Consistently voted one of the world’s most beautiful places, tiny New Zealand has more beauty spread across its two islands than countries several times larger. From jagged peaks to stunning seaside locations, there’s barely an inch of the country that doesn’t look like it’s been edited in Photoshop. Here are a few of our favourites just for starters…
Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown
New Zealand‘s longest lake is fringed by the snow-capped Remarkables mountain range and has starred in movies including The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. If you plan on jumping in for a dip, be warned: its temperature doesn’t get much warmer than 10 degrees, even in summer!
Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park
The country’s most popular tourist destination, Milford Sound has it all: towering mountains on all sides, brilliantly cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear water. Plus, you can spot penguins, seals, dolphins and even the occasional whale!
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel Peninsula
Named for a rock formation with soaring ceilings like a cathedral, Cathedral Cove is a small stretch of coastline that can only be reached by foot or boat. Relax on the sand and look on in wonder at this ancient cave, where Maori chiefs used to tread.
Matamata, Waikato Region
You might not have heard of Matamata – but if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, the town known as The Shire might ring a bell! The rolling hills near the town are where The Shire was set, and the hobbit houses that were built into the hillside remain, adding charm to the lush green of the area.
Bay of Islands
This one bay boasts more than 144 islands, a number of incredible lookouts, and the famous Hole in the Rock – a natural tunnel that runs through one of the islands. Hop on a boat tour of the waters, or just enjoy the view from Cape Brett lookout.
Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Stand in awe of these glaciers, which sweep across the landscape for kilometres. See where the glaciers have moved through alpine valleys for thousands of years, leaving steep stone walls in their wake, and walk through tunnels in the blue ice.
Hokitika Gorge, Hoktika
Thanks to a heady combination of glacial waters and plankton, the water that flows through Hokitika Gorge is an unforgettable shade of blue-green. Head onto the swing bridge that hangs over the gorge for incredible views of the luminescent river.
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