Written by Karen HastingsNov 19, 2019We may earn a commission from affiliate links () Nature crafted New Zealand with the surreal beauty of a movie set. Few destinations boast so many staggering natural wonders packed into such a small area. Snow-capped peaks, sparkling coves, coastal glaciers, rain forests, fjords, and fish-filled rivers are some of the treasures travelers can explore.
Thanks to its dramatic topography, New Zealand is a hot spot for adrenaline-fueled sports. White water rafting, luging, jet boating, heli-skiing, skydiving, hiking, and mountain biking round out the list of outdoor adventures, and the country is home to one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. Strategically, New Zealand is a breeze to travel around.
For more ideas on things to do, read our list of the top attractions in New Zealand. Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, South Island A World Heritage Site, Fiordland National Park protects some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Glaciers sculpted this dramatic landscape, carving the famous fjords of Milford, Dusky, and Doubtful Sounds.
Not surprisingly, the park is a haven for hikers with some of the country's best hiking, including the famous Milford Track. Sea kayaking is a popular way to explore the fjords, and visitors can also enjoy a scenic flight over the park for a bird's-eye view of its staggering beauty.
More than 144 islands dot the glittering bay, making it a haven for sailing and yachting. Penguins, dolphins, whales, and marlin live in these fertile waters, and the region is a popular sport-fishing spot. Visitors can sea kayak along the coast, hike the many island trails, bask in secluded coves, tour Cape Brett and the famous rock formation called Hole in the Rock, and explore subtropical forests where Kauri trees grow.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in the Bay of Islands Queenstown, South Island Snuggled between the shores of shimmering Lake Wakatipu and the snowy peaks of the Remarkables, Queenstown is New Zealand's adventure capital and one of the country's top destinations for international visitors. Bungee jumping, jet boating, white water rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and downhill skiing are just some of the adrenaline-fueled things to do here, and visitors can explore the stunning alpine scenery on the excellent network of hiking trails.
It's also a great base for sightseeing trips to the Central Otago region, where visitors can explore gold-mining towns and the Middle Earth scenery from the popular Lord of the Rings movies. Accommodation: Where to Stay in Queenstown Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park, North Island In the center of the North Island and just a few kilometers from glittering Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, lies Tongariro National Park.
One of the oldest national parks in the world, Tongariro is a land of dramatic beauty, with towering volcanoes, turquoise lakes, arid plateaus, alpine meadows, and hot springs. A highlight of the park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most popular day walks in the country. Fun things to do here include camping, enjoying the park's many walks and hiking trails, and spending time in its interesting visitor center.
This is a land where the earth speaks. Boiling mud pools, hissing geysers, volcanic craters, and steaming thermal springs betray the forces that birthed much of New Zealand's dramatic topography. Visitors can take a walking tour of these geothermal wonders and soak in steaming mineral springs while visiting a variety of interesting attractions in order to learn about the region's rich Maori history and culture.
Sky-diving, luging, and mountain biking are some of the activities on offer. Trout fishing is also popular, and Rotorua is the gateway to the ski fields of Mt. Ruapehu. Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular tourist attraction with colorful hot springs and the famous Champagne Pool and Lady Knox Geyser.
Both of these rivers of ice flow from some of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps to near sea level, where the gentle coastal climate makes it easy for visitors to explore them on foot. Guided hikes lead to the contorted frozen landscape of ice caves and pinnacles at the foot of the glaciers, plus a series of fascinating hot pools.
Accommodation: Where to Stay near Franz Josef Glacier Abel Tasman National Park The Abel Tasman Coast Track in Abel Tasman National Park is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Winding along sparkling Tasman Bay, from Marahau to Separation Point, this scenic 51-kilometer hike lies in one of the sunniest regions of the South Island.