- Milford Sound, South Island
You really don’t have the superlatives to explain the Milford Sound, so all I’m going to say is that photos don’t do justice (and the photos look really awesome!).
There are some wonderful walks here as you may think, but you can take a cruise to get the experience. You’ll also enjoy the sheer size of the sound, get up in close contact with the many waterfalls, and almost certainly see some seals.
- Abel Tasman National Park, South Island
Abel Tasman National Park is a paradise on earth thanks to its lush rainforest, gold beaches, and calm waters.
Spectacular walks are available from 5 days to 30 minutes. You can take a water taxi to any place if you’re too lazy to do this.
There’s an excellent opportunity to see seals along the coast and you have to try the natural Cleopatra swimming pool.
- Mt Cook, South Island
You see it from many angles when you go across the South Island, but you’re still never going to get fatigued. The highest point of New Zealand tour packages.
I recommend the reasonably simple Hooker Walk close to the town of Mt Cook. It’s better viewed close. You can marvel at the valley, passing through several spectacular suspension bridges, with the mountain right before you throughout. You will finally arrive in the glacial lake for the ideal picture to return home.
- Hahei and Cathedral Cove, North Island
On the Coromandel Peninsula, you can find glorious conditions, lovely beaches, mild waters, and stunning natural monuments.
I like Hahei and Cathedral Cove nearby where you can see whales, dolphins, orcas.
- Queenstown, South Island
New Zealand’s backpacker capital and the world’s adrenaline capital – a location that will never bore you.
Located on the background of Lake Wakatipu’s fittingly titled “Remarkables Mountain Range.”
You have to do something crazy when you visit Queenstown, home to ski fields and the initial jump in bungee with numerous other activities to pump your heart.
- Matheson Lake & Fox, S. Island Glacier
The 2 highest peaks in the country focus on the lake, and host one of the most picturesque views in New Zealand and the entire world.
Lake Matheson is a quick drive to Fox Glacier – the tourist market for a famous glacier in the surrounding area. It’s only an hour’s walk.
Together with the nearby Franz-Josef Glacier, you can reach these natural wonders as close to your budget. A footpath will not cost you anything, so take your crampons and take the best experience on a guided visit to the glacier. Helicopter drops are also available but are probably among the highest price ranges of backpackers.
- Tongariro National Park, North Island
One of the best day’s walks in the world within this World Heritage National Park is the Alpine Crossing of Tongariro.
The 19.4 km trail passes active volcanoes – you will be reminded by the several alert signs. The closest you’ll ever walk on another planet is with smoking winds, swimming pools, and red dust.
Like many places of New Zealand, Lord of the Rings fans will be here to handle themselves as in the parks, you can also climb Mt doom or Mt Ngauruhoe as it is known in real life!
- Bay of Islands, North Island
This remarkable bay lies at the northern tip of the North Island.
You probably are here for marine life if you aren’t here for the savage weather, sandy beaches, and luscious green islands.
There is a great variety of waters – considered to be one of the best fishing spots worldwide and a location where wild dolphins nearly ensure you can see and swim.
- Wanaka, South Island
A lovely and quiet city on the banks of Lake Wanaka, the ideal spot for relaxation and reflection.
A great number of events are available on the lake and some amazing walks around the area (in more than one way). Mt Iron is a short walk nearby; but in Mt Aspiring, my favorite is Roy’s Peak, there are a few more difficult walks.
- Rotorua, North Island
Geysers, thermal wells, and mud pools are some of the most geothermally active areas in the world.
Around Rotorua, there are many sold-out hot springs, but also several undergrounds, free springs. I’m not going to tell you where they are to hold them; you must find them.
Rotorua has a large Maori presence, not far away from Hobbiton, the popular movie set of the Lord of the Rings – Volcanic activity is not the only reason for visiting.