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10 Epic New Zealand Points of Interest

There are many New Zealand points of interest. It is a country where you can surround yourself with beautiful scenery just by walking out your front door.

As soon as you step foot in the lush green surroundings of this beautiful land you feel a sense of freedom and the rich history of this country.

There’s good reason behind that, the descendants of Polynesian explorers, the Maori, settled in New Zealand over a thousand years ago.

The Maori name given to New Zealand is Aotearoa, which means the Land of the Long White

And if you visit New Zealand during the best time of the year you’ll find spellbinding landscapes that leave traveler basking in awe. Hiking in New Zealand is unforgettable.

Let’s explore some popular New Zealand points of interest throughout the North and South Islands.

Awesome Points of Interest in New Zealand

New Zealand: North Island Points of Interest


Welcome to the largest city in New Zealand! The city of sails is also typically the main transport hub, so don’t it is likely that your arrival destination is Auckland.

Landing in Auckland is a great place to begin your journey through Aotearoa!

The city has an abundance of museums, shopping stores and restaurants to explore.

This area is a sharp contrast to the rest of the locations listed below because it is more mainstream even though it is less densely populated.

When you start venturing a bit, you see beaches and volcanic environments leading towards the lusher areas that make up New Zealand.

Here are a few important Auckland New Zealand Points of Interest that you should not miss.

Auckland New Zealand Points of Interest

Sky Tower
Waiheke Island
The Harbour

Check out this site to see more Auckland New Zealand Points of Interest.

Bay of Islands

A perfect name for a region that has 144 islands floating between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula. This is the prime location if you’re looking for some aquatic activities.

Plus it is only three hours or so (by car) from Auckland.

Whether you’re searching to water ski or go boating, island hopping is a breeze at the Bay of Islands.

You may decide to swim with the dolphins that reside in the waters. Or make your way to Haruka Falls, which are in a rare shape of a horseshoe (maybe a sign of good luck?).

You can also learn about the history of these beautiful surroundings and catch a cultural kapa haka performance when you visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

This is New Zealand points of interest that I highly recommend visiting.

Lake Taupo

Have you ever seen Singapore on a map? Then you know how big Lake Taupo on the North Island of actually is. This locale, much like the rest of New Zealand, is host to spectacular natural scenery.

Any backpacker can view Lake Taupo in a variety of ways. One suggestion is that you can take a kayak and row your way to Mine Bay to locate Maori Rock Carvings.

These historical pieces of art can only be reachable by water, and they are amazing to see up close and personal.

Or you can take a walk along the Tongariro Crossing to view three volcanoes: Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro, and Mount Ngauruhoe.

If you like to ski, Mount Ruapehu has some nice ski fields during the winter. After gazing at the volcanic mountains, you may want to consider checking out Huka Falls.

This waterfall is a true presentation of Mother Nature’s power and emits over 220,000 liters of water per second!

Plus, it is the cheapest place to Skydive in New Zealand. I mean “ Why not jump out of a pink airplane and get a view of the beautiful area from 15,000 feet?”.

Waitomo Caves

Have you ever been fascinated by fireflies? Intrigued by the iridescent light that emits from glow sticks?

Then the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves hold something so magical, you’ll have to see it believe it. Covering the limestone interior are masses of worms. I know it may sound more like something from a Stephen King novel, but trust me these are not just any worms. These are glow worms.

Little creatures that illuminate the entirety of the alcove as if it has been bathed in blue tinted candlelight. You can glide along the water by boat and gaze at the mystical sight yourself.

A truly wondrous sight that will leave you breathless.

If you want a more in-depth account of the glow worm cave check out my experience.

The Shire

J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.” And look no further! The Shire is the place to be, especially if you just so happen to be a fan of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings franchise.

New Zealand, most specifically the Shire where they filmed many scenes for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogy.
The Hobbit homes are still constructed, and the whole has the feel as if it was designed for future hobbits to return to the residences.

Clothes are hung upon wires. Rocking chairs sit in front of doors. There is even a pint-sized bar to relax in.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Tolkien, there is something special about visiting the shire in New Zealand.

It’s rustic charm, and beautiful surroundings are still a sight to behold and it is a great location for a relaxing stroll. And see some places where Lord of the Rings and where Hobbit was filmed.

Tongariro National Park

Mt Doom Tongariro Alpine Crossing

You investigated Mt. Tongariro at Lake Taupo, but now it is time to take on the larger exploration of the National Park which was gifted by Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV to the nation back in 1887.

Inside of the park awaits stunning volcanoes, spectacular meadows and dazzling hot springs. Perfect for backpackers is the lovely accommodations provided along the North Circuit by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Here, you can unwind in the huts that they have available, or you can camp at one of the sites at the nearby Whakapapa Village.

The historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel is also another lodging pick, but I would suggest making reservations especially during peak season.

New Zealand Points of Interest on the South Island


Abel Tasman National Park

The south island is perfect for a road trip through New Zealand. On the opposite island, lies another National Park (almost as unique as some of the national parks on our list of Things to do in Moab Utah) where most visitors venture to see the divine coastline.

Sprawled along the park are gorgeous beaches that are being met by cerulean waters.

At This is one New Zealand points of interest where you need to take a cool dip in cool waters and swim along with seals or other wildlife.

You can choose what trails you want to march along and if you become exhausted water taxis are available to haul you back to the opposite shoreline.

Another great option for backpacking Abel Tasman is that to take a break and spend a couple nights in the park at one of the DOC huts or campsites.

You could treat yourself and stay at one of the more luxurious lodges, but in New Zealand it is always important to watch your budget and camping is always a great way to become one with nature.

Milford Sound

Rudyard Kipling once referred to Milford Sounds as ““The eighth wonder of the world. This New Zealand points of interest are nature in its purest form. Glaciers are still standing since there birth during the Ice Age.

Mountains surround the area and waterfalls decorate their sides. Even the waters hold creatures such as dolphins or penguins. Every direction you turn you are met with a gorgeous view.

You can also include a visit to the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory on your to-do list if you want a deeper look.

Plunging 30 feet deep lies the only underwater observatory in New Zealand, which allows travelers a great opportunity to check out a 360-degree view of the underwater environment below.


(My Favorite New Zealand Points of Interest)

There are many Queenstown New Zealand points of interest that you cannot miss. This area on the Southwest side of the south island has claimed the label as the adventure capital of the world.

Year round activities can are easily found on this spot of the island. Anything ranging from bungee-jumping all the way to the Shot Over Canyon Swing, are viable options.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then Queenstown will have something to quench your thirst for heart-pounding action.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a backpacker that is leaning towards peace and relaxation, Queenstown has you covered.

Queenstown is a hub for backpackers on a long holiday or a working holiday visa, and the atmosphere is always lively.

This place is not afraid to become in touch with its serene side.

Hot air balloon tours, luxury day spas and wineries throughout offer an alternative way to experience the region. It is also an awesome town to go snowboarding during the season.

Here are a few Queenstown New Zealand points of interest and day trips that you cannot miss.

Queenstown Points of Interest

Milford Sound – One of the most beautiful places in New Zealand.
Bungee Jumping
Lake Wakatipu
Coronet Peak
Quad Trips

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

Another significant spot to check out are the gigantic glaciers that reside on the South Island.

The world may constantly be talking about climate change, but the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are maintaining their formidable enormity. They receive at least 30 meters of snowfall each year.

Ice coats the frigid waters below that lead towards the Tasman Sea, but backpackers have to be aware that at lower altitudes the glacier surface does experience melting and can be less dense.

If you aren’t used to trekking along frozen landscapes, a  small group tour or even a helicopter tour may be a good idea.

Lake Wanaka

If a ski-town feel is what you’re searching for, Lake Wanaka is a popular destination for most who desire a winter escape. They have amazing ski fields to take on, and even the lakes have been carved out by glaciers. Lake Wanaka is also a nice retreat when the mountain sides aren’t decorated with snow. This particular region just so happens to hold the largest River on the South Island, the River Clutha.

The emerald green, fish-filled waters are a scenic viewpoint to have a nice picnic alongside.

If you happen to be there in 2016, you may be able to catch the Warbird Airshow that happens every two years.

Another unique New Zealand point of interest is the Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World. This is a compilation of odd buildings and optical illusions that will throw you for a loop.

Overall, New Zealand is a stretch of land that envelopes the beauty of nature. Backpacking New Zealand is perfect for adventures junkies, and outdoor lovers. New Zealand captures a lovely balance between the culture that began there and the lively activities that continue to entice people from around the world to visit.

Although New Zealand may be a large expanse of land impossible to cover in only a few days. New Zeland always leaves us travelers with a reason to return and the urge to discover more of New Zealand’s secrets.

The best part is that adventure and treats are waiting to be explored whichever direction you choose to venture in and so many points of interest on both the North and the South Islands.

These new Zealand points of interest will get you started on your epic travel adventure. For more cool things in the world check out these points of interest in Colorado.

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3 thoughts on “10 Epic New Zealand Points of Interest”

  1. Your info on the glaciers is out of date. Unfortunately they are receding at an alarming rate. The only way you can walk on them now is via expensive helicopter trips.

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