When you think of New Zealand, do you picture long stretches of golden sandy beaches? Or perhaps it’s the epic powdered peaks of volcanic mountains? Stepping right off the pages of a Tolkien novel, New Zealand is a country of diverse landscapes, picturesque panoramas and stunning scenery.
In fact, with so much to see, you may not know where to start! So, here’s an (unofficial) list of New Zealand’s 7 natural wonders to get you inspired.
- Fiordland National Park: Majestic Fiords and Soaring Peaks
Fiordland National Park, located in the southwestern corner of the South Island, is a place of awe-inspiring beauty. Explore the iconic Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, where towering cliffs rise from the crystal-clear waters, and waterfalls cascade down sheer rock faces. Lose yourself in the untouched wilderness as you hike through ancient forests and witness the grandeur of the Southern Alps.
- Tongariro National Park: The Land of Volcanoes
Home to three active volcanoes, a visit to Tongariro National Park is a surreal experience. Embark on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a challenging trek that takes you through volcanic landscapes, past emerald lakes, and up to the summit of Mount Ngauruhoe, famously known as Mount Doom from “The Lord of the Rings” movies.
- Abel Tasman National Park: Golden Beaches and Turquoise Waters
For a taste of paradise, head to Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island. Here, golden sandy beaches meet clear turquoise waters, inviting you to swim, kayak, or simply relax under the warm New Zealand sun. Embark on the Abel Tasman Coast Track, a scenic coastal walk that unveils hidden coves, lush forests, and stunning viewpoints.
- Mt. Cook National Park: Where Mountains Touch the Sky
Prepare to be humbled by the magnificence of Mt. Cook (Aoraki), New Zealand’s tallest peak. Nestled within a rugged alpine landscape, Aoraki National Park offers unparalleled opportunities for hiking, mountaineering, and stargazing. Marvel at the glaciers that flow down from the mountains, explore the Hooker Valley and be captivated by the stunning night sky.
- Rotorua: Geothermal Wonders and Māori Culture
Located in the central North Island, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland and a vibrant hub of Māori culture. Witness bubbling mud pools and steaming geysers at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Immerse yourself in Māori traditions and experience a traditional hangi feast, where food is cooked in an earth oven. Don’t miss the opportunity to relax in the healing waters of the geothermal hot springs.
- Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers: Frozen Giants of the West Coast
Head to the West Coast of the South Island to witness the extraordinary Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These ancient rivers of ice carve their way through lush forests, creating a dramatic contrast of landscapes. Take a guided tour or embark on a heli-hiking adventure to walk on the glaciers’ icy surface and marvel at their ever-changing beauty.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves: An Underground Experience
Step into a magical world as you explore the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Glide through underground rivers and marvel at the mesmerizing glowworms that illuminate the darkness like a starry night sky. Take a boat tour or venture deeper into the caves for a truly enchanting experience that will leave you lost for words.
New Zealand has no shortage of natural wonders – from the spectacular sights listed here to the hidden gems you’re bound to discover along the way, each destination guarantees an unforgettable experience.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. Find her on LinkedIn or anywhere good coffee is served.