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20 Unmissable Places To Visit In New Zealand On Your First Trip

person walking beside lake with mountains in background and refelcted in the water at sunset

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When it comes to amazing scenery, relaxed pace of life, incredible wine, and unique wildlife experiences, you just can’t beat what New Zealand has to offer.

There are so many amazing places to visit in New Zealand, that planning your first trip there can become mighty stressful.

With the sheer diversity of its landscapes, the pristine environment, and the small towns filled with friendly people, separating the must-visit places from the nice-to-visit places is not an easy task.

The entire country is just so beautiful, we know how overwhelming it is planning a trip here.

A stunning sunset in Milford Sound

That’s why we’ve written this guide, so you can be sure to tick off the very best of the airy mountain tops, stunning beaches, and iconic landmarks, so you can have the best trip possible.

The Best Places To Visit In New Zealand: South Island

1. Milford Sound

person kakying Milford Sound, NZ

Milford Sound is one of those places you simply can’t miss when you visit New Zealand.

Located in Fiordland National Park, about a 4 hours’ drive from Queenstown, Milford Sound is often referred to as the 8th wonder of the word, and after visiting a few times I must say that I totally agree!

Boat cruises are the best way to explore Milford Sound, but there are also other options such as kayaking trips or scenic flights.

The most common way to travel to Milford Sound is via a scenic coach tour and cruise from Queenstown. This day trip involves a lot of driving and usually runs for 13 hours – but if you only have a short time in NZ, it’s the best way to do it without driving yourself.

However, if you want an even better experience you can actually stay in Milford Sound or do a Milford Sound overnight cruise!

These allow you to see Milford once the tourists have left and appreciate the quiet place it once was.

2. Queenstown

frozen river winding through sno capped peaks in Queenstown, New Zealand

I called Queenstown home for seven months and I loved every second of it.

Queenstown doesn’t have to break the bank either, there are so many free or cheap things to do it’s crazy. That being said, Queenstown is well-known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, so thrill seekers will want to save time and money to visit here.

There are tons of adventure sports you can do from here, such as skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, canyoning, jet boating, skydiving, and bungee jumping – all world class!


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