The Last Samurai; Avatar; Tintin; District 9; Zorro; Mad Max Thunderdome; Chronicles Of Narnia; King Kong; The Hobbit; Lord Of The Rings; and, weirdly enough, Australia. There is a reason why Hollywood seems to use the New Zealand landscape as its default backdrop and that is because it is absolutely, mind-blowingly, breath-snatchingly beautiful. Seriously, this small little country tucked away at the bottom of the globe is like nowhere else on earth. Mountains, lakes, glaciers, beaches, coves and amazing cities. That is what makes it so hard to plan a trip here; there is just too much to choose from.
So, to help you out a little bit, we have come up with the essential list of places you have to visit while in the land of the long white cloud.
The internet is littered with travel blogs all claiming to have the ultimate bucket-list, each one varying from the next. However, about 94.3% of all these bloggers cite Milford Sound as one of their must-have adventures. To get the most out of this place, we suggest you arrive there on Royal Caribbean cruise because there is no better way to take in the jagged cliffs, mesmeric waterfalls, mysterious fogs and vast stretches of lush green than from the water itself. Besides, what better way could you arrive on these magical shores than to step off a giant boat. Very King Kong.
Everyone should spare a day to visit this marine reserve tucked away on the Coromandel Peninsula. Yes, it is popular with locals and tourists alike, but the fact it is only accessible by walking thirty-minutes along a little track (or parachute) makes it special. Winding your way through the bush and past breathtaking cliffs before you stumble onto this magical stretch of sand really does add to the allure. All that’s left to do is soak up the sun and swim in the sea.
Tongariro National Park
Located on the North island, what makes this place (probably) quite different from every other park you have ever been to is the fact it has three active volcanoes, including the one that played Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings. There is a wealth of activities and things to see up here, but the thing you should absolutely do is walking the Alpine Crossing Trail, which goes past the Emerald Lakes and bubbling mud-pools until you eventually make it to the Red Crater. Oh, yeah, she’s active alright.
This gorgeous little island is sat slap bang in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf. What makes this place such a hot spot is the fact it is tantalisingly close to Auckland, yet offers its own microclimate of warm and dry weather. Yeah, there is a reason why this is a fan favourite among the city dwellers. As for the place itself, well, there are emerald waters that surround it, a plethora of sandy beaches and a ton of delicious wineries. Couple all that with its gorgeous restaurants and splashes of culture (there are lots of fun art galleries) and you have yourself all the ingredients for a great weekend away.
P.S – This post was originally published on the 7/09/2017 and updated on the 22/8/2019. You might also like to read more about New Zealand here.