Whether you want to explore ancient Māori culture, beautiful rolling landscapes, or thrilling city nightlife, New Zealand has it all. If you’re thinking of visiting the jewel of the Southern Hemisphere, here are six attractions you will surely want to visit.
In the beautiful New Zealand region of Hawke’s Bay lies the seaport city of Napier. It is famed for its Art Deco architecture, which was used in rebuilding the site after an earthquake destroyed it in 1931. Sunny Napier is also famous for its fresh gourmet food, so you will love lounging at restaurants while taking in the beauty of the city’s architecture. There are plenty of other things to do around Napier. You can take a tour to see Māori motifs on the buildings, visit the popular farmers’ markets, explore the hiking trails and the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, or get a suntan at the gorgeous Napier Beach.
2. SkyCity Casino
If you take a trip to Auckland, you can’t miss the Sky Tower. Quite literally. Standing at 1,067-feet-tall, it is one of Auckland’s most iconic landmarks. It is also the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s worth taking a trip to the top to get an incredibly breathtaking view of the city skyline, but if you’re a keen gamer, you will also want to visit the SkyCity Casino located inside the tower. With more than 150 table games and 2,100 gaming machines, you’re sure to have a lot of fun at this towering casino. And if you’re still in the mood for casino games once you have left the establishment, you can always hit an online casino like Casumo to play all your favorite games like roulette, blackjack, and slots. The Sky Tower complex also includes a 700-seat theater, bars, restaurants, and two hotels.
3. Mount Eden
While in Auckland, you do not want to miss the conical hill of Mount Eden. At 643-feet-tall, it is the highest natural point on the Auckland isthmus, which means the view from the top is simply out of this world. The sacred crater is 160-feet-deep and is known as the Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho, the Food Bowl of Mataaho, who is the god of things hidden in the ground. The majestic crater was formed after the volcano erupted around 28,000 years ago. Because the site is holy, you are not allowed to enter the crater itself. But the site is a fascinating place to explore.
4. Transport World
This museum in Invercargill claims to be the largest automotive museum in the world. Packed inside a 15,000-square-feet warehouse, you will find classic cars, incredible tractors, vintage petrol pumps, and a lot more. With a miniature movie theater, play areas for kids, and plenty of first-class exhibits, Transport World is a must-visit for petrol-heads, but it can also be enjoyed by all the family.
5. Te Puia
The famous geyser of Te Puia erupts up to 20 times every day, in which hot water is catapulted nearly 100 feet into the air. It erupts in tandem with the other geyser on the site, the Prince of Wales’ Feathers. If you want to feel the incredible power of Mother Nature, you won’t be disappointed by Te Puia. At the site, you can also visit a kiwi conservation center and the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, where you can watch students creating traditional Māori artisan items.
6. Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Every evening at this bird sanctuary in Ōamaru, you can see the blue penguin colony surfing and wading to the shore, as the penguins head toward their nests in a stone quarry near the water’s edge. If you want to see beautiful creatures close up in New Zealand, the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony is the place to visit. You get a great view with a general-admission ticket, but it’s worth paying extra for a premium ticket to get even closer. The best time of year to visit is between November and December when you can see up to 250 blue penguins.
7. Waitangi Treaty Grounds
If you want to connect with the indigenous history of New Zealand, there is no better place to visit than the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. The site is of historical importance because it is where, in 1840, the first 43 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the British Crown. Later, a total of 500 Māori chiefs signed the document. There is much to see around the grounds, including the Treaty House, the carved meeting house of the Whare Rūnanga, and the Museum of Waitangi. But the highlight of a trip to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is getting to see a live spirited cultural performance.
8. Orakei Korako
With stunning scenery, active geysers, and one of only two geothermal caves on the planet, you cannot afford to miss the thermal fields of Orakei Korako. Located in Taupo, the site is most famous for its colorful silica terraces. If you are feeling fit, you can take an hour-and-a-half hike around the terraces’ boardwalks and stairs. And you will not want to miss out on taking the short side track to Ruatapu Cave with its jade-green pool, which was apparently used as a mirror in times of old by Māori women preparing for rituals.
9. Milford Sound
Rudyard Kipling once said Milford Sound was the eighth Wonder of the World, and indeed, you will be bowled over by the natural beauty of the wondrous fjord. Located in the Fiordland National Park World Heritage Site on New Zealand’s South Island, the fjord has some of the most outstanding scenery in the country. Alongside the awesome glaciers, you can explore rainforests, vast lakes, towering mountains, and offshore islands around the area of the park. If you enjoy hiking, you will be in paradise. Just head out to the Milford Track. Another popular way of exploring Milford Sound and the surrounding area is sea kayaking.