Top Places To Visit In New Zealand

These are the places that you simply cannot count out of your list. These places reflect the true beauty of the country. Here is the list of the top New Zealand tourist attractions:

1. Bay Of Islands

The beauty of island strands in Bay of Islands – the top New Zealand tourist attraction

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One of the most popular New Zealand tourist attractions, Bay of Islands is a haven for yachts and sailing boats. Pearls of 144 islands adorn the necklace of Bay of Islands. Kayak along the coast, hike the island trails, enjoy in secluded coves, and explore undisturbed forests. Abundant marine life including dolphins, whales, big marlin, and penguins make for a popular fishing spot. All of these together makes the spot an ideal tourist destination in New Zealand.

Ritz Factor: Yachting and sailing spot.
Don’t Miss: Hole in the Rock, the famous rock formation.

How to reach:

  • By air: Auckland Airport is well connected with major international cities.
  • By road: Bay of Islands is well connected with Auckland by road. Intercity buses and taxis operate from Auckland to Bay of Islands. The 193 km distance takes 3 hours to cover by state highways.

Best time to visit: February – March
Stay options near Bay of Islands: Paradise on the Strand, Sea Spray Suites, Veronica House, and Arcadia Lodge
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2. Tongariro National Park

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Towering volcanoes, untamed forests, arid plateaus, hot springs, herb fields, turquoise lakes and lush meadows pitch for a melodramatic scenery. One of the oldest national parks in the world and best places to visit in New Zealand, Tongariro is a land of stunning beauty and natural wonders.

Ritz Factor: Mineral rich turquoise water lakes and melodramatic sceneries
Don’t Miss: Taranaki Falls and lava line of volcanic eruptions

How to reach:

  • By air: Auckland (345 km) & Wellington (288 km) Airports are the closest you can get to Tongariro National Park by air from major cities across the world. Book a cab or take a transport bus from the airport to reach Whakapapa Village- the gateway to Tongariro National Park.
  • By road: Regular buses operate from Auckland to Tongariro National Park daily. By road it takes almost 7 hours to reach the national park.

Best time to visit: December – February

Stay options: Adventure Lodge and Motel, Chateau Tongariro Hotel, Pipers Lodge, and National Park Tavern

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3. Rotorua

The dramatic beauty of Rotorua with lava lines and steaming water

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Rotorua is one such geothermal region in the world which has a bit of dramatic topography. It is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Dramatic, isn’t it? Steaming geysers, boiling mud pools, hissing thermal springs and volcanic craters add to its already startling topography. Stroll around these geothermal wonders and soak in the minerals-rich water. Options like sky diving, luging, trekking, and mountain biking make it a must visit place in New Zealand for adventurous souls.

Ritz Factor: Geothermal wonders and red lava lines are dominant features of this tourist attraction in New Zealand.
Don’t Miss: Lady Knox Geyser, Champagne Pool, and Trout Fishing.

How to reach:

  • By air: Wellington Airport (450 km) is well connected with major cities across the world. Intercity bus services and cabs are available from airport to Rotorua.
  • By road: Coaches, shuttles and taxis run in tandem from Auckland to Rotorua. The ride via road takes a good 2.5 hours to reach Rotorua.

Best time to visit: November – April

Stay options: Millenium Hotel, Arista of Rotorua, Rydges Hotel, and Quest Hotel

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4. Napier In Hawke’s Bay

The picturesque town of Napier in Hawke's Bay is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand with Maori influence

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Gourmet food and Art Deco – These two things define the Napier region, one of the best places to visit in New Zealand to take a peek in the Maori World. Spanish Mission style architecture and Art Deco design buildings line this city. Some of them are even adorned with Maori motifs.

Ritz Factor: Gourmet dining scenes and Art Deco architecture.
Don’t Miss: Yearly Art Deco weekend in February.

How to reach:

  • By air: Napier’s Hawkes Bay Airport is almost 450 km from Auckland Airport, the international airport well connected with major airports across the world. Napier’s Hawkes Bay can be reached by local flights from Air New Zealand. By road it’s 5-hour drive.
  • By road: Overnight inter city buses operate from Auckland to Napier and take 6 to 8 hours usually.

Best time to visit: July – August

Stay options: The Country Hotel Napier, The Crown Hotel Napier, Art Deco Masonic Hotel, and Scenic Hotel Te Pania

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5. Auckland

Skyline of Auckland is a popular one among top tourist places in New Zealand

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Two shimmering harbors, the Manukau Harbor and the Waitemata Harbor, are the main jewels of the Auckland crown. Rainforests, wild hike trails, hidden coves, picturesque islands, and mysterious volcanoes make this city a perfect base for adventure lovers. Unusual black and gold beaches set the backdrop for amazing pictures and memories. It is quite popular among top New Zealand tourist places.

Ritz Factor: Black sand beaches, gold sand beaches, and two sparkling harbors.
Don’t Miss: Sky Tower – the 328 meters high tower to zoom in on the stunning expanse.

How to reach:

  • By air: One of the major cities in the North Island, Auckland is well connected with major international cities. Auckland is well-connected with most of the cities of New Zealand by road

Best time to visit: June – September

Stay options: Skycity Grand, Off Broadway Motel, Warkworth Lodge, and Parklane Motor Lodge

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6. Coromandel Peninsula

The expanse of Coromandel Peninsula is one of the must see places to see in New Zealand if you love the calm

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Coromandel Peninsula is one of the best places to visit in Northern New Zealand. A sublime world, away from the city’s hustle-bustle, Coromandel Peninsula is a paradise for complacent people who look for peace around them. The beaches here are famous for their golden sand. Indulge in hiking, kayaking, and skydiving at this New Zealand tourist attraction.

Ritz Factor: A surreal world away from the hustle.
Don’t Miss: Thames – a small city famous for its gold mining history; and the Hot Water Beach – dig your own hot water pool here.

How to reach:

  • By air: Auckland Airport is the closest you can get to Coromandel Peninsula by air. Local flights take 30 minutes to reach Whitianga (Coromandel Peninsula) from Auckland. The peninsula is 1.5 hour drive from Auckland by road.
  • By road: The scenic drive from Auckland, Hamilton or Rotorua Airport is very well connected by intercity buses and cars. The drive from Auckland takes almost 1.5 hour.
  • By ferry: Regular ferries operate from Auckland to Coromandel town. The 2-hour ride is one of the most exciting things to do in the North Island region.

Best time to visit: September – November

Stay options: Anchor Lodge Coromandel, Aotearoa Lodge, Beachfront Resort, and Beachside Resort Whitianga

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7. Queenstown

The picture perfect view of Queenstown – adventure capital of New Zealand

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Country’s adventure capital, Queenstown is one of the top tourist destinations of New Zealand. Bungee jumping, white-water rafting, jet boating, rock climbing, paragliding, hiking, downhill skiing, mountain biking; the list of adrenaline-fueled sports is endless at this top tourist attraction in New Zealand.

Ritz Factor: Loads and loads of adventure sports.
Don’t Miss: Explore gold mining towns and landscapes of snow-clad peaks of Remarkables Range.

How to reach:

  • By air: Queenstown International Airport on the South Island is well connected with other major cities across the globe.
  • By road: Intercity buses from Christchurch (354 km) and Auckland (1028 km) commute to Queenstown at regular intervals. Drive down to the city to enjoy one of the most scenic drives in New Zealand.

Best time to visit: June – August

Stay options: The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments, Heritage Queenstown, Coronation Lodge, and Adventure Queenstown Hostel

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8. Fiordland National Park

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Home to some of the best walking trails, Fiordland National Park boasts of spectacular beauty. Whispering waterfalls, offshore islands, stretched lakes, undisturbed forests, high mountain peaks and gushing cascades make sure that you don’t have a dull moment in here. The popular ways to explore the fjords are sea kayaking or flights for bird’s eye views to enjoy this must see place in New Zealand.

Ritz Factor: Home base to famous fjords and striking beauty.
Don’t Miss: Famous fjords of Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Doubtful Sound.

How to reach:

  • By air: Queenstown airport is the closest you can get to Fiordland National Park by air.
  • By road: State highway buses ply from Invercargill or Queenstown. The 156 km distance from Invercargill to Fiordland National Park takes around 3 hours by road.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Stay options: Fiordland National Park Lodge, Aden Motel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel Te Anau, and Mintaro Hut

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9. Fox And Franz Josef Glaciers

The stunning landscape of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier – the best place to visit in New Zealand

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The frozen landscapes of ice caves and mountain peaks at the foot of the glacier are a norm here.

Ritz Factor: World’s most accessible glaciers and best frozen sceneries
Don’t Miss: Guided hikes to these glaciers are an experience which you shouldn’t miss.

How to reach:

  • By air: Christchurch (5.5 hour drive) and Queenstown (5 hour drive) are the nearest and most accessible international airport from Franz Josef Glacier.
  • By road: Buses and cabs are available from Christchurch, Wanaka, and Queenstown to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Drive down to the place to experience a surreal driving experience

Best time to visit: June – August

Stay options: Aspen Court Franz Josef, YHA Franz Josef Glacier, Alpine Glacier Motel, and Franz Josef Oasis

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10. Abel Tasman National Park

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The vast expanse of Abel Tasman National Park is a hiker’s dream come true. Wilderness with weathered rock formations set the background of this national park. The Tasman Coast Trek is the icing on the cake. Clear beaches and sparkling water lure tourists to themselves. Snorkel, hike, trek, camp or relax; the options are numerous here. And the sightings of rare birds like blue penguins, wekas, wood pigeons, and oystercatchers can make a photographer’s day.

Ritz Factor: Exotic bird sightings and weathered rock formations.
Don’t Miss: Split Apple Rock – a gigantic granite boulder spliced in two.

How to reach:

  • By air: Nelson Airport is the nearest airstrip to Abel Tasman, which is pretty accessible from major cities across the world. The 60 km distance from Nelson to the national park can be covered in 1-hour via State Highway 60.
  • By road: Regular buses and cabs ply from Marahau (5-minute), Motueka (30-minute), Nelson (1-hour drive) to Abel Tasman National Park.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Stay options: Kimi Ora Eco Resort, Kaiteri Lodge, Abel Tasman Lodge, and Riwaka Retreat

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11. Mount Cook National Park

The breathtakingly beautiful Mount Cook National Park is one of the stunning tourist places in New Zealand

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This is the place where the legendary Edmund Hillary trained to ascend the heights of ginormos Mount Everest. A top destination for mountaineers, its pristine glaciers and serene beauty will catch your breathe. Surely justified for being among the top rated best places to visit in New Zealand!

Ritz Factor: A top mountaineering destination.

How to reach:

  • By air: Christchurch and Queenstown airports are 2.5 hour drive from Mackenzie region (Mount Cook National Park). The international airports in Christchurch and Queenstown are well connected with other major cities around the world.
  • By road: Intercity buses are available from Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington. Take a bus or book a cab to reach Mount Cook Village. The national park is a 15-minute drive from the village.

Best time to visit: July – Sptember

Stay options: The Westhaven, The Hermitage Hotel, Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier, and YHA Aoraki Mt Cook

12. Kaikoura

A whale diving in the sea at Kaikoura is among the top places to visit in New Zealand

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Seafood connoisseur, wildlife fanatics, bird watchers and natural beauty devotees find this place hard to resist. The taste of fresh crawfish, blue cod and mussels will tantalize your taste buds. Spotting of humpbacks, sperm whales, fur seals, dolphins and albatross, among the extensive wildlife here, against the stunning landscapes of Kaikoura, one of the top places to visit in New Zealand, will lift your spirits to a whole new level.

Ritz Factor: Tropical wildlife and best seafood.
Don’t Miss: At this New Zealand tourist attraction, whale watching tours and coastal hikes should not be missed.

How to reach:

  • By air: Christchurch International Airport is the nearest airstrip to Kaikoura, which is well connected with other major cities around the world. At a distance of 180 km from Christchurch, it takes 2.5 hours to reach Kaikoura by road.
  • By road: Intercity buses and cabs run in tandem from Christchurch to Kaikoura. Travel time is 2.5 hours.

Best time to visit: April, June, and October

Stay options: Alpine View Motel, Heritage Court Motor Lodge, Anchor Inn Motel, and Aspen Court Motel

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13. Milford Sound

milford sound cruise

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Termed as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound is one of those unmissable places to visit in New Zealand. Surrounded by glaciers, the landscapes of Milford Sound is amazingly beautiful. The best way to explore the place is by boat. Explore the waterfalls and wildlife around the area on a cruise. You can even go for kayaking tour if you want. This is the only underwater observatory in New Zealand. You can go 30 feet deep into the water and experience a 360 degrees underwater view.

Ritz Factor: Beautiful waterfalls and amazing wildlife.
Don’t Miss: The underwater experience at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory.
How To Reach:

  • By air: It is only 40 minutes away from Queenstown if you are to take a flight.
  • By road: It is a 2 hour 30-minute drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound.

Best time to visit: November to March
Stay options: Matakauri Lodge, Kamana Lakehouse, Mercure Resort, Reavers Lodge and Browns Boutique Hotel.

14. Waiheke Island

 Waiheke Island New Zealand

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Located just half n’ hour away from Downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island can be reached by boat and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New Zealand. This is the ideal place for all the wine lovers out there. The place is home to a number of vineyards.

Expert guides will guide you to the three vineyards where you can taste some of the finest quality wines.

Ritz Factor: The land for all wine lovers.
Don’t Miss: The delicious wine tours.
How To Reach:

  • By air: You can reach the island by a Sea Plane.
  • By road: It is a 35-minute ferry ride from Downtown Auckland. You can take your vehicle along with you on the car ferry.

Best time to visit: April
Stay options: The Boatshed, Enclosure Bay, Waiheke Island Resort and Tawa Lodge Waiheke Island.

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15. Christchurch

christchurch new zealand

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Christchurch is one of the main tourist attractions in New Zealand.You can witness the rebirth of the city everywhere. Starting from new buildings to shopping malls everything has been reconstructed again.

The main attractions of the city include the beautiful Botanic Gardens where you can enjoy the lovely walking tracks, conservatories, and horticulture displays. You can enjoy a scenic ride of the Mt. Cavendish on the cable car.

Ritz Factor: The beautiful city that came back to life.
Don’t Miss: The ride on the Christchurch Gondola over the top of the Mt. Cavendish.
How To Reach:

  • By air: The nearest airport is the Christchurch International Airport which is located 12 km away from the city center.
  • By road: You can opt for the daily passenger service that connects Christchurch and Dunedin via the state highway 1.

Best time to visit: March To May
Stay options: Accra Beach hotel and spa, Sunday hotel, Blue orchids beach hotel, Blue horizon hotel, and Dover beach hotel.

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16. White Island

White island NZ

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. It is the most active volcano in the country. This place is ideal for all the adventurous travelers who would like to make their trip a memorable one. . You can even take on the island by a boat. For the travelers who are fearless, they can even go for scuba diving around the White Island and explore the underwater vents of the volcanoes.

Ritz Factor: Scenic beauty of the active volcanoes.
Don’t Miss: Scuba diving around the White Island.
How To Reach:

  • By air: You can take a flight from Tauranga Airport and reach White Island within 30 minutes. The nearest airport is Whakatane Airport from where you can get daily flights to White Islands as well.
  • By road: You can take a car ride from any of the cities from the North Island like Auckland, Tauranga, and Hamilton.

Best time to visit: September to April.
Stay options: Medano island resort, Balai sa Baibai, Kurma eco beach lodge, and Paras beach resort.

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17. Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley

Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley

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The list of best places to visit in New Zealand is just incomplete without the mention of the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Here you can witness the Maori arts at the Maori arts and crafts institute which is located in Rotorua’s Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. At the Maori heritage center, you can enjoy the most popular ‘steam box’ meal which is prepared using ancient geothermal cooking techniques.One of the main attractions of the place is the largest active geyser, Pohutu which is located in the southern hemisphere.

Ritz Factor: The land of the Maori culture and heritage.
Don’t Miss: Exploring the largest active geyser Pohutu.
How To Reach:

  • By air: The nearest airport is the Rotorua’s Regional airport. You can get flights to and from Wellington, Queenstown, and Auckland.
  • By road : You can catch a bus from Auckland which will take you around 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Best time to visit: March to May
Stay options: Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, ibis Rotorua, Milleniuk hotel Rotorua and Holiday Inn Rotorua.

18. Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Waitomo Caves

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The cave is naturally illuminated by thousands of glowworms. This is actually one of the most unique places to visit in New Zealand. To explore the caves, you can take a boat ride through it and learn about the science and history behind the entire phenomenon. By visiting this place you can have a completely different experience which is hard to duplicate anywhere else.

Ritz Factor: The unique site of thousands of glowworms.
Don’t Miss: The boat ride through the cave.
How To Reach:

  • By air: You can take a flight from Auckland in order to reach the Waitomo Caves.
  • By road: By road, it is going to take you around 2 hours in order to reach Waitomo Caves from Auckland. There are a number of bus services that you can avail to reach your destination.

Best time to visit: November to April.
Stay options: Waitomo Caves hotel, Waitomo caves guest lodge, Hotel kiwi paka Waitomo and Abseil Inn.

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19. Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

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If you are into hiking, then this could be the ideal destination for you. This place is suitable for an actual glacier hiking in New Zealand. Other than hiking tours, you can also opt for an aerial view from a chopper. Tours around here provide you with everything. From hiking to mountain climbing, you can enjoy it all around here. This place is ideal for all the adventure and sports lover as you can get plenty of activities to get involved. You can also enjoy soaking in the glacier hot pools and relax. These pools are fed from the Franz Josef Glacier. If you want a more luxurious enjoyment, then you can even opt for a private pool as well.

Ritz Factor: a Best spot for hiking and mountain climbing.
Don’t Miss: Soaking yourself in the glacier hot pools after a long day of exploration.
How To Reach:

  • By air: You can take a flight from the Christchurch International Airport in order to reach your destination.
  • By road: You can take a car ride from Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier. It is a five-hour long route. You can enjoy the scenic view of the road while traveling.

Best time to visit: November to February.
Stay options: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Aspen Court Motel Franz Josef, rainforest Retreat Franz Josef, The Terrace Motel Franz Josef, and Franz Josef Oasis.

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20. Muriwai Beach

waves crashing at Muriwai beach

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Another great destination that is worth visiting in New Zealand is the Muriwai beach. Located just 40 minutes away from the Auckland city, the beach offers you with great scenic views. The killer sunsets, the massive sand dunes, and amazing surf, all of these together contributes to the beauty of the place. It can be said that this is one of the best holiday spots in the whole of New Zealand. During your visit to this stunning beach, you simply cannot afford to miss visiting the Gannet Colony that overlooks two beautiful bays. This is where you will find thousands of birds flying just over your head. It is a beautiful site that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Ritz Factor: Stunning scenic beauty
Don’t Miss: Visiting the Gannet colony
How To Reach:

  • By air: You can take a flight from Auckland airport in order to reach your destination.
  • By road: You can get plenty of bus services from Auckland to reach Muriwai Beach.

Best time to visit: August To April
Stay options: Muriwai Beach B&B, 216 Luxury Accommodation Auckland, Bush Sand, and Sea and Coast Retreat Muriwai.

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21. Milford Sound

Milford Sound New Zealand

New Zealand is a place full of adventures and another interesting place to visit here is Milford Sound. Situated towards the southwest of South Island, this is a fiord in New Zealand. It is famous with locals and foreigners for its beauty as it encompasses the magnificent Mitre Peak, lush rainforests and cascading waterfalls. The fiord also house the gorgeous fur seals, dolphins and penguins. Take a boat tour on your visit to Milford Sound in New Zealand.

Ritz Factor: cascading Stirling and Bowen waterfalls
Don’t Miss: Watching rare black coral at Underwater Observatory

How to reach:

  • By air: Queenstown Airport offers flights to Milford Sound. There are air tours too that one can choose to enjoy from Queenstown.
  • By road: One can get to Milford Sound via road. It is a 5 hours drive to this place from Queenstown and 2 and a half hour drive from Te Anau. One can either hire a cab or take a bus.

Best time to visit: June to August
Stay options nearMilford Sound: Milford Sound Lodge, Ultimate Hikes
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22. Matapouri

Matapouri

Located just 35 km north-east of Whangarei, Matapouri is one of the offbeat tourist destinations in New Zealand. It is a beautiful coastal destination with shimmering white sand. With quite a few holiday homes, it is a beautiful area in Northland to spend a day or two. Whale Bay is just 40 minutes away and the two are connected via a walkway.

Ritz Factor: Mermaid Pools
Don’t Miss: Diving into the emerald Mermaid Pools

How to reach:

  • By air: Whangarei Airport is the closest airport to Matapouri, at a distance of 42 km. One can further hire a car or self drive.
  • By road: Matapouri is connected to the nearby towns via roads, and one can self drive. It is a mere half hour drive from Tutukaka.

Best time to visit: January to June
Stay options near Matapouri: 36 Steps to the Beach, The Riverbank Homestay and B&B,
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One of the best beaches in New Zealand- The black sand beach Piha

A serene seaside village to the west of Auckland, Piha is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand. With a rugged rough coast, it is a breathtaking black sand surf beach. New Zealand is a beautiful country with so many unique experiences to offer through such places like Piha. if you are looking for adventure, then the hills surrounding Piha are amazing locations for nature walks.

Ritz Factor: Black sand Piha beach
Don’t Miss: Surfing and abseiling to the gorgeous Piha Canyon

How to reach:

  • By air: Auckland airport is the nearest airport to Piha at a distance of around 48 km.
  • By road: Auckland is the nearest major city and shuttle buses are available to piha. One can even drive down from the city which is 40 km away.

Best time to visit: November and April
Stay options near Piha: Hotel Romantic Piha, Karekare Beach Lodge
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24. Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Offering breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains, Wanaka is a resort town in New Zealand. It is famous for all the adventure activities that one can indulge in around Wanaka. The Snow Farm near Wanaka is the best places to enjoy cross country skiing. If one is game for hiking and trekking then Roy’s Peak is an uphill hike that would take one around 3 hours. Head to this resort town, and spend a good 2-3 days here.

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