The Best Places To Visit In New Zealand – 2023 Guide

New Zealand is a naturally diverse country, offering a range of activities and things to see. From glaciers to spectacular beaches, here are the best places to visit in New Zealand.
Best Places to Visit in New Zealand. Photo: Roell de Ram | Unsplash

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Located in the South Pacific, New Zealand is a country with diverse landscapes, friendly locals and breathtaking views. 

Since the landscapes in the country vary, a particular time of year may be better for you to visit than others, depending on what you want to do. 

If you plan to visit New Zealand to experience its snow and glaciers, winter (June to August) is the best time to visit. If you want to go beach and island hopping, the best time to visit is in summer (December to February). Spring and autumn are the best times to visit to go hiking and experience the outdoors. 

Here are the best places to visit in New Zealand in 2023. 

Bay of Islands

Bay of Islands. Photo: Rod Long | Unsplash

Located in the far north of the North Island is the Bay of Islands, one of the best places in the country to enjoy beaches, fishing and watersports. 

One of the best things to do in the region is to hop on a Hole in the Rock cruise, where you’ll get to see dolphins, whales and the famous Hole in the Rock. Depending on the tide, you may also cruise through the unique opening in the rock formation. 

If you’re a scuba diver, one of the best places to dive in the region is under the shipwreck of the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship bombed and sunk by the French.

If you prefer to stay on the shore and explore other areas in the region, some of the best places include Kerikeri, Russell and Waitangi. 

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island Vineyards. Photo: mona Masoumi | Unsplash

Located off the coast of Auckland, Waiheke Island is a must-visit destination in New Zealand. 

Waiheke Island is a tropical paradise only 40 minutes away from the big city via ferry. The island is known for its stunning beaches and numerous vineyards.

Some of the best places to visit on the island include Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, Man O’ War Vineyards, Oneroa Beach and Palm Beach.

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula. Photo: Ferntech DJI | Unsplash

If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand in 2023 to enjoy the beaches, you must visit the Coromandel Peninsula. 

Located on the North Island, the ‘Coromandel’, as locals affectionately call it, is a favourite summer spot among New Zealanders. The entire peninsula boasts picturesque coastal towns, stunning beaches, surf spots and fishing locations.

You must visit two places in the Coromandel: Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. 


Wai O’ Tapu. Photo: Holger Offermann | Unsplash

Situated on a hot spring, Rotorua is known as the geothermal wonderland of New Zealand, making it a must-visit. 

There are many geysers and hot springs in and around the city where you can see natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud. There are also spots where you can dip your feet in the warm thermal springs. 

Wai-O-Tapu is a popular spot to visit in Rotorua. It’s renowned for the colourful hot springs and the Lady Knox Geyser that erupts daily at 10:15 am. 

Tongariro National Park 

Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Photo: Tomáš Malík | Unsplash

Centred upon three volcanoes in the middle of the North Island – Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu – Tongariro National Park became the country’s first national park in 1887. 

The 80,000-hectare park boasts volcanic wonders, including emerald lakes, steaming craters, old lava flows and alpine gardens. 

One of the best hikes in the national park is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a one-day hike that takes you over Mount Tongariro, past emerald lakes and volcanic craters. 

Abel Tasman National Park 

Te Pukatea Bay. Photo: David TipUnsplash

Abel Tasman National Park may be the smallest national park in the country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its beauty. 

Abel Tasman boasts golden sand beaches, azure seas and many forested hiking trails. So, if you love beaches and hiking, Abel Tasman National Park is one of the places you must visit in New Zealand!

Some of the best things to do in the national park include walking the Abel Tasman Coast Track, canyoning, kayaking, visiting Split Apple Rock and laying on one of the many epic beaches, such as Kaiteriteri, Te Pukatea Bay or Awaroa.

Glacier Country 

Franz Josef Glacier. Photo: Jackman Chiu | Unsplash

Located on the west coast of the South Island is where you can find Westland National Park, home to the country’s two most famous glaciers – Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. 

Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, meaning you can actually walk up and through the glacier itself. Many guided tours give you a closer look and learn about the glacier. Afterwards, you can soak in the glacier hot pools. 

Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

Aoraki/Mount Cook. Photo: Julia Hoddinott | Unsplash

Aoraki/Mountain Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand and is worth a visit if you like hiking and mountaineering. 

For experienced climbers, there are 23 peaks over 9,800 feet to explore. And for those wanting to stay closer to ground level, plenty of walks along paved trails or boardwalks still offer stunning views. 

Make sure you stay until the evening to visit the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, where light pollution is strictly controlled to enable some of the best stargazing opportunities in the Southern Hemisphere.


Queenstown. Photo: Photoholgic | Unsplash

If you love adrenaline-related things, you must visit Queenstown, the world’s adventure capital.

Located on the bottom of the South Island, Queenstown is surrounded by the Southern Alps and on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, making it one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand. 

There are plenty of adrenaline-filled activities in Queenstown, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, river rafting, jet boating, cliff jumping, skiing, and snowboarding. 

Related: The Queenstown to Milford Sound road trip is spectacular.

Milford Sound 

Milford Sound. Photo: Niklas Ohlrogge | Unsplash

Finally, Milford Sound is one of the best places to visit in New Zealand in 2023. 

Located in Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is a fjord created by a glacier. 

There are many ways to experience Milford Sound, but cruising through it on a tour boat is the most common. You’ll spot waterfalls and see dolphins, penguins and seals along the way!

New Zealand is a beautiful country with a range of different landscapes. Whether you plan to visit in summer or winter, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

When will you start planning your 2023 trip? 


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