- Hell’s Gate (Tikitere)
Hell’s Gate is one of many, but probably New Zealand’s most famous, geothermal park. Located in Rotorua, Hell’s Gate is a sacred Maori site expanding 50 acres with mud pools, geysers, hot spring and the largest hot-water waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. Part of a bigger National Park, you can visit this thermal wonderland and also experience wildlife, rock climbing, spa days and various nature trails.
Fun fact: Mud found in sulphur waters my smell terrible but it is actually really good for your skin and hair! If you go for a dip, be sure to rub some onto yourself!
- Bay of Islands
The most popular holiday destination in NZ, the Bay of Islands offers stunning views of all 144 islands found here, in the Far North District. There are many secluded bays, sandy beaches and water activities – paradise. You can also find incredible marine life, including dolphins and whales. Many people island-hop with sailing yachts.
Fun fact: The first European to visit the area was Captain Cook, who named the region in 1769.
- Franz Josef Glacier
If you’re on the South Island, please visit Franz Josef Glacier. It is one of the world’s most accessible glaciers, allowing visitors to walk up to the foot of it on guided or unguided tours. You can also take a helicopter ride over it if you’d rather experience it this way. Located in a small service town, visiting this glacier is sure to offer a unique experience and sights you will never forget!
Fun fact: the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers flow around ten times faster than most valley glaciers.
- Milford Sound
Again, if you’re on the South Island, then Milford Sound – New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination – is an incredible sight to see. It is an impressive fiord with dramatic peaks raising 1692 metres high and dark blue waters. The area experiences regular downpours, which only makes the fiord more beautiful as you witness impressive waterfalls. Water activities, hiking and boat tours around the area are popular.
Fun fact: Milford Sound is actually incorrectly named. A “sound” is a large sea/ocean inlet larger than a bay and wider than a fiord, while Milford Sound is formed by the actions of glaciers.
If you like art deco architecture then Napier, located on the east coast of the North Island, is the place to visit. Most of Napier was leveled by an earthquake in 1931, so the city was actually rebuilt during the Art Deco era. It’s Mediterranean climate supports a vibrant cafe culture and excellent cuisine. The city embraces the vintage style and hosts an Art Deco Weekend annually, where visitors travel back in time to the 1930s.
Fun fact: The architecture found here is unlike any seen in any other city in the world.