Sea Kayaks on Beach at dawn, Abel Tasman National Park © Photo Images NZ

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Natural attractions

Cape Rēinga: where two oceans meet

Witness the majestic power of nature as the mighty Pacific and Tasman collide.  Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Te Paki sand dunes: seriously steep, seriously fun

As if the breathtaking glory of Ninety Mile Beach wasn’t enough, right at the northern end, near the Te Paki Stream, are some seriously steep and seriously fun sand dunes. Read the story . . . 

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Things to do

Tāne Mahuta: lord of the forest

Stand at the feet of a giant, Lord of the Forest, in Waipōua Forest. Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Museum of Waitangi

Waitangi has a perfect mix of experiences – you can drown yourself in the historical aspects, and you can wow yourself with the amazing view. Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

Kororipo Heritage Park: embrace nineteenth-century Aotearoa

Embrace nineteenth-century New Zealand and discover the place where Māori and Europeans first lived side by side.  Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Bay of Islands: history, scenery and marine life

Marvel at pods of wild dolphins, migratory orca, seals and blue penguins in the pristine big blue yonder. Read the story . . . 

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Indulgence

Waiheke Island: a self-contained bubble of pure pleasure

Feel a world away, retreat into lazy days and drift from vineyards to olive groves to beaches on Waiheke. Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

Matakana Coast: markets, beaches and vineyards

Immerse yourself in a heady mix of arts, artisanal markets, boutique vineyards, olive groves, beautiful beaches and endless rolling hills. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Te Henga Walkway: a wild and wonderful west coast walk

Walk the rugged cliff top from Bethells Beach/Te Henga to Murawai and drink in the most epic views of Auckland's wild west coast. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Hot Water Beach: BYO spade

Just beneath the surface of the sand is a delicious, natural underground river that brings hot water to the beach almost on tap, so to speak. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Hamilton Gardens: beautifully curated spaces inspired by the world

Savour native woodland and gardens of the world beyond through beautifully curated spaces inspired by Europe, India and Asia. Read the story . . . 

Family fun > Events and festivals > Must-Do's > Entertainment

Balloons over Waikato: a showcase of splendour and colour

They get to the point, in this part of the world, but the simple factual accuracy of the name of this event does not do justice to its colour, glamour and excitement. Read the story . . . 

Summer Must-Do's
Must-Do's
Things to do

Indulgence > Must-Do's

Spas and relaxation: natural hot springs in Rotorua

Soak in naturally heated mineral pools while you look out over the lake, take a twilight mud bath, or bathe under a waterfall in a natural hot spring. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

The Redwoods: 5500 hectares of glorious trees

Breathe in the fresh woody air of Whakarewarewa Forest as you explore the biking, walking or horse-riding trails or traverse the canopy of these mighty Californian coastal redwood trees. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Must-Do's

Skydive over Taupō: the skydiving capital of the world

See the largest commercial drop zone in the world from the angle you're really meant to... Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Huka Falls: New Zealand’s most visited – and photographed – natural attraction

Witness thousands of litres of water squeezing and surging through a 15-metre rocky gorge into heart-stirring rapids and a waterfall you'll be hard-pressed not to photograph. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Timber Trail: cycle in the footsteps of early loggers

Ride through ancient podocarp forest, over some of New Zealand's longest and highest suspension bridges and along an old bush tramway following the hard-fought footsteps of early loggers. Read the story . . . 

Road trips > Must-Do's

Forgotten World Highway: a rugged, beautiful drive

Drive this remote 150-kilometre highway and pass over four mountain saddles, through a mysterious one-lane tunnel and along a meandering river gorge. Read the story . . . 

Heritage and history > Indulgence > Must-Do's

Chateau Tongariro: style and grandeur at the foot of Ruapehu

Tip your hat to architect Herbert Hall of Tīmaru who harnessed the iconic, neo-Georgian style and grandeur of European mountain chateaus at the foot of Ruapehu. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

The Goblin Forest: lush and fantastical forest

In the Goblin Forest, twisted kāmahi trunks lead the way through one of New Zealand's most epic, lush and fantastical natural spaces. Read the story . . . 

Must-Do's > Art and culture

Len Lye Centre: a remarkable building for a remarkable artist

Celebrate Modernist filmmaker, sculptor, painter and poet Len Lye in this striking single-artist gallery in New Plymouth's art and cultural precinct. Read the story . . . 

Food and drink > Indulgence > Must-Do's

Hawke’s Bay Wine Trails

In the Hawke’s Bay wineries seem to loom up at every beautiful turn: glimpsed behind ancient stone gateposts, or boldly front and centre, architecturally announcing their vinous delights.  Read the story . . . 

Heritage and history > Events and festivals > Must-Do's > Art and culture

Napier Art Deco Festival: vintage colour and charm

Discover the largest concentration of sun-drenched charm and art deco in the southern hemisphere. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Cape Kidnappers’ Gannet Colony: the exhilarating sight of 20,000 gannets

Traverse beautiful coastline, riverbeds, rolling pastures and native bush before taking in panoramic views and experiencing the exhilarating sight and sound of 20,000 gannets. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > National parks > Heritage and history > Must-Do's

Bridge to Nowhere: stunning walking in the Whanganui National Park

Reach the enigmatic Bridge to Nowhere via the Kaiwhakauka Track or navigating the Whanganui River to the Mangapūrua Landing. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Family fun > Must-Do's

Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre: all that’s great and native in the avian category

Climb to the summit of Te Arapiki o Tawhaki for impressive views and experience New Zealand as it used to be on the way with wild kākā, kōkako, stichbird, takahē, kākāriki and ancient tuatara.  Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Castlepoint Scenic Reserve: the views, the views, the views

Castlepoint has long, languorous beaches, exquisite sunrises, sheltered lagoons and fossil-rich reefs... and of course the prettiest lighthouse. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Cape Palliser: the wild southern tip of the North Island

Climb the steps of Cape Palliser lighthouse and immerse yourself in the rugged charm of the southernmost tip of the North Island. Read the story . . . 

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Road trips

Campervanning: the spontaneous way to travel

If the idea of a guided tour brings you out in spots, you’ll be wanting to bring yourself to the spots you most want to see. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Take in the spectacular beauty of the Cook Strait crossing

Enjoy the 70-kilometre rite of passage for any Kiwi through the Roaring Forties and one of the world’s roughest and most unpredictable stretches of water to the spectacular beauty of the Marlborough Sounds. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Te Papa Tongarewa: Museum of New Zealand

Explore this waharoa to our natural and cultural heritage, home to three rugby fields' worth of beautifully crafted space, untold treasures and fascinating stories. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve: an accessible island sanctuary

Reckon on a kākā landing on your shoulder or a weka scurrying over your feet, all to the calls of kākāriki, bellbird, robin and saddleback. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Zealandia: the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary

Explore the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, with more than 30 kilometres of walking tracks and ample opportunities to spot tuatara, kiwi, hihi, saddleback and tūī. Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

The Beehive and Parliament Buildings: the heart of Aotearoa's government

Get to the nub of it at all and join a free guided tour into the heart of New Zealand’s government at the Beehive in the parliamentary precinct. Read the story . . . 

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Events and festivals

Homegrown: serving up local musical treats for a decade

You’ve wandered among the wildlife at Zealandia, you’ve soaked up the citylife along the waterfront, observed bustling bureaucracy at the Beehive: now, you are ready to rock! Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve: enchanting rocky gorge

Explore this enchanted, rocky gorge, an easy drive between Blenheim and Nelson, with its crystal clear river and towering, ancient forests.  Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

The Marlborough Wine & Food Festival: sauvignon blanc on its home turf

Sip the exuberant and intense varietal in the sacred space that first introduced New Zealand wine to the world. Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

The Nelson market: homemade with heart and skill

Visit this pure, heartfelt celebration of the creative endeavours of the people of the region and their fine local produce. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Kayaking the Abel Tasman: sheltered coves, crystal streams and exquisite beaches

The sand is a colour you simply have never seen before. The water is so blue it doesn’t actually look real. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Te Waikoropupū Springs Scenic Reserve: spectacular freshwater springs

There is near-optically pure water at the sacred ‘Place of the Dancing Sands', the largest freshwater springs in the southern hemisphere. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Farewell Spit: the longest natural sandbar in the world

Travel along the longest natural sandbar in the world, a sanctuary to over 90 bird species, including bar-tailed godwits, knots, curlews, whimbrels and turnstones. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Family fun > Must-Do's

Camping in Golden Bay: a pristine paradise

Base yourself under canvas in a pristine paradise of golden beaches, alpine valleys, tranquil rivers and ocean as far as the eye can see.  Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > National parks > Must-Do's

Awaroa Beach: the beach we all own

You may well not be aware of it, but we all own this beach. Well, kinda. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > National parks > Heritage and history

Nelson Lakes National Park: New Zealand’s Lakes District

Nelson Lakes National Park lies at the head of the Southern Alps and features majestic mountain ranges and the breathtaking lakes of Rotoroa and Rotoiti at its very heart. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Whale watching: close encounters on the water

The Hikurangi Trench off the coast of Kaikōura is home to a wealth of deep-sea marine life, including orca, blue and humpback whales.  Read the story . . . 

Heritage and history > Must-Do's

Denniston: a real ghost-town experience

Take a detour back in time to Denniston, a near-deserted mining town on a bleak, windswept 600-metre plateau, home to the infamous 45-degree Denniston Incline. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers: monuments to nature’s power and beauty

Experience Fox and Franz Josef – two of the 140 glaciers that flow from the Southern Alps. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Pancake rocks and blowholes: 30 million years in the making

At Punakāiki, walk into an ancient world of pancake-shaped rock formations 30 million years in the making, along with mighty blowholes and a terrific surge pool.  Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

The Lake Matheson walk: a photographer's dream

Lake Matheson is a photographer’s dream, where the waters reflect a near-perfect image of snow-capped Aoraki Mount Cook. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Ōkārito Lagoon: wonderful wetland wilderness

Explore the lagoon and river channels by kayak and journey through this divine wetland wilderness into the heart of the rainforest. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Buller Gorge: swing into action in the deep, meandering canyon

Visit the deep, meandering canyon where you can zipline, raft whitewater rapids, jump on a jet boat or experience our longest swingbridge spanning the mighty Buller River. Read the story . . . 

Road trips > Must-Do's

Great Coast Road: roadtripping at its best

Drive the length of the South Island, skirting the West Coast and traversing through the Southern Alps, and experience bountiful roadtripping at its very best. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Ōpārara Basin: limestone caves with cathedral-like passages and magnificent arches

Discover pristine rainforest, limestone caves with cathedral-like passages and magnificent, magical arches through this treasure-chest nook of the Kahurangi National Park. Read the story . . . 

Family fun > Events and festivals > Must-Do's > Entertainment > Art and culture

World Buskers Festival: taking back the streets

This is a mixed-up mash-up of comedy, art, music and dance, with some heavyweight local and international performers. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Indulgence > Must-Do's

Hanmer Springs: soothe the soul at New Zealand's alpine sanctuary

Soothe the soul in world-class thermal pools nestled in a high-country spa village flanked by towering mountains. Read the story . . . 

Activities > Food and drink > Heritage and history > Must-Do's > Art and culture

Akaroa: French heritage charm and the finest of foods

This is the place where sheltered harbour, French heritage, colonial architecture and a passion for fine food fuse perfectly together. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

Southern stars: see the rare but spectacular Aurora Australis

See the rare but spectacular Aurora Australis from the 4300-square kilometre UNESCO Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Read the story . . . 

Must-Do's > Art and culture

Christchurch’s street art: an expression of solidarity

This isn’t a couple of cute billboard-type pieces put up in obvious places. This is a thing.   Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > National parks > Must-Do's

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park: the iconic peak that is the snapshot of the south

Explore snowy mountainscapes, turquoise glacier-fed lakes and the snow tussock grassland of alpine valleys in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

The Hermitage: a haven for the adventurous

Not much has changed in the view from the Hermitage from the day it was opened in 1884. Jagged, snowy peaks in every direction and the fast-flowing Hooker River outside the front door. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

The Grand Traverse: a spectacular flight of fancy

The Grand Traverse is a stunning scenic flight that explores the Aoraki Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini national park, covering about 200km of unforgettable scenery. Read the story . . . 

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Events and festivals

Ōamaru’s Victorian Precinct: the capital of all things steampunk

Slightly eccentric, Ōamaru is one of those not-as-it-first-seems places. The surprises are all good ones, though! Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

Fleur’s Place: as fresh as it comes

World famous in New Zealand, Fleur Sullivan's place is a must-do for anyone visiting north Otago. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Moeraki Boulders: clamber over them for the ultimate selfie

Make the most of the photo op with these huge, marble-like boulders strewn along windswept Koekohe Beach. Read the story . . . 

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Road trips

Queenstown to Glenorchy Road: a drive to Paradise

Is there a more amazing drive? Forty-five minutes of emerald lake water and bush-clad hills, against a backdrop of snow-touched mountains.  Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Bungy jump in Queenstown: test your limits

Pay homage at the home of contemporary, commercial bungy by strapping on a bungy cord and throwing yourself into the ether.  Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

Arrowtown: a picture-perfect living museum

Autumn. That’s the time to visit. Much of this part of the South Island takes on a splendid glow at that time of year. None more so than Arrowtown which is, frankly, already right off the cutesy scale as it is.  Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Queenstown Hill Time Walk: a rocky delight

Queenstown Hill, just out of town, is more than worth a peek, and you can make its peak in an hour if you get a wriggle on. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Cruise Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw

Climb aboard the elegant ‘Lady of the Lake’, the last remaining coal-fired steamship operating in the southern hemisphere. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Rob Roy Glacier Track: glaciers, waterfalls and thieving parrots

The drive there is almost as energy-sapping as the walk to the top of the glacier. But it's worth it to experience one of the region’s most stunning walks. Read the story . . . 

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Activities

Otago Central Rail Trail: journey into an ever-changing heartland

The Otago Central Rail Trail is 150km from Middlemarch to Clyde and takes in just about everything that’s stunning about Central Otago.  Read the story . . . 

Road trips > Must-Do's

Te Anau to Milford Sound Piopiotahi Highway: the journey into the heart of Fiordland.

If you want to take in Fiordland’s wilderness, vastness and beauty without being drenched in that seemingly perpetual rain, take the Piopiotahi Highway. Read the story . . . 

Great walks > National parks > Must-Do's

The Routeburn Track: the ultimate alpine adventure

It's one of the country’s most famous walks so, let’s get the house- (or hut-) keeping out of the way first: you’ll need to book in the heavy season. Read the story . . . 

Natural attractions > Must-Do's

The wondrous wildlife of Otago Peninsula

‘The most accessible wildlife in the South Island’ is the catch-cry here. Well, there are wheeling seabirds, honking sea lions and all manner of other natural noises, but you get the point. Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

Olveston House: how the other half lived

Designed by a London architect and built in 1904 – well, this was really something. Ostentatious as all hell, Olveston was also lavishly decorated. Read the story . . . 

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Heritage and history

Larnach Castle: a vision of past and present

Larnach Castle stands proud and bold on the highest point of the entire Otago Peninsula. Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

Cheese rolls: the sushi of the south

Come to Southland, or Otago and, more specifically Dunedin, and try one of these hot and tasty little blighters. You will be, from a cuisine perspective anyway, reborn. Read the story . . . 

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Food and drink

Bluff Oyster Festival: unsophisticated and proud of it!

Where are the internationally renowned delicacy known as Bluff oysters likely to taste best? Bluff, did you say? You’re good at this! Exactly. Read the story . . . 

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Road trips

Southern Scenic Route: a different way of life

The Southern Scenic Route is a drive of unparalleled beauty and an almost contradictory mix of dense woodlands and wild, open southern coast. Read the story . . . 

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Natural attractions

Stewart Island Rakiura: a world away

New Zealand’s third largest island, Stewart Island is a unique, curious place that is well worth a visit. Read the story . . .