10 Best Places to Visit in New Zealand for a First Time Traveler

New Zealand is a favorite destination for first-time travelers as it is packed with adventure and dozens of things to do. With its ever-changing landscapes, volcanoes, mountain ranges, and massive parks, New Zealand is a place you'll remember for a lifetime.
Whether you're a daredevil in search of adventure or a couch potato looking for relaxation, there's something for everyone in New Zealand. If you are traveling for the first time to New Zealand, the breathtaking beauty of this country will amaze you.
Here is a quick travel guide to the top must-see places in New Zealand and things to do if you're visiting the country for the very first time.

1.Fox and Franz Josef Glacier

There is no place like this in all of New Zealand's unspoiled natural wilderness, which is why it was named "The Heart of Glacier Country." With guided tours, you will discover many attractive hot springs and deformed frozen landscapes full of ice caves at the foot of the glaciers. Then, experience the most spectacular glacier scenery this country has to offer with a helicopter ride. You will enjoy the magnificent view of this eight-mile-long river with a bluish-green hue. If you visit in January, you may catch a glimpse of the red flowers of Rātā trees blooming on the hillsides.


If you are flying to Auckland, you can head to Rotorua first. Located 200 km south of Auckland, Rotorua is home to most of the Maori population in New Zealand. The cultural experience will familiarize you with the Maori traditions and their history. You could even try living in a small village called Whakarewarewa. With 18 lakes, hiking and bicycling routes, and saunas, Rotorua offers a great combination of adventure and relaxation.


If you want to explore the best cities in New Zealand, Auckland is the place to go to. It boasts a spectacular skyline, high-rise dining, dinner cruises, and museums. North Island’s most cosmopolitan city offers an abundance of cafes with alfresco spaces where you can watch superyachts pass by while sipping on your cup of coffee.
In addition to being famous for its art gallery and war memorial, Auckland is a popular shopping destination for tourists.
A nighttime visit to Auckland City is an unmissable experience. You'll find loads of things to do—relish some delicacies at the Auckland night market filled with food stalls, do a bit of stargazing at Auckland Stardome, and watch an interesting mix of local and international movies at the Boutique Cinema. If you are adventurous, you might want to try Night Canyoning. This activity includes gliding down streams and waterfalls in the wilderness and mountain ranges. Not for the faint-hearted!

4.Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands is a collection of more than 140 islands with immaculate beaches, Maori artifacts, and water activities. It's a major hub for watersports like big-game fishing, sailing, and scuba diving. Experience some of New Zealand's top mountain-biking terrains on this voyage of discovery, which will delight bikers and cyclists. Explore a maritime adventure playground with an abundance of wildlife like penguins, dolphins, and whales, and then take a cruise past the famous hole in the rock.

5.Waiheke Islands

If you're tired of the adventurous trekking and sea sailing, take the 40-minute ferry from Auckland to the Island of Waiheke famous for wine tasting. The idyllic island of Waiheke offers white sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, and azure waters. Hike the island's footpaths, which wind their way over clifftops and down to the beach. At the eastern end of the island is Stony Batter, which leads you to a system of underground tunnels and WWII gun emplacements.

6.Lake Taupo and Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Trekking through Tongariro National Park, a dual world heritage site, provides both breathtaking scenery and a chance to explore the park's cultural and spiritual significance. Legend says Maori chief Te Heuheu Tukino IV bequeathed the volcanic peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and some of Ruapehu to New Zealand so that these sacred peaks could be protected.


Nelson is the second oldest city in New Zealand, located on the idyllic eastern shores of Tasman Bay. Nelson hosts a 30-year-old art festival that attracts enthusiastic vendors and visitors. It also hosts the Wearable Art Awards, an international fashion competition that encourages designers to submit wearable creations. Those who are less artistically inclined can enjoy charming gardens, markets, and breweries in the area.


Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, welcomes around two million visitors each year. The city sits along the shore of Lake Wakatipu against the scenic Southern Alps. Aside from its reputation as the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping, Queenstown also offers a wide range of adrenaline-inducing activities like jet boating, rafting, ziplining, parachuting, and paragliding. It also offers hot air ballooning, trekking, fishing, and climbing.
In case you get tired of all the sports activities, visit "Queenstown’s worst kept secret," Fergburger, a restaurant chain that sells gourmet burgers. It is impossible to miss Fergburger in Queenstown, just as you cannot miss London Bridge when you are in London.

9.Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The glowworm cavern is one of New Zealand's most beautiful natural attractions. As you tour the underground tunnels, you'll see thousands of glowworms that emit their unmistakable luminescent glow. Your tour guides will be able to tell you more about the natural history of New Zealand, as most are from indigenous Maori tribes. Tours allow you to explore two layers of the caves. The upper layer is dry and adorned with beautiful, delicate cave formations, and the second layer features magnificent stream passageways.

10.Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound

Fiords are valleys created by glaciers that have been submerged by the sea. It took over 100,000 years for these fourteen fiords to form at the southwest corner of the South Island, with their finishing features added just 10,000 years ago during the most recent ice age. As rainfall from the region makes its way to the sea, waterfalls cascade constantly on both sides of the fiords.

Wrapping up

With its enormous natural beauty, excellent trekking opportunities, and busy cities packed with cultural activities, New Zealand is a wonderful balance of culture and natural beauty. Whether it's Hobbiton or Larnach Castle, snowy peaks, or sunny vineyards, this region offers many opportunities for adventure. Use this article as a travel guide to New Zealand if you are planning a trip, and make sure you have at least two weeks available. You'll need at least that much time to appreciate the beauty of this country. References: https://www.elementescapes.co.nz/our-blog/13-reasons-why-you-must-visit-queenstown/ https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/queenstown-nz-ot-q.htm https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/new-zealand/articles/the-top-10-things-to-do-and-see-in-nelson/ https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/new-zealand-nz.htm https://www.twowanderingsoles.com/blog/things-to-do-in-new-zealand https://pickyourtrail.com/blog/the-top-places-in-new-zealand/ https://www.klook.com/en-AU/blog/new-zealand-guide/