There is something special about an island nation that is so incredibly beautiful that it cannot be expressed in words. Now imagine a country that has 600+ islands in it! That is New Zealand for you. Thanks to its geography, New Zealand has hundreds of natural attractions spread all over the archipelago. Natural trails for trekking and hiking, picturesque beaches, islands with native tribes, unexplored caves, skiing options - New Zealand has it all. Add to that the amazing wildlife that includes the yellow-eyed penguin, Hector’s dolphin, little blue penguins and the New Zealand fur seal and you have yourself a destination that is nothing short of magical.
The pleasant climate of the country is so perfect that you can travel anywhere any time of the year to witness everything New Zealand has to offer. Here is a list of some of the best natural attractions that draw millions of tourists to the country’s shores every year.
Piha : Just 45 minutes from Auckland, Piha is a laid-back seaside village that packs a punch. Dotted with rugged cliffs, it is not just a scenic location but also a popular destination for surfing. The Kitekite waterfalls and the Lion rock are the two best attractions of this beach. You can stay in any of the various caravans, cottages or private beach houses present here, according to your interests and budget.
Hot water beach : Located at the eastern coast, just 175kms from Auckland, the Hot Water Beach has always been a top tourist destination for multiple reasons. However, it is the hot water springs that draw the maximum attention. You can dig up a hole at the shore with ease and enjoy your time in the thermal water bath. Do take care though to not get hit by waves and stay safe as these hot water spring spots are not far from the sea. All said and done, it is a definitely a great place for you to relax, especially during the winter months.
Even though it is the smallest National Park in the country, the Abel Tasman National Park is the most refreshing and interesting of all. Not just popular for its forest trails, it is also renowned for the incredible variety of flora and fauna you get to witness here. Fur seals relaxing on rocks, little blue penguins diving into the sea and birds chirping excitedly are just a few of the many beautiful experiences that you get to enjoy here. Also, it is a great destination to interact with the Māori tribe as the locals here are always welcoming.
If you love trekking through mountains and want to explore nature in its purest form, then Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park is the place to be. With 23 peaks over 3000m high, there are many easy-to-access trekking options for you to explore. Furthermore, it is undoubtedly one of the best locations in the country for star gazing. Don’t forget to click some stunning pictures of the night sky filled with millions of stars. The Department of Conservation has set up several huts in the park for tourists to stay at subsided rates, as well, making it an affordable visit.
Just 3.5 hours away from Christchurch or Queenstown, Lake Tekapo is one of the most surreal lakes in New Zealand. It offers a scenic forest trail, a beautiful boat riding experience and also has a UNESCO Sky Reserve site, popular for its amazing night sky. Spend a night at the Mount John Observatory, stargazing in peace. Just spending some time at the turquoise-coloured lake with scenic mountains in the background is an amazing experience in itself.
Lake Taupo is one of the best natural attractions in the country for the innumerable options it presents travellers with. You can trek or hike through various natural trails, enjoy mountain biking, visit the amazing Huka Falls or enjoy fishing in the lake. Also, with a considerable amount of population in the island, you have lots of options for accommodation. Just 4 and a half hours away from Wellington, it is surely a place that should be on your bucket list.
Located in the South Island, Cardrona Alpine Resort is the ideal skiing destination in the town. With the range filled with paths that fall under various difficulty levels, it is the perfect spot for skiers of all levels - beginner, intermediate, advanced or expert. Snowboarding and gondola rides are the other activities that you can take part in. However, if you think that this place is perfect only for the winter season, you are mistaken as it is also a great hub for mountain biking during the summer.
Night skiing is something that sounds awesome straight off the bat and that is exactly what you can try here at Coronet Peak Ski Area. The well-lit track is open for skiing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, until the end of August. Just 20mins away from Queenstown, the commercial ski field is open to tourists from all around the world with different packages depending on the activities you want to take part in. It also has a stunning space for music and dance events where you can enjoy the night with fellow tourists.
For any adventurer, exploring caves is one activity that is at the top of the bucket list. There is something so fantastical about a cave system that it brings an adrenaline rush to anyone who explores such a place. The perfect long cave system is one that has waterfalls, a river stream in which you can ride your canoe and multiple locations for rock climbing, and Waitomo has everything you can want and more. However, the biggest attraction of this place is the fact that it turns luminous every night because of the numerous glow-worms it houses. With over 30 million years in the making, you can literally see traces of evolution in front of your eyes!
Another glow-worm cave in the offing, Te Anau is a cave that has man-made bridges inside for you to navigate your way. Mentioned in the old Māori legends, the cave was found only 70 or so years ago. However, since then, it has been a top tourist place in the islands of New Zealand. The limestone caves are perfect for all age groups. You can complete the 2.5 hour trip on a boat ride in small groups to enjoy the tour to the fullest.
With all these natural attractions, New Zealand is certainly a naturally diverse country. This is exactly what makes this archipelago so mesmerizing and attractive to visit- there is something for every kind of nature enthusiast. Also, all the places have some tranquil picnic or camping spots for you to just chill, relax and enjoy the picturesque views in front of you.
To know about how to reach there, connect with Thomas Cook to get information regarding the best packages that will help you visit these incredible locations at affordable prices. Plan your trip today!