Exploring The Untouched Beauty Of New Zealand Travel Guide

Last Updated on 04 Oct 2023 by Fiona Perisone

breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals. From the rolling hills of Hobbiton to the stunning glaciers of Franz Josef, New Zealand has something for everyone.

From the majestic Southern Alps to the tranquil beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's diverse landscapes will take your breath away. You can hike through ancient forests home to unique species of birds, swim with dolphins in the crystal-clear waters of the Bay of Islands, or witness the awe-inspiring power of the Huka Falls. But it's not just the natural wonders that make New Zealand a must-visit destination. The people of this country are warm and welcoming, and their rich culture and history can be seen in the art, music, and food you'll encounter on your travels.

So, if you're ready to step beyond the postcard and experience the untamed beauty of New Zealand, get ready for an adventure like no other.

Best Time to Visit

Keep in mind that New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere of the South Pacific Ocean, which means that the seasons are reversed from those in the northern hemisphere.

During the summer months of December to February, New Zealand experiences its peak tourist season. As the warm sun shines and nature flourishes, travelers from all around the world flock to this picturesque destination to bask in its stunning beauty and adventure-filled activities. Summer is a great time for outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, beach-going, attend festivals and events. However, it's the busiest and most expensive time to visit, so prepare for large crowds and higher prices.

Prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds? Visit New Zealand in the shoulder seasons of spring (September-November) or fall (March-May). The weather is still mild and pleasant, and you can enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and the spring blossoms. If you are interested in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, the winter months of June to August are great times to visit. The ski season runs from June to early October, and New Zealand has many ski resorts to choose from.

Top Attractions

Milford Sound

Tongariro National Park

Milford Sound is a stunning natural fjord located in Fiordland National Park. It features breathtaking scenery and a variety of wildlife. It's located on the Southern Island and experiences significant snow in the winter.

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park

Located on the North Island, Tongariro National Park is a true gem and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a must-see for adventure enthusiasts, boasting three active volcanoes and the renowned Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike. For those who love winter sports, the highest volcano, Ruapehu, offers seasonal skiing options. Meanwhile, the second tallest, Ngaurahuoe, inspired the fictional Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is a coastal paradise on New Zealand's South Island that promises breathtaking natural beauty and thrilling adventure. It was the country's first National Park, featuring a world-famous hiking trail that takes you through pristine beaches and crystal-clear rivers. From hiking to kayaking and beachcombing, there is no shortage of activities for you to experience in this picturesque haven.

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

The Coromandel peninsula is a fantastic little peninsula on New Zealand's North Island. Rugged and scenic, the peninsula has plenty of places to explore, and the most famous locations are Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. If you fancy a hike, try summiting the Pinnacles, an overnight adventure with stunning sunrise views above the peninsula.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Located on the North Island of New Zealand, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a breathtaking natural wonder that will leave you in awe. As you journey deep into the network of caves, you will be surrounded by thousands of tiny glowworms that light up the caverns like a starry sky. With several tour options available, you can explore this natural wonder in the way that suits you best.



Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with geysers, hot springs, mud pools, and other natural wonders. It is also the center of Maori cultural heritage and features many cultural events throughout the year. Because of the geothermal activity, the area smells like sulfur.

Bay of Islands

Bay Of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a beautiful region in the north of the country that is perfect for sailing, fishing, and exploring the many islands and beaches. The Cape Reinga Lighthouse and 90 Mile Beach are two regional highlights.

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

The Franz Josef Glacier is a stunning glacier on the West Coast of the South Island that can be explored on foot or by helicopter.



Queenstown is a picturesque town on the South Island. It's known as the "adventure capital of the world" and offers various outdoor activities. Bungee jumping was first invented here.

Mount Cook

Mount Cook

Located in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It has breathtaking scenery and excellent hiking opportunities. You can see the mountain from afar or take one of many trails that venture into the nearby wilderness.

New Zealand's central bank

New Zealand's Central Bank

If you are curious about the heart of New Zealand's financial system, check out the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the country's central bank. Established in 1934, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is responsible for maintaining price stability, promoting financial stability, and providing currency services.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is a picturesque island located in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, just a short ferry ride from Auckland. It is known for its stunning beaches, vineyards, olive groves, and art galleries. Here, you can enjoy wine tasting, beach hopping, hiking, and exploring the island's charming villages.

Things To Do

Hike in New Zealand


Hike in one of New Zealand's national parks, such as Tongariro, Abel Tasman, or Fiordland. There are many incredible trails to explore, from short walks to multi-day treks. New Zealand has nine great official walks, along with the Te Araroa trail, which spans the entire country.

New Zealand scenic drive

Take a Scenic Drive

New Zealand is a country of stunning natural beauty, and one of the best ways to experience it is through a scenic drive. Several routes throughout the country offer breathtaking views of mountains, beaches, forests, and more.

Nestled in the heart of Fiordland on the South Island, the Milford Road is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in New Zealand. The 120 km drive takes you through rugged mountain ranges, past crystal-clear lakes, and alongside cascading waterfalls. The road ends at Milford Sound, one of the most beautiful places in the world, where you can take a boat cruise through the sound and experience the stunning beauty up close.

The Great Coast Road on the West Coast of the South Island is an epic 40 km scenic drive that showcases some of New Zealand's most breathtaking coastal landscapes. Along the way, you'll be captivated by towering cliffs, pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and iconic bridges, including the world-famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.

On the North Island, the Coromandel Peninsula offers a stunning coastal drive. The winding road takes you past golden beaches, sparkling bays, and rugged cliffs. You'll also pass through quaint seaside towns, such as Hahei and Whitianga, where you can stop for a swim or a bite to eat.

Train journey

Take a Scenic Train Journey

Not in the mood to drive? No worries. New Zealand offers several scenic train journeys, including the TranzAlpine takes you through the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Greymouth, and the Northern Explorer travels from Auckland to Wellington, showcasing the North Island's diverse scenery.

Paragliding in Queenstown

Be an Adrenaline Junky in Queenstown

Try something wild in this epic town, like bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain biking, jet boat riding, white water rafting, or skiing/ snowboarding at a local resort. Adventure lives in Queenstown.

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Visit a vineyard and try some wine! New Zealand boasts a world-renowned wine industry that produces some of the finest wines in the world. With numerous award-winning vineyards and wineries to explore, it's no wonder that wine tours have become a popular activity for visitors.

Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand

A Countrywide Lord of the Rings Tour

All three of Peter Jackson's seminal Lord of the Rings movies were filmed in New Zealand, and entire tours have been created that visit many of the film sites. Check out the set of Hobbiton, or go on a horseback tour or a hike through other film locations. You can also visit the Weta Workshop in Wellington, where the CGI for the movies was created!

Whale watching

Whale Watching

If you are in Kaikoura, do not miss the chance to see the beautiful marine life! Whether you book a whale-watching tour or a swim with the dolphins, you're in for an amazing treat.

New Zealand Local Cuisine

Try the local cuisine

New Zealand has a diverse food scene, with fresh seafood, meat, and produce. Try traditional dishes like lamb roast, fish and chips, or pavlova, a dessert made of meringue, cream, and fruit.

Ice bar New Zealand

Hit the Town

Experience the nightlife in Auckland or Wellington. These cities have a lively nightlife scene, with various bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore.

Maori Culture

Experience Maori culture

Visit a Maori cultural center and learn about the indigenous culture and history of New Zealand through performances, traditional food, and exhibits.

New Zealand hot springs

Take a Dip

New Zealand has all the water activities and environments you could ask for. The country is dripping with opportunities, from geothermal hot springs to breathtaking beaches and private coves. Relax in the Hanmer Springs, kayak in Milford Sound, or surf the powerful waves of Piha Beach. The options are limitless.

 Auckland Islands

Take a Guided Tour Of Auckland Islands

Auckland Island is a protected nature reserve and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the Auckland Island teal, the New Zealand sea lion, and the Auckland Islands pig. The island is also known for its rugged and dramatic landscapes, towering cliffs, dense forests, and stunning waterfalls.

While the island is not easily accessible to tourists due to its remote location, it is possible to take guided tours and boat trips to explore the island's unique beauty and history. Visitors can also experience the island's wildlife and natural beauty through hiking trails and wildlife observation opportunities.

Where To Stay

North Island


Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and is known for its vibrant culture, stunning waterfront, and numerous attractions, including the Sky Tower and Auckland Museum.


Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, located on the southern tip of the North Island. It is known for its stunning natural scenery, vibrant arts and culture scene, and fantastic culinary offerings. The city is surrounded by hills and has a beautiful harbor, which can be explored by walking along the waterfront promenade. Wellington is also home to many museums, art galleries, and theaters, including the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Wellington Museum.


Located on the North Island, Rotorua is known for its geothermal wonders, such as geysers and hot springs, as well as its Maori culture and heritage.

South Island


Queenstown is a popular destination for adventure sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, and skydiving. It is also a great base for exploring the nearby Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park.


The Marlborough Sounds region is known for its wine and outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, cycling, and fishing.


Located on the South Island, Wanaka is a quieter alternative to Queenstown and is known for its stunning lake and mountain views, as well as outdoor activities such as skiing and hiking.


Kaikoura is a popular destination for whale watching and is also known for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities, such as hiking and cycling.

Where is New Zealand Located

New Zealand is a picturesque island country nestled in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, consisting of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, as well as a number of smaller islands. With Australia to its northwest and the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa to its northeast, New Zealand's unique geographic location is as captivating as its stunning landscapes. From the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps to the pristine beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's natural beauty is a breathtaking sight to behold.

How to get to New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country, so air is the primary way to get there. New Zealand has several international airports, including Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and several other cities have smaller airports.

Some popular airlines that offer flights include Air New Zealand, Qantas, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific. The flight time from the United States or Canada to New Zealand is typically around 12-15 hours, while flights from Europe or Asia can take upwards of 20 hours.

Transportation Within

Rental Cars

Renting a car is a popular option for visitors who want to explore New Zealand at their own pace. Rental cars are readily available at airports and major cities and can be booked in advance online.

Buses and Coaches

New Zealand has an extensive bus and coach network connecting most major cities and tourist destinations. Companies like InterCity and Naked Bus offer affordable and convenient options for transportation.


Although not as extensive as the bus network, New Zealand does have some scenic train routes that offer a unique way to explore the country. The TranzAlpine, which runs from Christchurch to Greymouth, is particularly popular.

Domestic Flights

For longer distances or time-sensitive itineraries, domestic flights are a good option. Airlines like Air New Zealand and Jetstar offer flights to most major cities in the country.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing

Taxis and ride-sharing services are readily available throughout New Zealand, offering visitors convenient transportation options. In most cities and towns, taxis can be hailed from the street or found at designated taxi stands. Ride-sharing services, such as Uber and Ola, are also available in many areas.

Taxis and ride-sharing services can be a convenient and safe option for getting around New Zealand, particularly in urban areas where parking can be difficult. However, fares can be expensive, so it is important to budget accordingly.

Golden Tips

Plan Ahead

New Zealand is a popular tourist destination, and many activities and accommodations can book up quickly. It's best to plan ahead and make reservations about what you want to do and see.

Pack for ALL Weather

New Zealand's weather can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to pack clothing that can be layered and adjusted as the temperature changes.

Drive Safely

New Zealand has many winding roads and unique driving conditions, so it's important to drive carefully and follow the local rules of the road. Consider hiring a car with automatic transmission if you are not used to driving on the left side of the road.