dream destinations for many travellers!
There are tons of New Zealand tourist attractions out there, so planning an itinerary might be a bit tedious. That’s why we went ahead and created a list of the best places to visit in New Zealand that should be on your bucket list! Whether you’re visiting the country for the first time or planning a return trip, this list is perfect for you. Keep on scrolling to find the best New Zealand tourist attractions for you!
Looking for things to do in New Zealand’s North Island? Check out which of the things to do in Rotorua fit you the best! If you’re heading to the South Island, you’ll find Queenstown activities as well as glacial adventures here, too!
From relaxing nature cruises to an exhilarating skydive experience, we’ve covered the whole spectrum of activities you can do! What else are you waiting for? Here are the most exciting New Zealand tourist attractions and the best places to visit when in NZ!
Franz Josef Glacier
Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park
Queenstown is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand when it comes to adrenaline-pumping attractions and a world-class skiing experience. Dubbed as the adventure capital, there’s plenty of thrilling Queenstown activities, from bungee jumping to white water rafting!
Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Luge Ride with Optional Buffet Lunch or Dinner
Witness the beauty of Queenstown aboard a gondola that takes you up to Bob’s Peak, a perfect vantage point to get front row seats to the picturesque scenery! See iconic New Zealand tourist attractions in Queenstown, such as Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, as you climb up the peak on board the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere! At the top, enjoy the Queenstown dining experience with a buffet lunch or dinner made from local produce at Stratosfare Restaurant!
Afterwards, zoom down banked bends, tunnels, and dippers on a thrilling luge ride! Challenge your friends or family in a friendly competition and see who’s the best luge rider. This activity is one of the highly recommended Queenstown activities if you’re visiting to see the majestic natural wonders of Queenstown and other New Zealand tourist attractions.
Skydive Queenstown Experience with NZONE
Gather up your courage and take the plunge at one of the most exhilarating Queenstown activities out there! With this skydive experience, get 360-degree views of the spectacular Queenstown, one of the best places to visit in New Zealand.
Book up to a 15,000-feet jump, and enjoy up to 60 seconds of freefall on the Queenstown sky. Let the views of well-known New Zealand tourist attractions such as Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables take your breath away as you soar through the sky with an expert tandem master! Peak season is from October to May, so slots may be limited during this period.
Onsen Hot Pools Experience in Queenstown
After heart-pumping Queenstown activities and adventures, recharge and unwind inside a classic cedar-lined hot pool spa at Onsen Hot Pools!
Ease your mind and body, and bask in the tranquil atmosphere of the spa when you dip in your choice of indoor or outdoor pool. All hot pools are heated to the optimal temperature and are infused with 100% earth minerals to help detoxify your body. This 1-hour soak is also inclusive of a complimentary beverage and snacks to complete this relaxing experience.
With streets lined up with the most vibrant fall colours, Arrowtown is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand when it’s autumn. Walk past heritage houses along Main Street or enjoy a savoury meat pie at the local bakery. Arrowtown is filled to the brim with enjoyable New Zealand tourist attractions!
Shotover River Rafting Experience
Feel the thrill of a lifetime when you conquer the rapids of Shotover River, one of the most heart-racing New Zealand tourist attractions!
This thrilling adventure starts with a shuttle ride to Arthurs Point, where you’ll be suited with safety equipment. Then hop on the bus and head to Coronet Peak! As you brace yourself for the incoming adventure, don’t forget to watch the majestic cliff edges of Coronet Peak unfold during the bus ride. Afterwards, it’s time to brave out the grade 3 to 5 whitewater rapids of the stunning Shotover River!
Gibbston Valley Bike Wine Tours
Explore the less travelled paths of Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley on a bike! Pedal through countless vineyards and postcard-perfect natural landscapes surrounding Central Otago, one of the best places to visit in New Zealand when it comes to winemaking.
Start your day with a bike hire and be led by a local expert guide who will take you to different wineries around town. You may either opt for a full day tour or a half-day one if you plan to do other Queenstown activities throughout the day.
Rotorua is a haven of geothermal New Zealand tourist attractions. It’s also undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in New Zealand if you want to learn more about the vibrant Maori culture. Make sure you jot down these things to do in New Zealand’s North Island on your bucket list!
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Calling all Ringers! It’s your chance to step into the Shire and explore the magical Middle Earth right at the heart of the Waikato region.
Let your guide show you how movie magic made a 1,250-acre sheep farm transform into well-loved filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit! This 2-hour guided tour takes you to the exact film sets of the Hobbit House, Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, and The Mill. It also gives you unlimited photo opportunities with the scenic natural landscape as your backdrop. Cap off the tour with a complimentary beverage at The Green Dragon Inn or in The Beer Garden.
Te Puia Day Pass
Don’t let the smell of sulphur prevent you from visiting Te Puia, one of the must-visit New Zealand tourist attractions!
If you’re looking for fun, well-rounded things to do in Rotorua, we suggest you head on over to Te Puia. Here, you can see the Pohutu Geyser—the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Immerse yourself into Maori culture through demonstrations of traditional wood carving and weaving, and visit an informative exhibition at a model of a Pre-European Maori Village. The pass is good for a whole day of exploring the 60-hectare geothermal wonderland, with guided tours running twice per day at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm, lasting for 2 hours.
Done with your list of things to do in Rotorua? End your day with a relaxing hot bath at Polynesian Spa!
This award-winning spa is the perfect way to indulge yourself with its exclusive acidic and alkaline hot pools overlooking the majestic Lake Rotorua—one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Choose from their variety of spa packages and have up to 3 hours to experience an indulgent retreat with one of the most scenic New Zealand tourist attractions as your backdrop.
Step into Wai-O-Tapu Park, a geothermal wonderland in Rotorua. Enjoy your day exploring this 18-square kilometre colourful geothermal paradise consisting of geysers, sulphuric pools, and hot springs. Visit the Wai-O-Tapu mud pools, the largest in all of New Zealand! Plus, make sure you don’t miss out on the Lady Knox Geyser eruption at 10:15 am!
Note that they are currently closed for renovations, so stay tuned for further updates on their reopening.
4. Milford Sound
Nature lovers will definitely enjoy Milford Sound when they visit New Zealand. This remote fiord welcomes you with its verdant rainforests, majestic rock formations and cascading waterfalls. It’s also home to famous New Zealand tourist attractions such as Mitre Peak and Stirling and Lady Bowen Falls.
Milford Sound Scenic Flight
Cast your eyes upon a spectacular bird’s eye view of Milford Sound, one of the best places to visit in New Zealand, aboard a safe aircraft with guaranteed window seats! Travel to Milford Sound from Queenstown and be mesmerised by the scenery during the flight and the breathtaking views of Lady Bowen Falls during the cruise.
The usual itinerary lasts for around 4 hours. It includes a flight to Milford Sound above Lake Wakatipu and glacier-fed rivers along Dart River Valley, Olivine Ice Plateau, Mt. Tutoko and the Tutoko Glacier. This flight experience is available from October to April and May to September. During the summer, the Lady Bowen Falls ferry can also take you closer to the majestic waterfall.
Fiord Day Cruise
Catch the majestic Mitre Peak and Stirling Falls up close, and meet adorable local creatures such as New Zealand fur seals along the way with this Milford Sound cruise by Southern Discoveries!
Usually lasting for 105 minutes, this nature cruise takes you around Milford Sound’s best kept secrets aboard a comfortable vessel. Sit back as you listen to your local guide’s fun commentary while sipping on a complimentary cuppa. The morning cruise departs at 10:30 am, while the afternoon nature cruise leaves at 1:15 pm. Picnic lunches are available for purchase.
Jucy Premium Cruise
Don’t forget to take photos at one of the best places to visit in New Zealand!
Travel in luxury aboard the “Gem of the Sound”, a luxurious glass-roof catamaran with spacious indoor and outdoor decks, and join in on a 2-hour adventure to see the verdant rainforests surrounding Milford Sound, and other well-known New Zealand tourist attractions such as Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak.
Take part in either the morning cruise, which starts at 11:15 am or the afternoon cruise that leaves at 1:45 pm. You can upgrade your experience by booking this with a kayaking and underwater observatory experience!
Milford Sound Sightseeing and Kayaking Experience
Don’t let the calm, pristine waters of Milford Sound’s glacier-fed rivers go to waste! Avail of this sightseeing and kayaking experience that lasts for 105 minutes aboard a small boutique boat and get up to 2 kayaking hours.
During the cruise, experience the best views of the iconic Lady Bowen Falls, the fiord’s tallest waterfall, and be greeted by rare local fauna such as the Fiordland crested penguin! Afterwards, go on your kayak and paddle across giant rocks formations. You can get up close to cascading waterfalls such as the Stirling Falls!
Another nature getaway in New Zealand is the quaint town of Wanaka. Set on the southern tip and an hour’s drive from Queenstown, Wanaka is known to be a gateway from some popular New Zealand tourist attractions like the Southern Alps’ Mount Aspiring National Park, Treble Cone and Cardrona ski resorts.
Skydive Wanaka Experience
Experience the thrill of freefall matched perfectly with stunning natural scenery as you fly over Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring, and the Southern Alps!
Choose from three height options: 9,000, 12,000, or 15,000 feet, then head onto Wanaka Airport, where you’ll be meeting your tandem master. Once you’re up in the air, all that’s left to do is to take the plunge. Soon, you’ll be enjoying uninterrupted panoramic views of the best New Zealand scenery! If you want photos to keep forever, print and video packages are available for booking during check-in.
Trial Plane Fight Experience
When visiting Wanaka, you shouldn’t miss out on this trial plane flight experience! Try your hand at piloting a small aircraft and have the experience of a lifetime as you soar over the quaint resort town of Wanaka.
Choose from a 20-minute, 30-minute, or 60-minute flight experience with an experienced pilot who will guide you as you attempt to fly the plane. Once you’re in the air, don’t forget to look below and catch Wanaka’s captivating rural landscape!
6. Waiheke Island
A tropical paradise of vineyards and sandy beaches, Waiheke Island should be on top of your list of the best places to visit in New Zealand. If you’re into exciting eco-tours and luxurious wine tastings, this natural wonderland is perfect for you!
Waiheke Island Return Ferry to Auckland
Planning to go to Waiheke Island? Enjoy a stress-free round-trip transfer from Downtown Auckland to Waiheke Island’s Matiatia Bay!
Sit back and relax aboard a luxury catamaran. In 40 minutes, you’ll be enjoying the cool ocean breeze of this tropical island. You can also book an Explorer Bus ticket along with this transfer ticket to experience less hassle when you tour around Waiheke Island. Enjoy various vineyards, food and incredible views, or go on walking trails by the beach.
7. Franz Josef Glacier
Experience the ultimate glacial experience when you visit Franz Josef Glacier or Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere in NZ’s South Island! There are several ways to tour these New Zealand tourist attractions—go on a 1.5-hour walk that takes you within 750 metres of the glacier, or go on a heli hike or guided ice walks to get much closer to one of the best places to visit in New Zealand!
Heli Hike in Franz Josef Glacier
Thrilled to explore Franz Josef Glacier? Go on a heli hike and enjoy this adventure-filled combination of helicopter flight and trek across this majestic glacial formation!
Spend half a day discovering the glacier with an expert guide who’ll teach you all about the formation. Get up to 3 hours of fun ice time on the snowy landscape. Learn the art of step-cutting, and you’ll soon find the safest and most comfortable way for you to travel through the glacier! Afterwards, you can relax and ease your muscles with free admission to the Main Pool of Franz Josef Hot Pool.
Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing in Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier is mainly inaccessible unless by air, so if you want to marvel at this snowy alpine region, we recommend taking this helicopter flight experience!
Soar 6,000 feet above the skies with this exhilarating flight ride. In 20 minutes, you’ll be experiencing a thrilling snow landing at one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Cast your eyes upon the blinding white blanket of snow that covers the mountain region. Better challenge your family or friends to a snowball fight while you’re up there!