The 10 Best Things to Do in New Zealand

August 10, 2017 Leida Jutras

New Zealand (/njuːˈziːlənd/ ( listen); Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

1. Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa)

55 Cable St, Wellington 6011, New Zealand +64 4-381 7000
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa)

Experience the whole of New Zealand in one building! Te Papa is New Zealand's bold, innovative and interactive national museum. Explore the great treasures and stories of this country, its unique natural environment, Maori culture and taonga (treasures), dynamic art heritage, and its fascinating history. Te Papa is located on Wellington's spectacular waterfront. Open 10am to 6pm every day except Christmas Day. General admission is free.

Reviewed By Ron H - Panama City, Florida

This is a good museum overall - several interactive/learning exhibits. What was most impressive may well no longer be available by the time you get there. The Gallipoli Campaign exhibit, in partnership with Weta Studios (from the Lord of the Rings movies, etc.) was absolutely incredible!

2. Sky Tower

Corner Victoria and Federal Sts, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand +64 9-363 6000
Excellent
51%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 9 reviews

Sky Tower

Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere, this tower is more than 300 metres high. Offering stunning views, along with award winning restaurants, a gift shop and an opportunity to push your limits by walking the outside of the viewing platforms, or by jumping off from 192 metres above Auckland's CBD.

Reviewed By Alex D - London, United Kingdom

The Sky Tower was a great experience. The lifts were readily available and quick. The glass panel in the floor was a good touch. The views from the viewing platforms were superb. They keep you informed when and if there is anyboby going to do the jump. We were fortunate and got a couple of great shots of someone in mid air. Noit overly expensive and well worth a visit.

3. The Old Ghost Road

Lyell | Upper Buller Gorge, Westport 7825, New Zealand +64 3-280 8920
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 134 reviews

The Old Ghost Road

Experience an unforgettable adventure on The Old Ghost Road via our range of exciting new packages. Choose from one of our options and then sit back and let us help connect you with the magic of The Old Ghost Road.

Reviewed By Richard S - Auckland, New Zealand

Stunning multi day mountain bike ride - beautiful track, amazing scenery.
You certainly want to be prepared (with decent gear, fit legs and reasonable bike skills) - but the reward is a simply stunning ride. I would recommend having a couple of nights on the trail and really enjoying the trip and huts.

22 Macdonald Street, Geraldine 7930, New Zealand +64 3-693 7337
Excellent
98%
Good
2%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 106 reviews

Geraldine Observatory

Geraldine Observatory is one of New Zealands best private observatories. Operated by Peter and Wyn Aldous, the Observatory has a 14 inch, six inch refractor, four inch triplit refractor, all mounted on a Paramont ME mount in a large roll on roll off Observatory, a 11 inch HD Edge telescope in a domed Observatory as well as others. Peters main interest is super nova hunting (exploding stars)and sharing the joys of the night sky with members of the public. Peter has over 40 years experience as a amateur astronomer.Donations go to promoting outreach astronomy in South Canterbury.

Reviewed By chrissynz - Auckland

Thank you to previous travellers we found this amazing treasure of an attraction! Despite it being a cloudy evening, Peter had an amazing show available. Really enjoyed the evening, informative, interesting, mind blowing! Some amazing equipment! Entry by donation. Glad we opted for this Observatory rather than being ripped off at Tekapo!

5. Routeburn Track

Routeburn Road, Fiordland National Park, Te Anau, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand +64 3-249 7924
Excellent
88%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
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Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 539 reviews

Routeburn Track

Great Walks season is October - April (see website for exact dates). Outside this period facilities are greatly reduced and there are additional safety hazards to consider. Always check the website for changes that might affect your trip. See website for the price of accommodation on this track.

Reviewed By BEGO3791 - Madrid, Spain

First time in new Zealand and first great walk there. The scenery is always changing, from limestone Mountains to deep forest to rivers and lakes, ferns.... beautiful. First day amazing sunny day till Routeburn falls hut. Ranger very nice and hut well organized and comfortable. Second day cloudy, nice to walk but we couldn't enjoy the Mountains as much as we'd have liked it. We have to walk to Lake Howden hut cos there wasn't bunks available in lake Mackenzie. That day we walked many kilometers. You can do it but it is a long day walking. This hut is older than the first one. Ranger very nice too. Last day to the divide raining a lot and windy.

6. Te Awamutu Space Centre

5 Whitmore Street | Corner of Whitmore and Lyon Streets, Kihikihi 3800, New Zealand +64 7-870 1966
Excellent
96%
Good
4%
Satisfactory
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 82 reviews

Te Awamutu Space Centre

An inspiring educational attraction for all ages. Experience the world of space and astronomy through displays and interactive activities. Our centrepiece exhibit is a small but fascinating collection of artifacts from the American and Russian/Soviet space programmes. You'll also find informative displays about the Universe, the history of space exploration and scientific research. Use the interactive screens to see what's in the night sky, tour the Solar System, create your own orbital systems and more. Watch videos, ask us questions and just hang out chatting about space. We also have a small space shop featuring new and secondhand items.

Reviewed By peter_the_traveller4 - Deal, United Kingdom

Forget about glow worms and kiwi houses. If you want to give your kids (and yourself) a good half day out this is a must. There are plenty of interactive activities, virtual reality displays and quizzes for the kids and adults. I was rubbish at landing at landing a lunar module on the moon! Kids can even try on a space suit. How cool is that.
Special mention must be made of the Curator - Dave who is very helpful, friendly and above all knowledgeable. Please don't miss this place.

7. Marlborough Sounds

Picton, New Zealand +64 3-577 5587
Excellent
88%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 558 reviews

Marlborough Sounds

Reviewed By D P - Wellington, New Zealand

The Marlborough Sounds are a stunning place and quintessentially part of the real New Zealand. No good saying you’ve been to Auckland that’s not the real NZ. To experience NZ head down South and take in Gods own. Surround yourself if nature, bird song and stunning scenery. A trip here is a trip to remember and hold a place in your heart.

8. Otago Central Rail Trail

Alexandra, 9340, New Zealand +64 3-447 3271
Excellent
89%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 878 reviews

Otago Central Rail Trail

The Otago Central Rail Trail - New Zealand's Original Great Ride. Open all year round this cycleway takes you through 152kms of remarkable Central Otago landscape away from roads and vehicles, yet never far from the next town. Whether you start from Clyde or Middlemarch, the wide easy gradient is suitable for riders, walkers and cyclists of all ages. You may choose to go solo, or share the experience with friends, either way it's a trail of discovery best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Discover historic villages, enjoy local food and drink and the famous southern hospitality. As you travel through this untamed natural environment there is plenty to explore on and off the trail. Don't miss this 'must do' experience.

Reviewed By familyoz_10 - Melbourne, Australia

I rode this trail over 4 days Clyde to Middlemarch. We booked through Cycle Surgery and were really happy with everything. You do need to book ahead as this is a very popular ride and the accommodation gets booked out. We stayed at Antique Lodge (Clyde) Mandy's Accommodation (Omakau), Wedderburn Cottages, and The Hyde School. All the accommodation was great and the cafes and taverns along the ride had good quality food. If I was to do the ride again, I would do the curling in Naseby (everyone we spoke to thought that was worth it) and take the scenic train from Middlemarch to Dunendin and fly home from there. We are reasonably fit, aged between mid 40s - 60s, and found the day ride between Omakau and Wedderburn challenging as it is about 40kms uphill (mostly a slight gradient, but with the ride's second steepest at the end) on a thick gravel that offers some resistance. Take that day slowly! Other than that, all was pretty easy to navigate.

9. Pukekura Park

Liardet Street, New Plymouth, New Zealand +64 6-759 6060
Excellent
81%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park covers 52ha (128 acres) right in the heart of New Plymouth, Taranaki and is one of New Zealand's premier botanical Gardens. The park has an international Green Flag award and is a Garden of National Significance. With a diverse range of landscapes, the park features bush walks, formal Gardens, lakes, children's play areas, a sports area and a Tea House. The park includes the Fernery and Display Houses as well as the adjacent garden estate area of Brooklands, home to the acclaimed TSB Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Zoo. As a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, Pukekura Park lights up over the summer as the backdrop for the annual TSB Bank Festival of Lights. The park is free to enter and can be accessed from various streets including Liardet Street, Brooklands Road, Fillis Street, Rogan Street, Kaimata Street and List Street.

Reviewed By venetianintown - Warwickshire, United Kingdom

A well maintained park with good walks around the lake. There is a great deal to discover here so do visit and allow time to savour the atmosphere. You will need to activate the waterfall by depressing a switch nearby. Same with the Fountain. There is a comprehensive playground for all children. Themed areas and a wooden waterwheel can be found as you wander through. The cricket ground is interesting, circular with natural tiered Seating. The tea house enables you to linger longer. The icecream outlet sells Kapiti icecream. A grand Fernery will keep you absorbed with it’s tunnels and abundance of foliage.

29 Tancred Street | West Coast, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand +64 3-755 7575
Excellent
90%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 222 reviews

Wilderness Gallery

At the Wilderness Gallery award winning wildlife and landscape photographer Juergen Schacke's stunning photography is complemented by a variety of unique handcrafted giftware by handpicked New Zealand artists - jewellery, woodware, pottery, sculptures, bronze, stone all 100% New Zealand made. Artwork can be packed and shipped worldwide. Lately the Gallery has introduced new artwork from some of New Zealand finest artists: Marc Zuckerman MZ design contemporary woodware, Chris Weaver pottery, Jay Lloyd bronze artist, Mark Dimock wood carver /sculpturer. Aden Hoglund and Peter Bishop- jade carvers.

Reviewed By DarwinDude - Manawatu

We had a wonderful time in this gallery chatting with Juergen the charming creator and owner and left with some wonderful mementoes of our trip to the south island (we live in the north). Welcoming, passionate about NZ and very helpful - this place is a refreshing change from the bigger gallery emporiums that fill Hokitika. Go well guys.

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