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New Zealand: A Country with a Personality

Though New Zealand is a small country with less than five million people living on two main islands and a few smaller ones, it offers a diverse range of attractions for travelers of all kinds. Whether you want to hit the slopes of the snowy mountains or soak up the sun on the warm beaches, explore the rich Maori culture or the colonial heritage, taste some of the world’s best wines or trek through the wild nature, you will find something to suit your taste in New Zealand.

The two main islands are called the North and South Islands in English, and Te Ika a Maui and Te WaiPounamu in Maori. The North Island is smaller but more populated, while the South Island is larger but less crowded. Both islands have their charms and attractions, so it’s best to visit both if you can. Here are some of the top places to visit in New Zealand.


Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland and a cultural hub on the central North Island. People can easily visit it as a day trip from Auckland, or stay longer and enjoy its many attractions. New Zealand visitors can see the amazing natural phenomena of mud pools, geysers, and colorful rocks at places like Hell’s Gate, Wai-O-Tapu, or Orakei Korako. You can also experience the Maori culture at villages like Mitai, Whakarewarewa, and Tamaki, where one can watch traditional performances and feast on a hangi, a meal cooked in an earth oven.


Waitangi is a historic site on the North Island, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. This treaty was an agreement between the Maori chiefs and the British Crown, and it is considered the founding document of New Zealand. People visiting New Zealand can learn more about the country’s history and see the original treaty at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which also include a museum, a marae, and a waka. People can also enjoy the scenic views of the Bay of Islands from here.

Hokianga Harbour

Hokianga Harbour is a hidden gem on the North Island, often overlooked by tourists. It is a peaceful and picturesque area, with a strong Maori presence. Visitors can have fun with activities like dune boarding, hiking, horse riding, and dolphin spotting in the Hokianga. They can also stay in one of the quaint villages of Omapere, Opononi, and Rawene. If you want to see some of the oldest and largest kauri trees in the country, head to the Waipoua Forest, which is nearby.

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula is a beautiful and diverse region on the North Island, across the water from Auckland. It has everything travelers need for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday—gorgeous beaches, scenic trails, and artsy towns. You can create your own spa at Hot Water Beach, where you can dig a hole in the sand and fill it with hot water from underground. You can also visit Cathedral Cove, one of the most stunning beaches in New Zealand, and hike the Pinnacles Walk or Coromandel Coastal Walkway.

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park is a spectacular and sacred place on the central North Island. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for both its natural and cultural values. It is dominated by three volcanoes: Tongariro, Ruapehu, and Ngauruhoe. You can hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the best day hikes in the world, and see the amazing landscapes and features of the park. You can also ski at the Whakapapa or Turoa ski fields in winter.

Hawke’s Bay

If you love wine, you’ll love Hawke’s Bay, the oldest and one of the best wine regions in New Zealand. With over 200 vineyards, you can taste a variety of wines, from full-bodied reds to crisp whites. Hawke’s Bay is also a sunny and charming place, with Art Deco buildings, gannet colonies, and stunning views. Napier, the main city, is a delight for architecture lovers, as it was rebuilt in Art Deco style after a devastating earthquake in 1931. Bird enthusiasts can visit the Cape Kidnappers Reserve, where the world’s largest gannet colony lives.


Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and a small but lively city. It has a mix of culture and politics, with the iconic ‘Beehive’ Parliament building and the impressive Te Papa museum, which showcases the country’s history and art. Wellington is also a creative hub, home to the Weta Workshop, the film studio behind “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” If you’re a fan of these movies, you can take a tour and see how the magic was made.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park is a paradise for beach lovers and nature lovers. It’s the smallest national park in New Zealand, but it has a lot to offer. Nature lovers can enjoy the golden sands, the turquoise waters, and the green forests, and explore the park by hiking, kayaking, or boating.


Kaikoura is a must-visit for marine-life fans, as it’s one of the best places to see whales and dolphins in New Zealand. Kaikoura is located on the east coast of the South Island, and it has a unique marine environment, with a deep trench and strong currents that attract many species of whales, dolphins, seals, and seabirds. Visitors can join a whale-watching cruise and hope to spot a sperm whale, or a dolphin-watching tour and swim with these friendly creatures.

Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula

Akaroa and the Banks Peninsula are a scenic and historic area on the South Island, near Christchurch. The peninsula is formed by several volcanoes, and it has many bays, harbors, and hills to explore. Akaroa is a quaint town with a French flair, as it was settled by French colonists in the 19th century. Visitors can see the old buildings, the cute cafes, and the French street names. They can also see Hector’s dolphin, the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world, in the waters around the peninsula.

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