New Zealand is one of the most spectacular places I have ever visited (so far). It has some of the most accessible and scenic hikes, breathtaking scenery, and contrasting landscapes. After travelling around New Zealand for six and a half weeks, there were a few places that just really stood out for me!
I highly recommend that you spend as much time as possible in New Zealand. However, if you are short on time, I highly suggest you try and visit these five places where possible.
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1. Mt Cook/Aoraki National Park
If you follow me on social media (@beckkyhamilton), you will know just how much I loved this place. From the moment I drove into this national park, my jaw was on the floor. Starting off by driving past the bright, blue lakes with the Southern Alps in the background on your way into the national park. To turning a corner and seeing Mt Cook towering over the surround mountains.
This national park has some of the most scenic and accessible hikes in all of New Zealand, plus the famous Hooker Valley Trail. Only a few hours away from Christchurch, it is well worth the visit. For more information on Mt Cook/Aoraki National park, click here.
Make sure you stop off at Lake Tekapo on your way to or from the national park too!
2. Milford Sound
If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, I have no doubt that Milford Sound is probably already on your list. This place is equally beautiful in both rain and sunshine. I was lucky to experience both. There is something very moody and mystical about driving into the Sound while it is pouring rain, watching the hundreds of waterfalls come off the cliffs.
There are some incredible hikes in this area and day walks, which if you love hiking, I recommend you try do as much as possible! The Milford Sound cruise is also worth the money, as it is like sailing through untouched wilderness.
I have written an informative post about a 3 day Milford Sound road trip, which can be found here.
3. Tongariro National Park
This is where the best day hike in all of New Zealand is located, the Tongariro Crossing. Even though I didn’t have a great time completing this hike, this national park has still made it onto this list for a few reasons.
The scenery is spectacular. The volcanic valleys, ice capped mountains and lush waterfalls, all make the Tongariro National Park well worth visiting. The Tongariro Crossing would also be absolutely incredible, if the weather was in my favour. I cannot wait to go back and do the crossing again one day. This national park is only a short drive from Taupo, so its well worth visiting even for a day or two.
Rotorua is located on the North Island of New Zealand. There is so much to do in this area, there will be something for everyone. This area stood out to me because of its geothermal activity.
There are geothermal heated creeks, which make for comforting morning swims. Impressive and informative geothermal valleys and parks, which are well worth exploring. Muds baths and spas, where you can bath in ancient mud. There are also a lot of adrenaline activities, if you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie like me!
5. Egmont National Park
This national park might be a hit or a miss for some people. However, if you are a photographer or hiker, I highly recommend you make some time to add this to your New Zealand bucket list.
I loved mother nature and its landscapes, and it’s not very often I see something that just blows me away. Seeing Mt Taranaki for the first time, on a clear day, brought tears to my eyes. Maybe it was because I had a few rainy days in the national park and my hope of seeing it was dimming. But I think it was because it is just truly marvellous to see in person.
There are several great day, overnight and multi day hikes in the area. Which include waterfalls, mountains and forest landscapes. If possible, walk to the Pouakai hut/tarn for some spectacular views.
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