Sooner or later, it seems everyone who lives in New Zealand is asked by an overseas friend or relative: “I’m coming to New Zealand for a holiday – where should I plan to go?”
And it’s always a difficult call, especially when your visitor is coming for a short visit and has to make some tough choices.
Here’s a shortlist – listed from North to South – to help make some decisions:
Top 13 places to visit in New Zealand
Bay of Islands, North Island
More than 140 islands provide the chance to get on the water and see penguins, dolphins and whales.
Auckland, North Island
The country’s largest city with pretty much all you would expect in a modern, major centre – shops, restaurants and nightlife. Lots of day trips, including harbour cruises.
Coromandel Peninsula, North Island
Beaches, bush and lovely small towns and villages make this an easy weekend away for Aucklanders.
Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, North Island
New Zealand’s largest lake and the place to explore volcanoes, turquoise lakes and hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Rotorua, North Island
One of the most active geothermal regions in the world and a centre for Maori culture.
Napier, Hawkes Bay, North Island
The Art Deco capital of New Zealand after being rebuilt when the city was devastated by an earthquake in 1931. Beautiful seaside city.
Wellington, North Island
The capital of New Zealand, and often described as the San Fransisco of the South Pacific. Lots to do without leaving the city, and allow at least two days if you want to fully explore Te Papa, the National Museum.
Abel Tasman National Park and Abel Tasman Coast Track, South Island
One of New Zealand’s Great Walks with many opportunities to photograph New Zealand’s natural beauty.
Kaikoura, South Island
Despite the 2016 earthquake that damaged the town and its shoreline, Kaikoura remains the best place in New Zealand to see watch whales.
Queenstown, Central Otago, South Island
New Zealand’s adventure capital and home to bungy jumping, jet boating, rafting, biking, climbing and skiing (as well as excellent food and nightlife).
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, South Island
These rivers of ice are among the most accessible glaciers in the world.
Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, South Island
The country’s tallest mountain is in a national park filled with glaciers, and flora and fauna of more than 300 species of plants and 40 species of bird.
Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, South Island
This world heritage site has some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, with the fiords of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds, and the chance to hike the Milford Track.
Source: New Zealand Holiday Travel