Top things to do in New Zealand

Top Choice Historic Site in Paihia

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 British C…
Top Choice Landmark in Waipoua Forest

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 significa…
Top Choice Landmark in Waipoua Forest

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 cubic metres, he’s the largest kauri alive, and h…
Top Choice Lake in Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu

Shaped like a cartoon lightning bolt, Lake Wakatipu is NZ's third-largest lake. It reaches a depth of 372m, meaning the lake bed actually sits below sea level. Five rivers flow into it but only one (the Kawarau) flo…
Top Choice National Park in Arthur's Pass

Arthur's Pass National Park

Straddling the Southern Alps, known to Māori as Ka Tiritiri o Te Moana (Steep Peak of Glistening White), this vast alpine wilderness became the South Island's first national park in 1929. Of its 1144 sq km, two-thir…
Top Choice Cultural Centre in Rotorua

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 to…
Top Choice Volcano in Kingsland & 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 of th…
Top Choice Bird Sanctuary in Oamaru

Blue Penguin Colony

Every evening the tykes from the Ōamaru blue penguin colony surf in and wade ashore, heading to their nests in an old stone quarry near the waterfront. Stands are set up on either side of the waddle route. General a…
Top Choice Viewpoint in Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach

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 lite…
Top Choice Natural Feature in Taupo

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 terrac…