Whether you prefer extreme adventures in the great outdoors or cultural delights inside museums and art galleries, you’ll find a huge variety of attractions in New Zealand. Boasting incredibly beautiful scenery and a vibrant cultural scene, New Zealand is filled with things to see and do.
Auckland, which is New Zealand’s largest city, is home to one of the tallest towers in the world. The Sky Tower at SKYCITY stretches up for 328 metres and has a viewing platform at 220 metres. As well as providing stunning views of the city, it also offers fearless visitors the opportunity to base jump from the Tower. On the cultural side of things, Auckland is home to both the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Art Gallery. At a visit to the Auckland Museum you’ll see a huge array of exhibits giving real insight into life in New Zealand, while the Auckland Art Gallery houses a large collection of artworks by national and international artists. Shopaholics have plenty to keep them occupied in Auckland, from the main shopping drag along Queen Street to the more unusual items at the Victoria Park Market. Beautiful park areas like the Auckland Domain, which actually houses the Auckland Museum, are a great option if you’re looking for a relaxing stroll.
Following a devastating earthquake on February 22nd 2011, parts of the city centre in Christchurch are still cordoned off. However, lots of the city’s attractions and activities are up and running again. These include the hugely popular ‘Punting on the Avon’ trips, which travel along the River Avon in New Zealand’s most English city. For the most up-to-date information about travelling to Christchurch, check out the Tourism New Zealand website.
New Zealand’s capital, Wellington is a welcoming city on the North Island boasting a large number of attractions in a relatively small area. When you visit Wellington, be sure to take the cable car to the beautiful Botanic Garden. Another top Wellington attraction is Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand which is filled with intriguing exhibits. Also known as ‘Wellywood’, Wellington is the home base of award-winning director Peter Jackson and you’ll find plenty of Lord of the Rings-related activities in town including a visit to the Weta Cave, a free mini-museum filled with props, collectibles and more.
The undisputed adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is located on New Zealand’s South Island. The stunning backdrop to the town is provided by the Remarkables Mountain Range, with Lake Wakatipu also offering stunning scenery. Outdoor activities are the top draw in this hugely popular backpacker destination and plenty of these lean towards the extreme. While staying in Queenstown, you can go bungee jumping, white water rafting, skydiving, river surfing and more. If you prefer less intense activities, you can go walking, sailing and fishing. In winter, Queenstown becomes a mecca for skiers and snowboarders. Ski season usually begins at the start of June and lasts until October. There’s a lively après ski scene to enjoy as well, and not just during winter.
Also known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, the city of Dunedin is located on the South Island in the Otago region. Scottish influences can be seen in many of the city’s buildings including Larnach Castle and parts of the University of Otago, which was New Zealand’s first university. Lots of eco tours including whale watching trips depart from Dunedin to locations across the beautiful Otago Peninsula, while other top Dunedin attractions include the Taieri Gorge Railway and Dunedin Botanic Garden. As with most parts of New Zealand, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy here including walking, swimming and surfing.
Milford Sound is one of the most famous tourist destinations in all of New Zealand. Located on the South Island in the Fiordland National Park, this fjord is home to striking scenery in the form of towering peaks, breathtaking waterfalls and stunning rainforest. With its picture perfect surroundings and numerous activities, it’s no wonder that Milford Sound attracts around one million visitors each year.
For more awesome outdoor activities, make your way to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. One of 14 national parks in New Zealand, it is home to Aoraki Mount Cook which is the highest peak in the country. Glacier sea kayaking is just one of the popular activities available in this area along with walking, skiing and more.
In Rotorua you’ll find hot springs, mud pools and geysers galore. This city is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua, the North Island’s second largest lake.
Hawkes Bay is another popular area for New Zealand holidays. Here you’ll find the city of Napier which boasts a beautiful collection of Art Deco buildings along with plenty of other attractions for you to check out.
On top of all these attractions, New Zealand also boasts a wonderful collection of annual festivals from the Pasifika Festival in Auckland to the Winter Festival in Queenstown.
In 2011, New Zealand will also host the Rugby World Cup. Avid rugby supporters, the Kiwis will be completely behind their national side, the All Blacks. Other nations competing in the competition include France, Australia, England, South Africa, Ireland, Samoa, Wales, Argentina and more.