New Zealand’s scenery is nothing short of picture perfect. While travelling in New Zealand, you are sure to be amazed by postcard-like landscapes at every corner. For those who love photography or even those who simply enjoy sightseeing, New Zealand is the ideal place to visit.
While the entire country is gorgeous, there are a few areas that stand out for being the most picturesque places in New Zealand. Here, we have narrowed it down to the top 10 most picturesque places in New Zealand so you’re sure not to be miss out on the most beautiful spots!
1. Bay of Islands
A 3.5-hour drive north of Auckland sits the Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands is an area composed of about 140 subtropical small islands which showcase some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and untouched beaches.
A boat cruise through the Bay of Islands is the best way to explore the area. From the boat, you’ll be able to see the calm blue waters, the many islands, and the lush vegetation all while learning about the significance of the area in history and to the Maori people.
Related: If you are interested in visiting the Bay of Islands, be sure to check out our 5-Day Winterless North tour!
2. The Coromandel
Another beautiful beach area on the North Island is the Coromandel Peninsula. This peninsula stretches out into the Pacific Ocean and offers plenty of incredible sandy beaches.
But besides gorgeous beaches, there are also some especially picturesque attractions in the Coromandel such as Cathedral Cove, a large cave right on the beach; Hot Water Beach, where you dig your own hot water spa in the sand; or the Pinnacles Walk, which offers a view over the rugged coastline.
Related: Check out our 18-Day New Zealand Private Guided Tour where we take you to explore the Coromandel as well as many other highlights in NZ!
When thinking of New Zealand, one of the first images that often comes to mind is of Hobbiton. Hobbiton is easily one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand and therefore, also one of the most photographed. A tour of Hobbiton is a must for any Lord of the Rings or Hobbit fan and getting a few photos with the cute tiny hobbit homes and manicured gardens simply can’t be missed.
Related: We offer a wide variety of LOTR Tours which showcase the best that “Middle Earth” has to offer!
Rotorua is famous for its geothermals! In Rotorua city itself, you can visit the Kuirau Park mud pool reserve, enjoy a stroll along the gorgeous lakefront or in the government gardens! There is a gondola offering a panoramic view as well as the nearby Whakarewarewa Forest which houses huge California Redwoods.
5. Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is a must-do on any trip to New Zealand. The unique landscape full of volcanoes in unlike anywhere else in the world, making it perfect for photographs!
In Tongariro National Park you will see Mount Ngauruhoe (also known as Mt Doom for LOTR fans) as well as the famous 3 emerald lakes. Tongariro is the perfect place to go hiking or if you want a bit or a more relaxed activity, consider going on a helicopter flight.
Related: Our 8-Day North Island Highlights Private Tour is perfect for Lord of the Rings fans and those who want to explore Tongariro National Park.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and a very beautiful city at that! Wellington sits right at the bottom of the North Island on the coast and offers some incredible waterfront views from the many hills in which the city is built. For the best vantage point, take the historic cable car up to the viewing platform overlooking the city and the harbour.
Related: For more information about Wellington, check out our list of the best things to do in Wellington!
7. Mount Aspiring National Park
Another picturesque national park that should be on your NZ bucket list is Mount Aspiring National Park. In the park, you can hike the famous Routeburn Track which is definitely one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand! But if you aren’t much of a hiker, then you can check out a scenic flight, go canyoning, stroll to the Blue Pools or just enjoy one very scenic road trip!
Related: Road trip through Mount Aspiring National Park on our 10-Day South Island Self-Drive Highlights trip
No trip to New Zealand is complete without a visit to Queenstown. Queenstown is a small (but busy) town situated in the South Island. Queenstown sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by towering mountains. Because of its beauty and scenic location, Queenstown was actually named after the fact that it is a town “fit for a queen!”
In Queenstown, you don’t need to venture far to realize just how picturesque this town is. In fact, just going on a short walk through town will have you impressed at the gorgeous lakefront and vibrant streets. However, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, consider going on one of the many hikes in Queenstown, taking the gondola up to Bob’s Peak, going on a scenic cruise or jet boat ride, or even drive up to the Remarkables Ski Field.
Related: Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Check out some of our specialized Adventure Tours!
9. Mount Cook
Mount Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain and arguably its most beautiful. Mount Cook 3,724m tall snowy peak is nothing short of impressive. Some of the best ways to see Mount Cook is to take a trip to Mount Cook National Park. From there, you can hike the world-famous Hooker Valley Track or even go on a scenic helicopter ride.
10. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is often called the “8th Wonder of the World” because of how amazing it is. This glacier carved valley leaves visitors in awe of the towering cliffs, dozens of waterfalls, and calm waterways. A boat cruise in Milford Sound is the ultimate way to experience this breathtaking place and you might even get lucky enough to spot some wildlife including dolphins, seals, birds, or penguins!
If you really want to see as much of Milford as you can, then there are a few different activities you can do in addition to a boat cruise. You can hike the Milford Track, enjoy the views of Milford from its shore, take in scenic views along the drive to Milford, go kayaking, or even go on a scenic flight!