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Things to do in New Zealand

Things to do in  New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand

It might have been the popularity of The Lord of the Rings movies that put New Zealand on the map, but it's the enchanting landscapes, rich Maori heritage, and unforgettable natural wonders that keep travelers coming back. The North Island is home to New Zealand's capital, Wellington, and largest city, Auckland, but its real highlights lie outside the urban centers. Stroll the golden beaches of the Bay of Islands, journey to Middle Earth on a tour of the Hobbiton set, or cruise through the glowworm caves of Waitomo. Nearby, Rotorua is as renowned for its bubbling mud pools and lava fields as it is for its Maori culture, while farther south, the rocky peaks of Tongariro National Park form the backdrop to one of New Zealand's most rewarding hikes. A short ferry ride from Wellington lands you on the South Island, where the landscapes get wilder, the weather more temperamental, and the cities even more laid-back. Expect to spend most of your time outdoors, traveling from the sandy spit of Cape Farewell, past the windswept beaches of the West Coast, to the dramatic fjords of Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park. Christchurch, revamped after the tragedy of the 2011 earthquake, is the main hub of the north, while the southern city of Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital, where thrill-seekers congregate to try skydiving, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and ziplining.

Top 10 attractions in New Zealand

#1
Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

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Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films won’t want to miss a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set—the real-life recreation of The Shire, one of the primary settings in those films. Set amid the lush hills of Matamata on New Zealand’s North Island, the purpose-built set features the original hobbit holes, sets, and props from the movies.More
#2
Milford Sound

Milford Sound

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With its soaring cliffs, dramatic glacial valleys, and thundering waterfalls, it’s easy to see why Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most visited sights. This natural wonder is the star attraction of Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and wildlife haven for dolphins, seals, and penguins.More
#3
Lake Wakatipu

Lake Wakatipu

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Surrounded by mountains and shrouded in legend, Lake Wakatipu and its crystal waters draw visitors as the longest lake on New Zealand's South Island. As a popular spot for adventure activities—from fishing to catamaran cruises—a day on Lake Wakatipu is arguably the highlight of any trip to Queenstown and the Otago region.More
#4
Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings

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Measuring more than 33 feet (10 meters) high, these mammoth Maori sculptures were chiseled into the rocks on the edge of Lake Taupo in the late 1970s. Created by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, the carvings depict Ngatoroirangi, who is said to have guided the Te Arawa tribes from their Polynesian homeland to New Zealand.More
#5
Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

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A glacial lake on New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Tekapo is an adventurer’s playground by day—and a stargazer’s heaven at night. On a clear night, southern hemisphere constellations, plus the Milky Way and the southern lights, shine spectacularly in the UNESCO-listed Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.More
#6
TranzAlpine Train

TranzAlpine Train

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The TranzAlpine Train is New Zealand’s most spectacular train journey, one which winds its way through the dramatic gorges and alpine forests of the Southern Alps, over staggering viaducts and dizzying mountain passes. From Christchurch on the East Coast to Greymouth on the West Coast, this almost 5-hour trip serves up endless photo opportunities as it runs through the heart of the South Island.More
#7
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Caves

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With dramatic limestone formations, gigantic stalactites and stalagmites, and subterranean river, New Zealand's Waitomo Caves hold adventure at every turn. This network of underground caverns is one of the best places in New Zealand to spot glowworms, and the glittering creatures provide a magical backdrop to the caves' natural wonders.More
#8
Taieri Gorge Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway

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Taieri Gorge Railway isn't just a way of getting from Dunedin to Pukerangi. It’s an experience in itself. The train travels through the Central Otago landscape of hills and gorges, pastureland and forests. It follows part of the route of the historic Otago Central Railway, constructed in the late 19th century during Otago’s Gold Rush.More
#9
Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

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One of New Zealand’s most photographed natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Franz Josef Glacier serves up a dazzling landscape of snow-smothered peaks, rocky gorges, and icy waterfalls, feeding into the Waiho River that's ripe for exploration.More
#10
Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park

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Sprawling along New Zealand’s southwest coast, Fiordland National Park represents the country at its most photogenic: jagged mountains, rugged glacial valleys, and glittering fjords. This UNESCO World Heritage Site harbors some of New Zealand’s most impressive natural wonders, including Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, and Lake Te Anau, as well as rare Fiordland penguins, dolphins, seals, and sea lions.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

How to Spend 3 Days in Auckland

How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

How to Spend 3 Days in Wellington

Top activities in New Zealand

TSS Earnslaw & BBQ Buffet Lunch

TSS Earnslaw & BBQ Buffet Lunch

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Daily Scenic Maori Rock Carving Cruise Taupo
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Maori Rock Carvings Eco Sailing Taupo
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Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

Milford Sound Scenic Cruise

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Premium Milford Sound Small Group Tour, Cruise & Picnic Lunch from Queenstown

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Recent reviews from experiences in New Zealand

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Phillip was awesome guide
Debbie_W, Dec 2021
Whakarewarewa Village Guided Tour
As a NZ’r great to see some of our heritage, learn about things I was not aware of and feel proud.
star-5
Wonderful Daytrip to Island Sanctuary
Sam_W, Mar 2021
Tiritiri Matangi Island Day Trip from Auckland with Optional Guided Walk
Wonderful to see and hear what early New Zealand might have been.
star-5
Breathtaking
Kelsey_D, Sep 2020
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Driving into Milford was so breathtaking, surrounded by mountains, and waterfalls.
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Waitomo caves and Hobbiton
Gabriela, Jul 2020
Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Glowworm Caves Guided Day Trip from Auckland
On top of everything you get to see two of NZ's famous sights!
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Great Original NZ Experience
David_V, Mar 2020
Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Highlights
Being able to walk through a working village with several hot springs boiling away was something everyone should see when visiting NZ.
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Otago Peninsula and wildlife tour
Linda_U, Mar 2020
Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour
He took us to see fur seals, albatross' and pointed out many birds only found in New Zealand.
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Glow worm phenomenon
bk9572, Feb 2020
Off the Beaten Track - Glowworm Caving Adventure Tour in Waitomo
I highly recommend and I would do it again when I come back to Visit!
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Queenstown Bike Ride
Trvanhoy, Feb 2020
Queenstown Guided Ebike Wine Tour
Got to see some wildlife and bungee jumpers over the incredibly turquoise waters of the river.
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Great way to start your stay in Auckland.
HelenGoldman_H, Jan 2020
Private Tour: Auckland City and Countryside Tour
Able to see some interesting sites and get a good feel for the city.
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Wonderful
Elaine_G, Jan 2020
Tauranga Shore Excursion: Rotorua Geothermal Geyser Tour and Polynesian Spa
All attractions were good.
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Stupendous from start to finish!
Camper65933166983, Jan 2020
Milford Sound Scenic Flight and Nature Cruise
3) Dress warm, even in New Zealand "Summer" 4) Hopefully you get lucky with weather like we did, it was the only day of the week that wasn't rainy (they cancel the flights if the weather is bad) 5) Shoutout to Pilot Tom!!
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A Unique Tour
kab06wa, Jan 2020
Hobbiton™ Movie Set 2-Hour Walking Tour from Shires Rest
Pictures of Hobbiton are nice, but you truly have to see it to appreciate it.
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Arhtur's Pass and so much more!
Rajesh_H, Jan 2020
Arthur's Pass Full-Day Tour Includes TranzAlpine Express Train from Christchurch
This tour has a number of things packed in it - A farm tour with morning tea, jet boating, lunch at an iconic restaurant and finally great views and majestic waterfalls of Arthur's pass with TranzAlpine train.
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Unbelievable experience
Andrew L, Dec 2019
Half-Day Milford Sound Flight and Cruise from Queenstown
You get to see varied landscapes and learn about New Zealand history and environment from your talented, courteous pilots.
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Great location and well organised tour
Mansi H, Dec 2019
Milford Sound Cruise with Optional Bus Tour
We were lucky enough to be visiting Milford sounds after rain as a result, there were a number of waterfalls with plenty of water.
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Excellent tour company
Sharonruth2019, Nov 2019
Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Small Group Tour from Auckland
Would highly recommend both attractions with this tour company.
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the BEST day
Karl_M, Oct 2019
Milford Sound Cruise Including Underwater Observatory and Lunch
We are from NZ, so it was incredible to see our country from this perspective and learn more about our own piece of paradise :-) EVERYONE enjoyed themselves
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Visit Tamaki Maori show
Rajagopalan_B, Sep 2019
Rotorua Māori Hāngi Dinner and Performance
Glad to see New Zealand Maori culture and the performance was great
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Wonderful Tour
Colleen_S, Aug 2019
Half-day Discover Auckland City Sightseeing Tour
Very informative and his suggestions for restaurants, activities and such were spot on.
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Great Tour at a Great Value!
HarmanDhali, Aug 2019
Hobbiton, Rotorua and Waitomo Caves Day Trip in Luxury Minibus from Auckland
We got to see a huge part of the North Island, all in one day!
Frequently Asked Questions
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