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Things to Do in New Zealand: A Guide

Things to Do in New Zealand

New Zealand is a stunning country filled with a range of activities and attractions that cater to different interests. In this post, we’ll take a tour of some of the best things to do in New Zealand that you cannot afford to miss. No matter if you’re visiting for a week or a month, I’ve got you covered.

New Zealand, a land of breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures, awaits your exploration. From snow-capped mountains and pristine lakes to lush forests and stunning coastlines, this island nation is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies alike.

Things To Do in New Zealand

Immerse yourself in the rich Maori culture, hike through magnificent national parks, embark on thrilling outdoor activities, and indulge in exquisite culinary experiences. Join us as we unveil an incredible array of things to do in New Zealand, ensuring an unforgettable journey through this captivating destination.

Sky Tower

Spend a Night in a Mountain Hut

A unique and amazing experience in New Zealand is spending a night in a mountain hut. These cabins located in the middle of nowhere offer an excellent opportunity to get rid of all of the noise and make people go away.  You can find them all over the country, ranging from basic to luxury, to suit your preference.  I prefer mine with a man-slave and whiskey, but I haven’t found that service yet. You’ll have everything you need, from cooking utensils to bedding.

Swim with Dolphins

Swimming with dolphins is an unforgettable experience that is on most people’s bucket lists. You can definitely do that here!  If you desire to keep the sharks at bay, drop by a few places in New Zealand where it’s common to do this. Kaikoura is one of the best locations for this. Here, you can swim with these playful creatures in their natural habitat.

mountain hut


Eat a Fergburger

Eat a what?  It made me a little nervous to try this one, but your visit to New Zealand won’t be complete without a stop at Fergburger, a world-renowned burger joint. The burgers are massive and loaded with toppings, and you will leave fat and happy. You can choose from a variety of burger flavors, but the Samurai burger is a must-try.

Bungee Jump

If you like something that’s a bit more wild and crazy, add want to add in a splash of adrenaline, bungee jumping is for you.  Bungee jumping to this level is one of the crazier things you can do in New Zealand due to it being the birthplace of bungee jumping. The Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown is one of the most popular spots to experience this once-in-a-lifetime activity.  If only I would have tried it when my body parts were all attached in the right places.  After a few too many spinal fusions, I’ll have to leave this activity to all of my adrenaline junkie friends.

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Learn about Māori Culture

To immerse yourself in the rich Māori culture, visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. You can learn about Māori art, history, and culture through the exhibits.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands is another great place to learn about Māori culture, where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840.

Mount Ruapehu volcano is where the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is located, and it’s considered to be one of the best stargazing spots in the world. I’m all about finding sparkly and shiny things, so of course, this is on my list.

You can learn about Māori spirituality while viewing the unique Southern Cross and other constellations visible only in New Zealand.

North vs South

New Zealand is a traveler’s paradise with endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. However, with two main Islands to choose from, visitors often ask themselves whether to visit the North Island or the South Island. Each island has its unique attractions, and the choice ultimately depends on what you want to experience during your visit. The landscape, climate, and city versus outdoor experiences are what will help you to determine which way to go.

Landscape and Climate

The North Island is known for its lush greenery, rolling hills, and beautiful beaches, while the South Island is famous for its rugged mountain ranges and glaciers. The North Island has a warmer and more humid climate, making it perfect for beach lovers, while the South Island is cooler and rainier, providing ideal conditions for those interested in outdoor activities. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world, and it calls my name every day.  From the mountains to the beaches, you can reach anything you so desire within a day. 


The North Island is home to the stunning Bay of Islands, Waitomo Caves, and the vibrant city of Auckland. Meanwhile, the South Island has attractions like Milford Sound, which is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World, as well as the massive glaciers Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.

City Life and Culture

Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, is located on the North Island and is known for its buzzing nightlife and arts scene. Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island, is renowned for its gardens and parks. Whether you’re after a relaxed holiday or a lively one, both islands have something to offer. So, pick your poison.  Wild and crazy parties or enjoy the adrenaline rush of the outdoors.

Food and Wine

Both islands are famous for their delectable cuisine and world-class wine (yep, wine, I said it), and it all comes down to what you’re most interested in. The North Island is perfect for those looking for adventure sports, while the South Island is perfect for those seeking a more laid-back vacation.


If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the South Island is the ideal choice, with its towering mountains and glaciers. The island offers many adrenaline-fueled activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, and white-water rafting. Meanwhile, the North Island is an ideal destination for hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking.

Visit Hobbiton: If you’re a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films, take a tour of Hobbiton in Matamata and explore the famous movie set.

Hike the Great Walks: New Zealand offers several Great Walks, such as the Milford Track, Routeburn Track, and Kepler Track, where you can immerse yourself in the country’s stunning natural beauty.

Visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Explore the enchanting glowworm caves in Waitomo, where you can take a boat ride through caves illuminated by thousands of glowworms.

Take a Scenic Train Journey: Experience breathtaking train journeys, including the TranzAlpine Railway, Coastal Pacific, and Northern Explorer, which showcase New Zealand’s diverse landscapes.

Go Whale Watching: Kaikoura is a renowned destination for whale watching, where you can spot sperm whales and other marine life.


Whether you decide to visit the North Island or the South Island, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in New Zealand. Each island has its own unique offerings, and your decision should be based on your preferences and what you’re looking to gain from your vacation. Whether you’re after adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, you’ll find it all in this breathtaking country. Maybe start with the wild and crazy adrenaline adventures and head off to the city for a massage and some nightlife.  But no matter where you go, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.