One of the most sought-after destinations in the world is New Zealand. With its snow-capped mountains, prehistoric glaciers, green fields, and copious amounts of wine, it’s an attraction, unlike all others. With high sunshine hours and moderate rainfall, New Zealand is home to a temperate climate. As you travel south, the average temperature decreases; January and February are the hottest months, with July being the year’s coldest month. It is said that New Zealand has landscapes that, in particular in the Fiordland National Park, are said to be the best modern example of Gondwanaland. This World Heritage Area, an experience you would fail to find elsewhere, is like going back in time to the Jurassic period.
While tourism has seen a boom in recent years, New Zealand remains a beautiful and unspoiled country. Here is a list of places that attracts tourists from all over the world.
Abel Tasman National Park
Stepping into Abel Tasman is like stepping into Thailand in certain respects. The gorgeous beaches and azure water seem like they belong in the tropics, not New Zealand. Hiking is delightful, with giant ferns, vast, lush trees, and a mild climate. It is also home to the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk, a 60 km trek, and one of New Zealand’s 9 Great Walks. Rent a kayak if you wish to explore the park beyond its hiking trails. This will encourage you to visit the small coves and beaches that make it so unique to the region. Rentals cost about NZD 60 a day. The park is ideal for an overnight or multi-day trip as it’s too far from Nelson for a day trip to do it justice.
Glacier Trekking on Fox and Franz Josef
Everybody visits Franz Josef for one purpose: the glaciers. Hiking the glaciers here is an unforgettable experience and lives up to the hype. The ice caves and walks have been shut down because the glaciers have receded and are melting fast due to climate change. At present, via Heli-hike (a half-day or full-day helicopter/hiking experience), the only way to trek on the glaciers now is. They are costly (485-499 NZD) but, in my opinion, the helicopter ride, trekking, and entire experience are worth the price. In comparison, without hiking, you can just go on a helicopter tour (they last about twenty minutes and cost about 290 NZD) or just hike to the face of the glacier and take photos from a distance. Move through this area no matter what choice you want as you make your way down the South Island.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, this place will surely seem very familiar. This is the place where they filmed Mordor in The Lord of the Rings, considered to be the best day hike in all of New Zealand. In parts (the beginning and end) and steep in others (especially the portion after “Mount Doom”), the 19.4 km walk is easy so you will get a good mix of levels of difficulty. It is also one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. However, the Tongariro Crossing is easily completed in a day (it usually takes between 6-8 hours), even if you are not a strong hiker. The highlight of my whole time in New Zealand was trekking through this otherworldly, red-colored environment of volcanoes and sulfur.
Rotorua is typically the best city to see Maori cultural shows, but there are other noteworthy sites across the region, including the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Tane Mahuta, and the Te Papa museum in Wellington. Shows usually last about 3 hours and include a visit to a traditional village, shows, and lunch. Tickets are between 100-140 NZD.
Located in the southwesternmost part of New Zealand (and also home to numerous film locations for Lord of the Rings), the region of Fiordland is considered one of the most scenic and remote in the country. Most of it was never set upon by man, filled with gigantic mountains, deep lakes, swelling rivers, untamed forests, and resplendent fjords. The majestic Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the Milford and Keppler Tracks, and lots of camping and hiking opportunities are located in this region. Come here if you want to experience the nature of New Zealand away from the crowds.
Chill Out in Christchurch
While badly affected in 2010 and 2011 by earthquakes (over 185 people were killed and 3,000 buildings were affected), Christchurch has rebounded and transformed into a brand-new community. The old Christchurch felt outdated once, but this new one is really on the rise. It has a fresh sense of optimism and liveliness, funky bars, more stores, fresh restaurants, shops, and displays. This opportunity is being used by locals to make a better Christchurch. For the city, it’s a brand new day and I love where it’s going. Be sure to check out the Canterbury Museum, which has a comprehensive recreation of the city during the Victorian period, if you’re going to be there for a few days, and Quake City, an immersive museum dedicated to the earthquakes of 2010-11. For a sweeping view of the city as well, do not miss riding the gondola in the nearby hills.
If you are a junkie for the Lord of the Rings, New Zealand is a must. This is where all the shooting was done, and you can take tours of the Lord of the Rings all over the country and visit Fangorn Forest, Gondor, and where Frodo breaks one ring. Most of the sets were taken down, but on the North Island, a bit of the Shire and some of the hobbit houses remain.