The 10 Most Beautiful Places I Visited in New Zealand

Aw, I miss it already. I’ve spent the last half-year in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and I’ve got thousands of photos to show for it. A few days ago I moved along to Australia, but New Zealand is still very much on my mind. I visited dozens of gorgeous and unique places there, but here are my ten favorites:

10. Napier

The first and only city on my list, Napier stands out among New Zealand communities. Much of its distinctive character came after a 1931 earthquake leveled the city. The rebuilding effort spurred the local economy out of its depression, and the facades were styled in progress-oriented Art Deco. It’s a city that values form and aesthetics, both natural and man-made. Exceptional weather doesn’t hurt either.

napier Beachfront greenspace napier beach Clean lines are everywhere in Napier Both evenings I spent there ended with a world-class sunset

More Napier pictures can be found here.

9. Punakaiki coast

South Island’s west coast feels a lot like the edge of the world. The beaches are violent and rocky, and the lush vegetation gives it a primal, wild sort of atmosphere. Punakaiki is a tiny settlement that exists for no purpose other than to service the hordes that come to see the area’s most striking feature: a unique coastal rock formation called Pancake rocks.

Beach walkway behind my accommodation “The Pot” — a tumultuous, football-field-sized basin in the Pancake Rocks beach at west coast The beach behind Te Nikau, where I stayed

8. The Waikato River

As it spills out of Lake Taupo, the Waikato is an unreal blue color. It’s so vivid, it almost looked fake to me, like it was an elaborate, river-shaped swimming pool. I hiked a few kilometers alongside it until I reached the famous Huka falls. Taupo’s Bungee Jump is situated above a picturesque bend in the Waikato.

waikato river The exotic blue waters of the Waikato huka falls Huka Falls waikato Taken from the footpath on the return from the falls

More Waikato River pictures (including the bungee jump site) can be found here.

7. Franz Josef Ranges

Franz Josef Glacier is a huge draw on the South Island’s West coast. I teamed up with an American girl I met in Punakaiki to tackle a 1300m mountain called Alex Knob to get a higher (and cheaper) vantage point of the glacier than we’d get from a guided tour. The mount was shrouded in mist the whole time, so we didn’t see much of the glacier, but we still got some incredible views of the surrounding rainforest and mountains.

franz josef lowlands The lowlands west of the glacier trees The lower three-quarters of the mountain is covered in temperate rainforest mountains franz josef As we looked out into the whiteout, this mountain ridge materialized and then disappeared again

More Franz Josef (and Punakaiki coast) pictures are here.

6. Abel Tasman Coast Track

I spent the week of Christmas in the South Island’s Abel Tasman National Park. My original idea was to do a whole five-day coastal trek and spend Christmas Day in the backcountry, but I decided to cut it short when I realized I was the only solo hiker on the trail — among about a dozen vacationing families. I also had horrible blisters from wearing brand-new shoes. So I turned back after one night out there, to spend Christmas Day with my friends in nearby Marahau. Still, I saw a good 12 kilometers of the track and it didn’t disappoint.

abel tasman beach One of the many beaches along the coastal track abel tasman sandbar A sandbar where I stopped for lunch Cove torrent bay A cove at the end of the beach near Torrent Bay hut

5. Golden Bay

I made two visits to this laid-back area north of the Abel Tasman. On the second trip, some friends and I explored the bay’s northern edge — a 30-kilometer expanse of sand called Farewell Spit. We braved a sudden sandstorm on the way across, then hiked into 80-kph winds on the way back inland. I didn’t take many pictures of it because I was afraid to get sand in my camera, but I’ll never forget the experience.

old pier A decaying pier out near where we camped golden bay One of Golden Bay’s wide beaches farewell spit sandstorm The sandstorm on Farewell Spit. If you look closely there are two wayward hikers in the distance.

4. Waitakere beaches

On my first full day in New Zealand, my Auckland host took me out to three incredible beaches in the Waitakere range, west of the city. I was dumbfounded by the effortless beauty of these places. It was the perfect introduction to New Zealand.

muriwai Muriwai Beach, home to a few thousand migratory birds called Ganets Anawhata beach My favorite beach in the whole world — a lesser-known spot called Anawhata Beach. It takes a 20-minute hike to get to, and the two of us were the only ones around. Karekare beach Karekare beach — a dramatic, endless sheet of black sand. It’s the beach where mysterious strangers wash up at the beginning of episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess

More Waitakere pictures are here.

3. Tongariro National Park

Mordor! A rugged, volcanic landscape that more closely resembles Mars than typical North Island New Zealand. It provided the perfect filming location for the evil realm of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. There is a famous 19km hike through its center called the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. I lucked out with the weather and had an unforgettable day.

tongariro crossing red crater The “Gates of Hell” at Red Crater, near the high point of the crossing emerald lakes The fantastic Emerald Lakes south side of the crossing The beginning of the descent

More Tongariro pictures are here.

2. The Coromandel

The Coromandel is a wild, green peninsula shaped vaguely like a hand giving the middle finger to nearby metropolis Auckland. I spent most of my last week in New Zealand cruising its winding coastal roads in a rental car. I loved it and wish I’d given myself more time. Supposedly it’s the region where the first human beings landed in New Zealand a thousand years ago. Understandably, they never went home.

coromandel An outcrop near the Peninsula’s remote tip pohutukawa silhouette A pohutukawa tree in silhouette great barrier island Looking out at Great Barrier island from a really high sea cliff

More Coromandel Pictures will be posted on David Goes Kiwi soon.

1. The Milford Track

I think the first thing I did to prepare for my New Zealand trip was to book a spot on the famous Milford Track. It’s New Zealand’s most well-known hiking trail, and only a limited number of spots are available every year. I booked in August and the first available spot was January 29th. That exclusivity set some pretty high expectations in me, but the “finest walk in the world” lived up to them, it really did. Fiordland is a magical place. Hikers are advised to prepare for heavy rains, as the Fiordland area gets pounded year round, but miraculously, we had four straight days of sunshine. The 300+ photos I took don’t really do it justice.

One of countless river crossings throughout the track milford track mountain Everywhere you go on the track there are sheer mountain walls on either side, streaked with waterfalls lake mintaro Looking down the valley from Lake Mintaro. On the mountain face you can see dozens of tiny waterfalls coming off the snow field. The mossy basin at the bottom of the 600-meter Sutherland falls. We all took turns climbing on the rocks behind the falls. The falling water creates a powerful wind — it’s hard to catch a breath in the thick spray. In the foreground is a Swedish hiker, making her way to the base.

 

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The natural beauty of New Zealand blew my mind many times over. These are just ten of the places I visited in my six months, and there is so much I didn’t see. New Zealand has a piece of my heart forever. I will be back one day, no question about it.

Don’t die without seeing this place. Get a guidebook now and start planning. [The National Geographic ones are great.]

Nobody regrets going to New Zealand.

 

R

All photos by David Cain


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{ 108 Comments }

Jay Schryer May 14, 2010 at 6:29 am

These are all really beautiful! It seems like a hiker’s paradise, I know you had a great time.

But what I want to know is, did you see any hobbits? Elves? Wizards? Where are *those* pictures, David? Hmm? :D

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David May 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

They demanded ten dollars per photo. I refused, and Gandalf zapped my camera with his staff, erasing them all.

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Eric August 8, 2012 at 2:41 am

Did you see prudo & Bilbo Baggins there? Lol nice place ..hoping that one day i ll be there..

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Sarah December 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Yeah, I’ve seen Bilbo. Nice little hobbit, I must admit, though he takes handkerchiefs far too seriously. NZ is a wonderful place, so glad I live here.

zarah September 11, 2011 at 12:03 am

nz isn’t all about the lord of the rings movie you know

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Jaytee October 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

You’re right…It’s about Rat Monkeys infecting people, making them murderous zombies.

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Jay November 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Especially since LoTR are boring movies.

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Douglas May 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm

My girlfriend has always wanted to take a trip to New Zealand, and now I see why.

I will have to experience this place myself some day.

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David May 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Putting all these pictures together made me realize how special a place it really is. I had only ever looked at my photos from one place at a time. And there’s so much more to see.

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Tim May 15, 2010 at 12:00 am

I really like it. It’s on the list. NZ is waiting for me.

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I just love it when you don’t talk about something incredibly profound. It’s just refreshing to hear you talk from your heart about all that beauty.
.-= Tim´s last blog ..Really? =-.

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David May 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm

This post was really fun to put together. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, this is a 33000-word article.

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Jill May 15, 2010 at 1:44 am

New //////zealand new it was beautiful….You just reminded me I must get my passport up and going!!!THANKX

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David May 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Do it!

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Joy May 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm

David,
I live in paradise and I’m completely blown away by your photos…makes me appreciate my little corner of the world as much…..
Such stunning beauty captured in each photo! Gorgeous!!! Just one spot is exquisite–all together is almost overwhelming…how can you possibly let it all soak in??? Your heart must be absolutely overflowing with all that you’ve experienced in these past few months, and now you’re on to a new adventure….May all that you’ve experienced be an amazing foundation for all that you are about to experience…
.-= Joy´s last blog ..Fearless Fun Friday…Fun in the Bathroom Mirror…. =-.

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David May 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Going through my photos, I was amazed at how much I’ve seen in such a short time. New Zealand is very casual about its natural beauty… you could make your way to a little-known lookout point, which might be completely free of tourists, even in high season, and see something literally worth writing home about. There’s just so, so much.

Maybe it hasn’t soaked in fully… I suspect it will when I get home.

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waheedullah musleh March 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

that’s very good

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Char (PSI Tutor:Mentor) May 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

It is so great that this is the world we live on~

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David May 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Yes! Beauty in ridiculous excess.

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Vincent Nguyen May 15, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Just amazing and stunning photos of New Zealand David.
Thank you for sharing them with us.
Did you encounter any exotic wildlife along the way?
.-= Vincent Nguyen´s last blog ..The Soldier =-.

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David May 16, 2010 at 1:10 am

Yes I had a few wildlife encounters: Wekas, eels, keas, and a lot of other birds. I also saw three sperm whales on a whale tour. New Zealand’s wildlife is pretty low-key. There are no native mammals (other than bats) so most of the life-forms are plants and birds. They are quite distinct though, having evolved in isolation.

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zarah September 11, 2011 at 12:09 am

nz has native birds, bats and lizards
no snakes thankfully

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Dr. G May 16, 2010 at 3:25 am

Fantastic photos, David!

I toured the North and South Island on a motorbike last Christmas/New Year for 3 weeks, and I have seen most of the places you mention, except Milford Sound – so I have a good reason to go back ;-)

It was truly fantastic, but for climate reasons, I prefer to stay in Bangkok (even though it’s getting a bit too hot now not only in terms of temperature…)

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David May 16, 2010 at 3:42 am

I’ve been hearing a lot about Bangkok recently. I’m in Sydney now, and I’m met more than a few backpackers who are delaying the Thailand portion of their trip. Is the violence localized to just one part of Bangkok?

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Dr. G May 16, 2010 at 4:06 am

Sorry to spoil this nice blog with such an unpleasant topic, but since you have asked: basically the violence is localized, but since things escalated since last Thursday, you’ll never know…
It has become very quiet on the streets, and as curfew is under discussion for tonight (for the first time in my 6 years in Thailand) it seems wise to delay trips that are not necessary, and observe the situation over the next days.

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Rong zhao May 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

I almost lost!!! thank you for sharing!

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Simon May 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Awwww… I’ll have to go back… I like the Coromandel Peninsula too, it didn’t feel completely discovered. Two great holidays in NZ aren’t enough.

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Mathieu D May 17, 2010 at 6:22 am

You, sir, just reminded me how badly I need to get traveling again. Peru was awesome but it’s so far away already.

It’ll be in my next goals list for sure. And New Zealand just got up in my list of MUST-GO places.

Thanks for sharing that!
Mat
.-= Mathieu D´s last blog ..Challenge #3, part 2: THE BRIDGE =-.

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John May 22, 2010 at 7:39 am

Such a friendly site you have, David. Congratulations. I am happy to have stumbled upon it. I know it will do me a world of good.

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David May 23, 2010 at 1:00 am

Happy to have you, John.

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Sasa June 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Gah! The terrible homesickness that you are inducing in me!

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David June 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Sorry!

I’ve been gone a month now and I miss New Zealand too. I will definitely come back, it’s an incredible place.

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Naresh August 1, 2010 at 4:31 am

Im new in New-Zealand through ur reasearch I find many important things for my study.Im happy to have this.Thank you.

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Emma September 25, 2010 at 10:35 am

I’m a New Zealander living in Belgium right now and I love this post of yours. I have to say that it wasn’t until I left the country that I realised just how special and beautiful it is! Your photos are stunning and I think you have a very good top ten. :) If you ever return I would recommend you make the drive out to a place called Cape Palliser near the Wairarapa. It’s very remote and it takes a couple of hours to get out there, but it’s absolutely worth it.

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David September 26, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I will return some day. There are a lot of places I haven’t been or haven’t explored much. I love NZ.

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Mollie October 18, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I enjoyed looking at your photos and I am delighted you enjoyed this beautiful country that I am lucky enough to call my home. You appreciation for NZ makes we realise how much I take it for granted!

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Madison January 9, 2011 at 1:47 am

Im glad you enjoyed New Zealand, I live basically on Anawhata Beach. Next time you come you might prefer the upper Northland it has a beautifull setting and is widely credited for its wildlife

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R.SAILESH January 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

very,very beautiful

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Makayla June 8, 2011 at 5:10 am

These pictures are stunning. I’m glad to be living in New Zealand… Next time you come, you should take a trip to some of New Zealand islands, such as tiri tiri matangi island, and many more. Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures- i can feel your passion for the country ! :)

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dayangani June 22, 2011 at 4:57 am

being a human we should be proud because we have opportunity to see pictures like these. but i can’t to visit see these places because i am belongs to poor family. however i want to thanks for u. i love NZ.

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Jon June 22, 2011 at 9:19 am

New Zealand looks absolutely fantastic! I’m going to start my first year of college in the fall, and soon I’ll have to submit my request for where I want to study abroad. I’ve never traveled more than two days’ drive from my house, but I’d love to have some sort of career where I could travel all the time when I graduate. Anyway, you’ve convinced me to put New Zealand at the top of the list of places I hope to study in a few years (right next to Austrailia and England). Thanks for such a great website!

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Belinda Tipene June 24, 2011 at 1:13 am

These pictures are beautiful… So proud to be from NZ

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JAYARAM August 9, 2011 at 2:34 am

What a beautiful places in Newzeland !!!!!. I wish that the next time I will be in Newzeland.

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zarah September 11, 2011 at 12:12 am

New Zealand is spelt like that

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marina August 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

wow what a beautiful places you are very lucky that you have seen all that places.may you seen more more and moreeeeeeeeeee beautiful places bye

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Rubaiya Jahan Bani September 5, 2011 at 3:28 am

really very nice….

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zarah September 11, 2011 at 12:16 am

ANYONE FROM AMERICA WISHING TO GO TO NZ?
be warned if you ask for a kiwi [the fruit] you’ll get some funny looks
kiwi is our national bird
in nz the fruit is called kiwi-fruit

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zarah September 11, 2011 at 12:19 am

any aussi wishing to go to nz should be warned that we hate possums they are like wild rabbits on farm land
pests
i saying this cause i heard that australians love possums

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Muhammad Naeem September 14, 2011 at 12:25 am

hi! im Muhammad Naeem from Pakistan . New zeland so really so beautifull. i like new zeland .

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D October 5, 2011 at 11:05 pm

If you were to go to NZ for a week where would you go?

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David October 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Hmm… I would do everything possible to extend that stay but if it wasn’t possible, I’d fly into Auckland, spend a day at the beaches in the Waitakere area, then drive out to Mt Maunganui, then down to Taupo and Tongariro National Park, then back.

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Amrit October 24, 2011 at 4:22 am

These r fantastic and wonderful pictures. Now i also want to visit there. Thanks friends for these.

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ivin October 27, 2011 at 1:28 am

i am very excited while i am watching your photos ,these are beautiful picture and nz looks like the praradie in the world . i dream to visit nz someday.i really love it . thanks so much for your sharing .

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Rohan November 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Great pics David!!! While I am watching your pics, I am looking at my calendar to plan a trip :) Thanks a ton for sharing ! :)

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asanka November 7, 2011 at 12:48 am

DEAR DEVID . I M VERY POOR. BUT TRY TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND. I HOPE I CAN DO IT.

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Haji gul April 6, 2014 at 8:56 am

i love new zealand i hope one day i will must see new zealand

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Mel January 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

Loved reading this post – and for once I don’t need to get travel-envy, since I live right here! I’m going to make the most of tomorrow’s sunshine. :-)

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Bren February 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

WOW! Soo ahhmazing, thanks for taking time to show us all about these wonderful places!(:

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MAYMAY March 6, 2012 at 1:26 am

i like all the places i wish that i can go there to visit this places … i cant see like places her in Philippines

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Montez Purifoy April 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

judging by the sites, I wish Ilived in New Zealand

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Ed June 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

That’s so beautiful. I wish I could do that trip sometime. The Milford track especially

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naveen June 21, 2012 at 6:53 am

really superb,,,fantastic place for live and for tour………
i love newzeland and i want to come there……

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Divine June 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

i love reading all those comments.. Now i am more excited to be in NZ and explore those beautiful places i have seen in the pic.. It’s fabulous and amazing..

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Princess Fiona July 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I also dream to live in New Zealand someday…

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မုဒိတာ July 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

VERY VERY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

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Nish August 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Hi David

Amazing information and pics. I am planning a trip in Dec this year. Have 2 weeks. I know you would suggest to extend it, but can’t. Saw your reply above places to visit if there for a week. Coming from North America, I am not into beaches(unless they are really comparable to Caribbean), but really want to see landscape of NZ. Any suggestions?

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z September 11, 2012 at 4:12 am

*sigh* nz isn’t all about the lord of the rings u know
i agree that milford sound get first place

{if u anyone goes to christchurch,nz -visit kaiteriteri beach

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Galina September 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Hi Dave,

question for you – we have a total of 2 weeks to go to Australia and we want to spend maybe 9 days in AU and 5 days in NZ…how would you recommend spending those 5 days? I am torn between Christchurch, Auckland and Queenstown.

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Ollie October 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Cheers for this mate, I didn’t realise how much we actually have in this country. Been looking for some stuff to do this summer, your list definitely helped my plans. Thanks man :)

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Kimmy October 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hi David,

I totally agree with you. I was in NZ back in the 90′s for just 1 week and definitely not enough!
Such, I plan to go again next year :-)
This time would be 2 weeks :-)
And contemplating whether to go during spring or Autumn. I have not seen autumn and I love to see those colourful leaves :-D
What would you suggest?

You should visit Malaysia too. She too is a beautiful place and with the lower currency, you get to spend more :-)

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David October 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

Honestly, it’s beautiful any time. Go whenever it works best for you. Just remember than their autumn happens when spring happens in the northern hemisphere.

I’d love to go to Malaysia.

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Jason Glover February 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Being an island nation the seasons lag quite considerably. Meaning that the beginning of spring feels like its still winter, the first half of “summer” feels like spring, the first half autumn still feels like summer, etc.

For instance it is February right now and summer only just got its straps on!

Feb-March is pretty bloody nice. April is nice still too but starting to get nippy.

Follow your instincts, come see the beautiful autumn colours.

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Chris November 2, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Hey.. Your pictures are stunning. I’m going to New Zealand tonitee from Sydney. Your pictures really give me goosebumps. I would like to know what camera and lens(lenses) you’ve been using for this amazing photos?

Chris

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David November 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Hey Chris. All of the photos here were taken with a cheap panasonic point-and-shoot. I’d love to go back now that I’ve studied photography and have a decent camera.

If you like these you might like my NYC pictures:

http://www.raptitude.com/2012/01/all-i-can-say-about-new-york/

Enjoy NZ!

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Audrey November 10, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hey David, thanks for sharing your beautiful pics and experience!! I did the north island a few years ago and have been kicking myself ever since for not making it to the south island (I know it was ridiculous to go all that way and it do both but alas, out of my control). My boyfriend and I are returning in March ’13 and FINALLY doing the south!! 10 days in NZ and 4 days cook islands (not including travel time). Do you think it’s practical to fly into CHC and hit up all the way down to Milford Sound and all the way up to Abel Tasman? With Queenstown and a Fox or Franz Josef glacier walk in between (I’m aware that this a LOT of driving but we plan to do a car hire). I’ve been warned too not to try and do too much in too short of time (especially since we want to hike/kayak/bike as much as possible)….so wondering if you have any advice? I’m torn because Milford and Abel are both “must do’s” on the list and right now I don’t think I can extend the trip past 10 days. Money is somewhat of a factor as well. Thanks in advance for any advice! Cheers!

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ethan November 24, 2012 at 1:02 am

Wow, pics look good …..pity about the rest of nz ……suffers from medocrity

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Georgia December 1, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I went on the internet and started typing “facebook” and suddenly got the urge to type “beautiful places in new zealand” instead. So glad I randomly stumbled across your page, I never knew how mesmerising and unique New Zealand is! I know where I’ll be dragging my partner off to this christmas, Punakaiki coast, Waikato River and Abel Tasman Coast Track! Time for us to explore the amazing country we live in!! :) Thanks for the awesome blog! :)

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Carlos Romero December 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I have been to Karekare 5 years ago. Oh, my goodness! It is the most fascinating and calm place I have visited in my whole life. Next April I will be in NZ again and I just can’t wait to step those dark sands again.

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RAZINA December 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm

i love nz and the best place for me in nz is rotorua

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Sanj January 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

Hey Chris,
I’m planning a trip with my family in the middle of february. How many days (minimum) do you suggest we plan so that we can be satisfied that we didn’t turn back too early? We cant afford to take a really long vacation :(

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Debbie January 23, 2013 at 7:11 am

I am heading home to NZ in 7 weeks and I can’t wait. These pics remind me so much of what I miss. I am based in Raetihi near Mt Ruapehu and love the small town fell when I’m there. Thailand is a great place to live and work but it makes me appreciate ‘home’ so much more when I’m there. Thanks for sharing the pics and info.

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ankit ameria February 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

wow..new zealand is a really beatiful country

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Llyween February 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

How wonderful to see and read about our beautiful country and to be reminded that it is still out there. I live in Christchurch and sometimes I long to see something “nice” as there is so much ugly happening in what was once my beautiful city.

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jade February 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm

just from someones older post kaiteri teri is in the able tasman and i know this because i live in the motueka valley [ngatimoti] which is half an hour away and yes new zealand is amazing you should show kaikoura and hokitika the town of greenston/pounamu

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ghhhhhhhhh February 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm

you must also visit afghanistan, what a beautiful place come visit n experience something horrible beautiful

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sandeep kasture March 11, 2013 at 5:06 am

that is beautiful country

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Fred March 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I live in NZ and its a beautiful place. Did the fjordland trip and it was really pretty. Though i am surprised you haven’t added Queeenstown it a nice place

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Krystle Taiaroa April 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm

thank you SO much for sharing these stunning and utterly beautiful pictures with us all! I’m making me a new screen saver for my laptop made up of gorgeous pictures around New Zealand, and am so excited with your shots that I will definitely be using 1 of each! for area for personal uses :)

Thanks Again!

ps: so envious right now!

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Amanda April 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I live in New Zealand and just a few more suggestions…
1. Waitomo caves are absolutely amazing! trust me
2. Mount Manganui Beach. I live 15min away from here and always forget how lucky I am.
3. Moeraki Boulders are also really cool.

These would have to be three of my favourites!

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Amy May 10, 2013 at 5:09 am

Hi David,
I just stumbled upon your site while researching for my upcoming trip to NZ. I’m planning on staying in the north island because I have to fly in and out of Auckland. I was wondering would you recommend The Coromandel or Bay of Islands? I want to see really pretty beaches and do some hiking in some majestic forests, and see a hobbit of course, what do you suggest? Thanks! -Amy

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Danni May 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi,….You must visit the Bay Of Islands,great hiking in the Puketi Forest. Drive up to Cape Reinga Lighthouse…you can see where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet together, its beautiful, that is the tip of the North Island.

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Pablo May 28, 2013 at 5:11 am

Hi David!, Congratulations for your blog!!
I’m living in NZ, and I want to go to Paparoa National Park, was Te Nikau a good place to stay? Could you recommend me a hostel?
Thanks!

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David May 28, 2013 at 6:08 am

Te Nikau was an amazing pace. So peaceful and beautiful. Book it!

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Isaac June 2, 2013 at 2:30 am

I’m moving to New Zealand after I graduate college. Every time I see pictures it makes me want to move there even more. :)

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Runda June 9, 2013 at 6:04 am

Those pictures are breath taking. I have to plan a trip there one day. This is the place to be not Hawaii or Tahiti, NEW ZEALAND IT IS!

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Kenneth Wikstøl June 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

From a guy who`s been to New Zealand 6 times already and going on my next trip in December 2013, I would agree on most of your list :-) If I was to add a city on the list, it would be Nelson. That`s a lot to do with it`s close location to Abel Tasman and Golden Bay, which are awsome places. Lake Tarawera is amazing too, with a more remote hot water beach than the more known one on the Coromandel Pensinsula. My favourite spot, that will be the place I retire along with my wife one day, is the Coromandel Peninsula, so happy you put that on number 2 :-) New Zealand is truelly an amazing place worth exploring again and again! Thans for posting this, David :-)

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Carol Peters June 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm

it was good seeing your excellent pictures. I prefer New Zealand to anywhere else in the world to live (second is Vancover, British Columbia). Come up North when you come again. We have the best dive in the world at the Poor Knights Island.

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Lawrence September 10, 2013 at 3:35 am

Hi David,

It’s all a great pictures you have shared & a truly a place that should not be missed.
Am Lawrence from Singapore, I have visited Australia seen most of the places as my brother leaves there in Adelaide.
I have always wanted to visit New Zealand but didn’t get an opportunity, well now am all prepared to go next month for a very short visit like a week cause need to get back to work you know Singaporeans are all workaholic.
Could you please advice where I should really head too for such a short trip that I would always cherish in my heart as this is my very first visit to New Zealand?

Cheers
Lawrence

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David Cain September 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

If I only had a week, I’d fly into Auckland, then head out to the Bay of Plenty, swinging through the Coromandel on the way.

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hershey park October 21, 2013 at 2:30 am

Really amazing palce love to visit it.

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Justin Coleman December 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thank you sir and everyone else who contributed their info. Heading To N.Z. in a week for six weeks. I’ll be looking for all these places.

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Fonso December 31, 2013 at 10:00 am

I hope one day when I retire, I’ll have the resources to be able to buy a home there and live off the rest of my life in that beautiful country. Much like how Bilbo lived at Rivendell.

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shams January 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm

i am living in NZ , it is really nice place to live ..

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farhan ahmed bablani January 31, 2014 at 4:49 am

newzealand is called the youngest country in the world according to books of g k mostly through net i see the butfull fotos of the well being around

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Brenda February 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Hi David, I have two questions I would love your thoughts on! And thanks for this great summary!!

1) Can you recommend which is more scenic and beautiful beaches… Coromandel or Waitakere beaches?
2) In Coromandel area, which beaches do you think are prettiest (and quiet vs many people)? Three possibilities I found are Cathedral Cove, New Chums, and Onemana. Curious your thoughts on these or all in Coromandel.

Thanks so very much!
Brenda

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David Cain February 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I didn’t see all that much of the Coromandel’s beaches, but the waitakere beaches were absolutely unreal, you just can’t go wrong. If you are a beach person don’t miss the Waitakere area.

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Scott Ruddlesden March 6, 2014 at 1:50 am

Excellent site. I have lived away from NZ now for 6 years and seeing your photos , reading your comments and the comments of others makes me so proud to have grown up there and call New Zealand home. Two of my children have yet to visit New Zealand . It isn’t until you leave the place you realise how much spectacular beauty there is there and how easy it is to become so accustomed to it that it can be taken for granted. I am now officially home sick and misty eyed. My family and I are now due to fly to NZ in 3 weeks. Thanks for the reminder. Top Blog!

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Lina April 22, 2014 at 12:09 am

Love your photos!

We think the Catlins are a MUST SEE for New Zealand. The penguins and dolphins plus the amazing beaches make it incredibly beautiful and diverse! We’ve been living here for 6 months now and the days we spent in the Catlins were some of our favorites!

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Erick torres April 23, 2014 at 6:41 am

I love new Zealand very much,beautiful country.

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