Top things to do

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Paihia

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Occupying a headland draped in lawns and bush, this is NZ's most significant historic site. Here, on 6 February 1840, after much discussion, the first 43 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the...

Top ChoiceLandmark in Waipoua Forest

Te Matua Ngahere

Te Matua Ngahere

From the Kauri Walks car park, a 20-minute walk leads past the Four Sisters, a graceful stand of four tall trees fused together at the base, to Te Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest). At 30m, he has a...

Top ChoiceLandmark in Waipoua Forest

Tāne Mahuta

Tāne Mahuta

Near the north end of the park, not far from the road, stands mighty Tāne Mahuta, named for the Māori forest god. At 51.5m, with a 13.8m girth and wood mass of 244.5 cu metres, he’s the largest kauri alive, and...

Top ChoiceCultural Centre in Rotorua

Te Puia

Te Puia

Te Puia dials up the heat on Māoritanga (things Māori) with explosive performances from both its cultural troupe and Pōhutu (Big Splash), its famous geyser that erupts around 20 times a day, spurting hot water up...

Top ChoiceVolcano in Kingsland & Mt Eden

Mt Eden

Mt Eden

From the top of Auckland’s highest volcanic cone (196m), the entire isthmus and both harbours are laid bare. The symmetrical crater (50m deep) is known as Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of Mataaho, the god...

Top ChoiceViewpoint in Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

State Hwy 1 terminates at this dramatic headland where the waters of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet, breaking together into waves up to 10m high in stormy weather. Cape Reinga is the end of the road both...

Top ChoiceNatural Feature in Taupo

Orakei Korako

Orakei Korako

Tucked away from other more popular thermal fields, Orakei Korako is (since the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces, at least) arguably NZ's most spectacular thermal area, with active geysers, stunning...

Top ChoiceVolcano in Auckland

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

This volcanic cone was the isthmus’ key pā and the greatest fortress in the country. At the top (182m) there are 360-degree views and the grave of John Logan Campbell, who gifted the land to the city in 1901 and...

Top ChoiceNatural Feature in Rotorua Lakes

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

The most visible wound from Mt Tarawera's 1886 eruption, the Waimangu geothermal area spreads down a valley to Lake Rotomahana (Warm Lake). The experience is quite different from the other ticketed thermal areas...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Parnell & Newmarket

Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum

This imposing neoclassical temple (1929), capped with an impressive copper-and-glass dome (2007), dominates the Auckland Domain and is a prominent part of the Auckland skyline, especially when viewed from the...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Leigh

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Only 3km from Leigh, this 547-hectare aquatic area was established in 1975 as the country’s first marine reserve. In less than 40 years the sea has reverted to a giant aquarium, giving an impression of what the...

Top ChoiceNatural Feature in Rotorua Lakes

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

The most colourful of the region's geothermal attractions, Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) has a variety of features packed into a relatively compact, heavily cratered area, with the highlights being the...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Kerikeri

Kerikeri Mission Station

Kerikeri Mission Station

Two of the nation's most significant buildings nestle side by side on the banks of Kerikeri Basin. Start at the Stone Store, NZ's oldest stone building (1836). Upstairs there's an interesting little museum, while...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Wellington

Wellington Museum

Wellington Museum

For an imaginative, interactive experience of Wellington’s social and maritime history, head to this bewitching little museum, inside an 1892 bond store on the wharf. Highlights include a moving documentary on...

Top ChoiceWaterfall in Taupo

Huka Falls

Huka Falls

The Waikato, NZ’s longest river, squeezes through a narrow chasm at Huka Falls, making a dramatic 11m drop into a surging crystal-blue pool at a rate of 220,000L per second. You can see the full force of this...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Wellington

Zealandia

Zealandia

This groundbreaking ecosanctuary is nooked into a valley in the hills about 2km west of downtown Wellington. Living wild within the fenced, predator-free habitat are more than 30 native bird species, including...

Top ChoiceGallery in Auckland

Wallace Arts Centre

Housed in a gorgeous 1879 mansion with views to One Tree Hill and the Manukau Harbour, this arts centre is endowed with contemporary NZ art from an extensive private collection, which is changed every four to six...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Taupo

Taupō Museum

This small but fascinating museum has an excellent Māori gallery and quirky displays, which include a 1960s caravan set up as if the occupants have just popped down to the lake. The centrepiece is an elaborately...

Top ChoiceMountain in Hastings & Around

Te Mata Peak

Rising dramatically from the Heretaunga Plains 16km south of Havelock North, Te Mata Peak (399m) is part of the 1-sq-km Te Mata Trust Park. The summit road passes sheep tracks, rickety fences and vertigo-inducing...

Top ChoiceGardens in Wellington

Wellington Botanic Gardens

Wellington Botanic Gardens

These hilly, 25-hectare botanic gardens can be effortlessly visited via the Wellington Cable Car (nice bit of planning, eh?), although there are several other entrances hidden in the hillsides. The gardens boast...