Sometimes referred to as “God’s own country” thanks to its poetry-inspiring landscapes, New Zealand is known globally for having some of the most spectacular examples of natural beauty in the world. As an upshot, the number of visitors keeps growing year after year, to the point that tourism is now New Zealand’s second most valuable fund of revenue.
But, with nearly 20,000 square miles of national parks and wilderness areas, it can be hard to choose a particular destination. Read on for a list of the top 5 natural highlights in New Zealand.
1- Waitakere Range National Park
The Waitakere mountain range is within simple reach of Auckland and offers a perfect combination of mountain and coastal scenery. There could be no surpass way to start your day than heading out to Piha early in the morning to catch a glimpse of the sea mist rising above the beach. Piha is an equally stunning spot to catch a sunset. The park is also a protected Heritage Area due to its biodiversity, so visitors will have a bounty of chances to learn about its unique species, like long-tailed bats and kauri snails.
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2- Doubtful Sound & Milford Sound
Located within the breathtaking Fiordland National Park, these fjords are simply magical spots that sum up pretty well the reasons why New Zealand does not fail to impress its visitors. There are several ways of exploring this area, including sailing on a luxury vessel cruise, kayaking, and compelling attractive flights. Some travel agents (like ANZCRO) can also book you in for a visit to the 10-meter deep underwater observatory where you can learn about the area’s exotic corals and sea creatures.
Because of its location, trips to Doubtful & Milford Sound can be combined with excursions to Queenstown and the West Coast Glaciers. Sample itineraries can be found at this link
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3- Waitomo Caves
Located in the North Island and just two and a half hours away from Auckland, the Waitomo Caves are a testament to New Zealand’s ancient past, which spans 30 million years. These caves contain impressive limestone formations like stalactites and stalagmites, and guided tours will take visitors through their labyrinthine layout. Another highlight of a visit to Waitomo is the likelihood of watching the thousands of glowworms that inhabit the caves. For the most adventurous, abseiling and blackwater tubing are also possible.
4- West Coast Glaciers
New Zealand’s West Coast is known for its dramatic scenery, which includes snow-capped peaks, lush rainforest areas, rugged fjords, and glaciers. According to the Maori tradition, the glaciers are the frozen tears of a without hope girl. The glaciers can be reached by road or, if you feel up for a truly spectacular approach, by helicopter. There are several hikes available in the area.
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5- Bay of Islands Maritime Park
This park is the ideal destination for sea lovers and watersports enthusiasts. The stunning beauty of the park’s 144 islands will surely be the highlight of your trip, as you explore isolated beaches, silent bays, spectacular cliffs, quaint fishing villages, and historic Maori settlements. Swimming with dolphins is a well-loved activity in the Bay of Islands, and so are day cruises, sailing, canoeing, diving, and fishing.
Here are the best 5 Natural Highlights of New Zealand.