5 Best Things to Do in New Zealand on Your First Visit

Did you know that New Zealand is the least corrupt country in the whole world? It also has no snakes (except for the ones in zoos), it has appointed an Official National Wizard, and about a third of the country is consists of protected national parks. It’s completely bonkers. 

It’s also one of the best places on earth. 

With vast green stretches of untouched nature, wildlife adventures, creative cuisine, and luxurious vineyards, New Zealand is just the place for a travelling wanderer to get their next fill of excitement. It’s the perfect country to visit for adventurers who seek to enjoy nature in a completely thrilling manner. 

If you’re planning your very first trip there, we promise you’re going to love it. We’re going to make your vacation even better by giving you a few suggestions on what to see once you get there.

Hike to your heart’s content 

If you’re into hiking, you’re going to love New Zealand. The whole country is crisscrossed with hiking trails, and each one is more gorgeous than the last. You can walk the Routeburn Track on the South Island if you want to walk through valleys and see a lot of glittering lakes, or try the Abel Tasman Coast Track. It’s a 37-mile long hiking trail that can take anywhere from three to five days to finish, but it will take you next to golden-sand beaches, jade-colored ocean waters, and lush green flora. 

If you want to explore the North Island, then we suggest walking the Lake Waikaremoana track, which follows the shoreline of Lake Waikeremoana. If you want to mix a boat adventure with your hiking, then take the Whanganui Journey, which is best enjoyed in a kayak or a canoe. 

Explore Auckland

If you’re not sure where to go on your first trip, start here. When it comes to destination New Zealand, Auckland has a little bit of everything and the best way to see it is to just drive through the city and let your intuition guide you. From parks and gardens on Rangitoto Island to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. 

History buffs and art lovers will have plenty to see, but if you’re looking for a little bit of a culinary adventure, then why not go on a food tour through Downtown and try a selection of cheese, seafood, honey, chocolate, and excellent beer?  

Visit the vineyards

If you want to take home a bottle of wine and relax as you stroll through long stretches of fragrant vineyards, then we recommend the Obsidian Vineyards on Waiheke Island. It’s just a 40-minute ride from Auckland, and the island is beautiful. Besides the vineyards, there are plenty of high-end restaurants, local fish and chips stands, and walking trails to keep you entertained. You can also visit Onetangi or Palm Beach.

Experience sunrise at Cathedral Cove

Need a perfect place to propose to someone? Even if you don’t, you’ll definitely want to see the Cathedral Cove because it’s one of the most romantic spots in the world – where there isn’t a crowd of tourists there, that is. To enjoy this enchanting, famous cave without annoying crowds, get there early – early enough to see the sunrise. Cathedral Cove is located at Hahei, which is only 10 minutes away from Hot Water Beach.

Soak in a hot pool

There are quite a few hot pool springs around New Zealand, and a lot of them are easily accessible. We recommend the Kerosene Creek, found in Rotorua. It’s not just a hot spring – it’s a naturally hot waterfall. If you want a simple hot pool, then visit the Lake Taupo Hot Springs. If you’re looking for a little luxury, then check out the Franz Josef Hot Pools where you can rent a private pool just for you and whoever you decide to take with you. 


While we wouldn’t exactly recommend New Zealand to someone who’s looking for wild nightlife and nonstop parties, the country does offer a well-rounded experience for foodies, nature enthusiasts, and adventurers. If you want a vacation that will rejuvenate you, then this is definitely the place to choose.

Peter Minkoff

Peter is a lifestyle writer living between Europe and Australia. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

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