11 Most Beautiful Places We Visited in New Zealand

There is so much beauty in New Zealand. Really, there is so much beauty in every country, but it was possible for us to see many of the beautiful places in New Zealand in a short timeframe, so it felt like more beauty per square foot. Even just driving on the highway often ranged from serenely beautiful to stunningly beautiful. As a result, it was tough to make this list.

Roughly in chronological order from north island to south island:

Among the steam and geysers in Rotorua was this super green pool of acidic water.

Hobbiton…wow. It was just amazing. It felt like we got to live in the Shire for a few hours.

This is the one photo I didn’t take, as cameras weren’t allowed in the glowworm caves on the north island. We went tubing here, and at certain points when we turned off our lights, it looked like this.

Mt. Doom! It has Maori name too, but the hike to the infamous Lord of the Rings mountain is unforgettable.

This is at the pancake rocks on the south island. This rainbow was just meters away from where we stood.

I highly recommend the hike to the Franz Josef glacier. You can’t access the glacier from here, but it’s an easy hike along the former path of the glacier, and it was unlike any other hike I’ve ever done.

This is one of many photos I took on the Fox Glacier itself.

Near Wanaka is supposedly the filming location for the Misty Mountains. We couldn’t figure out exactly which mountains they were, but the rocky view was worth the attempt.

This is another filming location for Lord of the Rings, Lothlorien. We parked our car near some cows and headed into the woods to become elves.

This photo doesn’t capture just how blue the water was along the filming location for the Pillars of the Kings.

The bay at Queenstown was simply lovely in the evening.

I’m sure there are many other beautiful places in New Zealand. If you’ve been there, what’s your favorite? If you haven’t, what’s one of the most beautiful places you’ve visited in the last few years?


8 Responses to “11 Most Beautiful Places We Visited in New Zealand”

  1. Christchurch and Canterbury region! Mainly because I live here 😉.
    Love going up the Gondola and walking down the bridle path to Lyttelton.

  2. My favorite place in New Zealand is the Waipoua Kauri Forest in Northland. The approach to Hokianga Harbour is also quite striking. And I love Rotorua, especially the boiling mud pools.

    The South Island around Cromwell/Alexandria reminds me of the American West and they get a nice crisp autumn.

    The Otago Peninsula by Dunedin is incredible; I once spent the day driving around it, taking in the albatross colony and hiking down to a beach at dusk to watch yellow eyed penguins pop out of the water for the night.

  3. T-Mac says:

    Wow, Jaam. Looking at your pictures makes me yearn for New Zealand. A lot of what you listed also makes my “best of New Zealand” list. I’m so glad you got to experience such a beautiful country. Here are a few that jump to my mind that weren’t pictured here (in mostly North to South order).

    1. Bay of Islands – small towns set in beautiful inlets.
    2. Wellington, as seen from Mt. Victoria Lookout point (mountain immediately beside the city). Actually, the entire 360 degree view from Mt. Victoria.
    3. The rugged landscape of the Cook Strait, as seen from the interislander ferry
    4. The Abel Tasman Coast track (walking/hiking trail)
    5. Cape Foulwind, with its fat seals and strong gusts!
    6. Akaroa, a cute seaside village located in a the microclimate formed by a long-since blasted out volcano by Christchurch
    7. The beach littered with Moeraki boulders and tiny seashells
    8. Pretty much everything about Queenstown, but specifically the view from the mountaintop after taking the gondola up.
    9. Waterfalls at Milford Sound…pretty much all of Fiordland National Park!
    10. Nugget Point Lighthouse

  4. Andrea, London (UK) says:

    Thank you for these stunning pictures and the recent travel tips – New Zealand is high on my travel whishlist, though the next big trip is Japan. Do you mind me saving the link and landscape pictures on my Pinterest board for later?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Of course, save away! I studied abroad in Japan, so I have recommendations there too if you want them (particularly in Kyoto). 🙂

      • Andrea, London (UK) says:

        That’s awfully kind and yes, tips for Kyoto are very welcome. It’s still a bit to go until October 2020 though. How much time to you recommend for Kyoto itself? I am planing on being in Japan for 10 days. Maybe you can do a top 10 list at some point. Cheers

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          I’d recommend 2 days for Kyoto. I realize as I’m trying to write this that I know Kyoto by sight, but not necessarily by name or location! I think the key in Kyoto is that there are many beautiful temples that are in the main city limits–you can just spend a day walking around that area, and you’ll see so, so much. Then you might want an extra day for some of the famous temples on the outskirts of the city like the Golden Pavilion.

          • Andrea, London (UK) says:

            Cheers, Jamey. I like just wandering around and blending in when visiting a foreign city but will certainly pick some must-sees as well. I am off for boardgame night, we have Village, Wingspan and Oracle of Delphi on the list. Have a great week and happy gaming!

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