Queenstown

9 Reasons to Visit New Zealand Now!

New Zealand is easily one of my favourite places on the entire earth! This tiny country off the east coast of Australia holds so many amazing wonders that you would be hard pressed not to find something you love. The people are very friendly and helpful, the food is surprisingly delicious and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking everywhere you turn. Here are just a few reasons why I think you should visit New Zealand as soon as you possibly can!

1. Wellington – In addition to being New Zealand’s capitol city, Wellington is also the southernmost capitol city in the world. As if that weren’t enough, Wellington is also considered to be the culinary and cultural capital of New Zealand. It is the country’s third most populous urban area and is said to have more cafes, bars and restaurants per capita than New York. Wellington is also fuelled by some of the strongest coffee you’ll ever find! Take the cable car up to the gorgeous botanical gardens and walk back down through the beautiful blooms, visit Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum or indulge in some of the cities fine cuisine.

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Wellington’s Cable Car

2. Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes – Punakaiki is a small community on the West Coast of the New Zealand’s South Island. Part of the Paparoa National Park, the Pancake Rocks are the most visited natural attraction on the West Coast. The rocks and blowholes are easily accessed by the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes Walk right in the center of Punakaiki. The walk is easy and mostly flat, with a few stone stairs along the way. While the walk can probably be completed in about 20 minutes, I recommend allowing at least 30-45 minutes to do the whole track, as you’ll want to stop several times to watch the blowholes perform their magic.

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Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowholes

3. Glenorchy – Often referred to as the gateway to Paradise, Glenorchy is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipua on New Zealand’s South Island, approximately 45 minutes from Queenstown. This idyllic little village is only home to about 350 residents, but serves as the gateway to some of New Zealand’s best hiking trails and Middle‑earth experiences. That’s right, set against a background of native beech forest and towering mountain ranges, Glenorchy’s spectacular landscapes have been used in many scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as the Narnia movies. There are no remnants from the movies, though, as New Zealand made Peter Jackson promise to return the land to the exact state it was in before filming started.

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Glenorchy, New Zealand

4. Queenstown – Sitting on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu with the dramatic Southern Alps as it’s backdrop, Queenstown is one of the most stunning cities in all of New Zealand. It’s said that Queenstown was named by gold prospectors who were captivated by the beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers and pronounced it a town “fit for a Queen.” I’d surely agree! Queenstown is also known as the adventure capital of the world. You can bungee jump off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, jet-boat on the Shotover River or ski on the slopes of The Remarkables. If you’re not that adventurous you can still ride the gondola up to Bob’s Peak for stunning views over the city or take a tour of the local wine regions for more spectacular scenery.

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Views over Queenstown from Bob’s Peak

5.  Fox Glacier – Located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Fox Glacier is a 13 kilometer/8.1 mile long temperate maritime glacier, named in 1872 after a visit by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir William Fox. Fox Glacier offers the amazing experience to set foot on a glacier, either by helicopter, taking a guided glacial hike or a combination of both. Unfortunately, the weather was not suitable during my visit so I didn’t get the chance to experience either. However, I did get a sighting of the glacier at the end of a very cool hike through what felt like a different planet. I still haven’t actually set foot on a glacier, though, so that’s still on my bucket list for my next visit!

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Hiking for a glimpse of Fox Glacier

6. Rotorua – Located on New Zealand’s North Island, Rotorua is renowned for two things – geothermal activity and Maori culture. Don’t be alarmed by the smell of rotten eggs in the air. That’s caused by the sulfur from the hot springs and has earned the city the nickname “Sulphur City.” Eventually, you’ll get used to it. Don’t miss taking a soak in the hot springs at the Polynesian Spa. Plan to visit Te Puia’s Whakarewarewa Valley, where you will see bubbling mud pools and a living Maori village. And finally, make sure you take part in a traditional Maori Hangi feast, which is very similar to a Hawaiian luau. The food is steamed for hours in an underground stove, fueled by coals and the areas natural hot springs, and dinner is followed by a traditional cultural performance.

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Rotorua’s Hot Springs

7. Truman Track – Located just 3km/1.8 miles north of the Punakaiki Visitor Center, the Truman Track was one of my favourite experiences in all of New Zealand. This easily accessible, 30 minute round trip hike offers the best of New Zealand all packed into one short walk. Starting in native forest, the easy track then makes its way through tall flax bushes. Keep your eyes peeled for native birds, such as the ground-dwelling weka. The track officially ends at a lookout point where you can view the Tasman Sea and gorgeous Truman Beach, but if you’re daring, you can actually continue further and visit Truman Beach via the small staircase near the end of the track for spectacular views like the one in the photo below. Just be careful, and watch out for strong, sudden waves at high tide!

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Stunning views at the end of Truman Track

8. Marlborough Wine Region – Located at the top of the South Island, the region around Marlborough consistently ranks as one of the sunniest and driest regions in all of New Zealand, making it the countries largest wine growing region. In fact, 75% of New Zealand’s total wine production comes from Marlborough, the majority of which is the country’s world-renowned sauvignon blanc.  The Marlborough sauvignon blanc happens to be my favorite wine in the world, so there was no way I was missing the chance to explore this amazing region. The region is scattered with over 30 wineries and is as beautiful as it is delicious. Sign up for a wine tour by car or bike, or create your own itinerary!

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New Zealand’s Marlborough Wine Region

9. Tasman Abel National Park – Located on the North end of New Zealand’s South Island, Tasman Abel National Park is New Zealand’s smallest National Park. What it lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in beauty! Whether you want to sit and relax on a golden sand beach, take a hike through the lush green forest or kayak on the turquoise blue waters, this National Park will deliver. Take a ferry from neighboring Kaiteriteri Beach to access any of the parks stunning beaches as a starting point for your Abel Tasman adventure. And don’t forget your sunscreen, your camera and snacks!

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Abel Tasman National Park

Did you know? Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have any dangerous or poisonous animals (with the one tiny exception of the Katipo Spider).

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47 Comments

  1. I’d love to explore New Zealand one day, it looks like such an interesting place!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m heading down in March, can’t wait!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Have such a great time!

      Like

  3. You’ve convinced me to visit New Zealand for the natural beauty and win. But how is the coffee???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Great question! It’s surprising delicious! Lots of great little coffee shops all over!

      Like

  4. Loved them all, especially Bob’s Peak at Queenstown. If the flight were not so long and expensive, I would be on the plane right now. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. New Zealand is one of those places that I have meant to get to and haven’t yet. These pics make me want to move it to the top of my list! I’ve heard nothing but great things.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jing

    I’ve long wanted to visit New Zealand for its landscapes and natural wonders. From your list, I find Rotorua the most interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Currently in Rotorua at the moment and am making sure everything else listed here is on my list of must-sees because it all looks amazing. So much to see on the South Island! I’m so excited to finally get down there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Ahhh so jealous! Yes, the South Island is even more magical than the North. Enjoy your trip!

      Like

  8. Tami

    New Zealand is already on my bucket list. I should be going within a few years. The pancake rocks look amazing! Well, gosh, all of these places sounded amazing! Can’t wait to go!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Vicki Garside

    New Zealand is such a beautiful country! I’ve visited both the North and South Islands, but totally missed Fox Glacier. I need to go back for that glass walkway – the views would be incredible!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great just what I need more reasons to realise im an idiot for not visiting New Zealand yet. Serious note now!, I’m really going to look into going to New Zealand next year. Thanks for sharing, looks incredible.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beerandcroissants

    New Zealand is an under rated, beautiful country. These are all my fave locations too. I love Christchurch too and it’s suffered so much in the last few years with terrible earthquake devastation. I went to Fox Glacier many, many years ago (when film was something still being used) and we lost all of our photos at the developers. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Everyone I know who’s been to New Zealand loved it. I think it’d be a great destination for my family and I’d love to go. It looks like a great place to spend some time outdoors! It’s such a long flight away though 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Your pictures are just so nice. I would love to visit now!!! (But probably will not make it this year 😦 ) The Tasman Abel NP seems to be a true little gem.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I need to go back to NZ and check out the North Island!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Excellent reasons! As a Kiwi myself, I absolutely love the Abel Tasman National Park, the waters are so beautiful! As for Queenstown and Wanaka, we want to move there one day. I grew up in Christchurch so have quite a love for the Banks Peninsula area.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. There is just so much to see and do in New Zealand – your list could probably have stretched to 90 things! I’ve been there three times so far, and can only tick two things off your list. Can’t wait to get back there again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      That’s exactly how I feel Josie. I’ve been twice and still feel the need to go back!

      Like

  17. The Roaming Renegades.com

    Thanks for sharing, this list will definitely come in handy for when we visit New Zealand later this year! Lots of very interesting suggestions on here!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      Ohhh lucky! I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

      Like

  18. New Zealand sounds like it has so much beauty to offer! I’m really attracted to the national park you mentioned. Seems like it has a bit of everything I like. I’d probably spend all day at the beach, though! Hopefully, one day soon we’ll get to visit this great place.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I loved my trip to New Zealand, but it was waaaay too short (only 5 days). I’ll definitely have to go back, because I only visited one place on your list!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      That’s how I felt after my first visit. Which one did you make it to?

      Like

  20. nomadicfoot

    New Zealand is really high on my list. i have already sent some of my guest to New Zealand. Wish to make it soon for myself. really good post all the perfect reason to visit.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. New Zealand is pure magic. The landscapes are so amazing. We can’t wait to check out places like Glenorchy and Fox Glacier and all the rest later this year. How long of visit do you recommend for the average foreigner?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      As long as possible. I went fir two weeks and still want to go back and see more. If you have three weeks do it!

      Like

  22. I am definitely holding on to this for future reference! We’re already talking about where to travel in 2018 and New Zealand is in the running. I have wanted to go for so long!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. That photo of Bob’s Peak is stunning! I have wanted to visit New Zealand for ages, this makes me want to go even more! When I can afford the flights I will go there for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Great list! I sadly skipped out on the Pancake rocks because the weather so so terrible the day I passed by (and I was without a rain jacket, GASP, I know). You’ve given me some inspiration to keep traveling this beautiful country!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The natural beauty and landscape looks surreal.
    The view from queenstown is so captivating. I would love to explore New Zealand someday soon.
    Brilliantly captured.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I would absolutely love to go!! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. My favourites in New Zealand were Queenstown and Milford Sound…both utterly, indescribably stunning. One can just keep staring at the scenery forever. Would love to go back again.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. New Zealand is such a vast beauty and it’s been on my bucket list for ages. It’s too bad the flight is so crazy long to get there from Canada. I’ll get there one of these days! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      You should! It’s So worth the flight!

      Like

  29. Many of my friends have traveled or are going to Australia/New Zealand in the past few months. I am growing more and more jealous! Your pictures are gorgeous. Queenstown looks beautiful and I too would love to step on a glacier. Have you ever thought about traveling to Antarctica? I am more and more wanting to travel there too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wellcaffeinatedtraveller

      I would absolutely love to visit Antarctica! If only it weren’t so expensive to get there!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m just going to pine for it and hope someone who is independently wealthy can finance my adventures haha.

        Liked by 1 person

  30. New Zealand is so beautiful, with lots of natural unspoiled beauty. I’ve always wanted to visit but you’ve certainly inspired me to book a trip next year for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Hey there, I absolutely loved NZ, although I only had time to do the North Island. Rotorua and the Tongariro Alpine Crossing were my favourites. Reading your post makes me wanna go back very soon to discover the South Island! I will keep your advice in mind! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks for suggesting these places to visit. I don’t know much about New Zealand, just that it’s beautiful and on my list! 🙂

    It’s good to know a bit more in detail about where to go and what to expect.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. You have convinced me to go to New Zealand! Tasman Abel National Park looks absolutely stunning. Need to start planning a visit… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I need 0 reasons, it’s one of my dream destinations. Your list just confirms that. Nice photos too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  35. It looked like we’d done every single one of your reasons to visit New Zealand, but unfortunately we missed out on the Marlborough Wine Region and Tasman Abel National Park. There’s so much to see in New Zealand and only so much time. We did see a lot on our 1 month road trip, and we loved every second of it in our tiny campervan. Can I add 2 more reasons? The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (our favourite NZ hike) and Wanaka (the cutest little town in NZ).

    Liked by 1 person

  36. chasingaplate

    Great list! We might be biased (being from NZ) but boy it’s an amazing place to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Fantastic list! I went in March 2016 and can’t wait to go back. I’ve just started writing a Travel Guide series for NZ, and it’s bringing back all the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

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