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7 Reasons Why You Should Visit New Zealand in 2024: The Land of the Long White Cloud

There’s nowhere quite like New Zealand. This remote island nation is a must-visit destination for anyone with a heart for adventure and a thirst for wide open spaces and jaw-dropping scenery.

There’s never been a better time to plan your trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud. With its majestic mountains, serene fjords, and vibrant Māori culture, New Zealand has something for every kind of traveller.

Why Visit New Zealand?

New Zealand is a place where you can discover pristine beaches, majestic mountains, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes – all in one day! It’s one of my favourite countries in the world and a place I’m itching to return to.

From the picturesque landscapes of Milford Sound to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, every corner of this enchanting country will leave you in awe.

There are so many reasons why you should mark Aotearoa on your map for 2024. Here are seven:

1. Unbelievable Natural Landscapes

Mount Ngauruhoe AKA Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hiking trail

New Zealand’s dramatic natural scenery is a breathtaking and unbelievably varied tapestry of landscapes.

The country is a canvas of ever-changing scenes. Volcanic plateaus give way to sandy beaches, and lush rainforests encircle glacial fjords. There are so many beautiful places to visit in New Zealand, it’s impossible to see them all on one trip alone.

If you’re seeking tranquillity, Lake Wanaka’s reflective waters offer a picture-perfect retreat with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Or venture up to the subtropical Bay of Islands in the far north.

Those more inclined to the rugged outdoors can tackle the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (see photo above), known for its dramatic volcanoes, emerald lakes, and lunar-like terrain.

Don’t miss a trip to Fiordland National Park and the iconic Milford Sound, where cascading waterfalls plunge hundreds of metres into deep blue waters, and towering peaks pierce the sky.

2. Adventure Activities

paraglider flying above queenstown in south island of new zealand

New Zealand is the undisputed heavyweight champion of thrill-seeking. This is the country where bungee jumping was born after all.

Skydiving offers an unparalleled view of the country’s towering mountains, pristine lakes, and picturesque landscapes, from the golden beaches of the North Island to the snow-capped peaks on the South.

Taking a thrilling ride on the world’s first commercial jet boat on Queenstown’s Shotover River should also be on your bucket list.

If you want a slightly more relaxed adventure, New Zealand’s cycling trails and nature walks offer endless opportunities to take in the remarkable scenery. You can kayak through tranquil fjords or explore ancient forests.

The Bay of Islands is ideal for sailing. Surfers can catch epic waves on the beaches of Gisborne. Or hit up one of New Zealand’s epic multi-day hiking trails.

3. Māori Culture and Heritage

maori warriors in traditional dress performing

Immerse yourself in the living history of New Zealand by experiencing the culture of the Māori people. The Māori are the Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, known for their traditional haka war dance, skilled craftsmanship, and hangi feasts.

You can witness these customs at a Marae (a communal or sacred place) and learn about the ancient Māori myths and legends that shape their culture.

Don’t miss a trip to Rotorua, a geothermal wonderland and a significant centre of Māori cultural life.

Here, you can embrace the warmth of Māori hospitality and understand the importance of their relationship with the land as you soak in the healing waters of the natural hot springs.

4. Unique Wildlife

kea bird looking out from green undergrowth in new zealand

New Zealand’s geographic isolation has resulted in the evolution of a unique set of flora and fauna that aren’t found anywhere else on Earth.

The country is a paradise for birdwatchers, with species like the flightless kiwi bird, the curious kea, and the critically endangered kakapo (or “owl parrot”).

Listen out for my favourite NZ bird, the tui, with its bizarre and distinctive call.

Head to the picturesque seaside town of Kaikoura for the chance to spot fur seals, playful dusky dolphins, and mighty sperm whales.

You may even see a Hector’s dolphin, one of the world’s smallest dolphins that’s only found in New Zealand.

5. Thriving Food and Wine Scene

wine and food pairing and tasting in new zealand

New Zealand’s culinary scene is a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural influences and abundance of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. There’s also a strong movement in New Zealand towards sustainable and ethical food production.

For a taste of Māori-inspired cuisine, restaurants across New Zealand serve up traditional dishes with a contemporary spin. Try hangi (meat and vegetables cooked in an earth oven), or a classic Kiwi fish and chips in one of the many seaside towns.

There are food festivals throughout the year celebrating everything from seafood to cheese and chocolate.

Venture through the grapevines of Marlborough to sample world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc. Or Central Otago, famous for producing award-winning Pinot Noir.

Take a wine-tasting tour and visit some of the picturesque vineyards for tastings and a leisurely lunch.

6. Film Tourism and Iconic Locations

hobbit house with circular green door in hobbiton film set in new zealand

New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes have not only captured the hearts of travellers but also caught the attention of filmmakers.

The country has been the backdrop for numerous blockbuster films, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

Fans can visit iconic filming locations like Hobbiton in Matamata for a behind-the-scenes look at the Shire. Hike to Mount Doom (aka Mount Ngauruhoe) in Tongariro National Park.

Venture further into the wilderness to discover Isengard, Rohan, and the Misty Mountains. Or explore the real-life Middle Earth in the lush forests and rolling hills of the Waikato region.

Take a helicopter tour over Milford Sound and the rugged landscapes of Mount Cook, which provided majestic backdrops in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Don’t forget to snap a photo at one of the many “Wellywood” movie landmarks in Wellington, nicknamed for its thriving film industry. Immerse yourself in the magic and allure of New Zealand’s many iconic film locations, and let your imagination run wild.

7. Sustainable Tourism Initiatives

maori wood carvings in rural new zealand

New Zealand is a global leader when it comes to ecotourism and conservation efforts.

The country’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its extensive network of protected natural areas, including national parks, marine reserves, and conservation estates.

Encounters with nature (from whale-watching boat trips to guided treks) are often structured to minimise disturbance and contribute to local conservation efforts.

This emphasis on kaitiakitanga (Māori for guardianship) makes New Zealand an ideal destination for anyone who wants to experience the beauty of nature while also minimising their impact on the environment.

(Other than the thousands of kilos of CO2 emitted by flying there, of course…)

beach and bay near kaikoura new zealand with mountains and sea

Final Thoughts

For me, the magic of New Zealand lies in its breathtaking natural landscapes, the countless opportunities for outdoor adventure, the high quality of life, and the rich Māori culture that adds depth to every experience.

It’s an incredibly captivating country, offering a unique blend of adventure, culture, and natural serenity. I can’t wait to return there.

Additional Information on Visiting New Zealand

powerful waterfall in milford sound new zealand

New Zealand Travel Tips:

  • New Zealand is renowned for its safety and friendliness, but it’s always wise to take precautions.
  • Keep your belongings secure, especially in tourist areas.
  • English is the primary language spoken in New Zealand, but you’ll also hear Māori, the Indigenous language, spoken in many places. Learning a few Māori greetings shows respect for the culture and will be appreciated.
  • Public transport in New Zealand is generally pretty efficient and affordable and is an eco-friendly way to get around.
  • Consider hiring a car if you want to get off the beaten track and explore more remote areas.

Best Time to Visit New Zealand:

  • The best time to visit New Zealand depends on your preferences. Summer (December to February) is perfect for outdoor activities, beach time, and hiking.
  • Autumn (March to May) offers pleasant (albeit cooler) weather, stunning foliage, and fewer crowds, making it an ideal time for exploring.
  • Winter (June to August) is great for skiing and snowboarding in the Southern Alps, while spring (September to November) is a good time to enjoy blooming gardens and wildlife.
emerald lake close up in tongariro national park

Top Destinations to Visit:

  • Auckland: New Zealand’s largest city is known for its gorgeous natural harbour, vibrant arts scene, and iconic landmarks like the Sky Tower.
  • Queenstown: The adventure capital of the world offers epic bungee jumping, skydiving, jet boating, skiing, hiking, and access to Fiordland National Park.
  • Rotorua: Explore geothermal wonders and Māori culture, and relax in natural hot springs.
  • Tongariro National Park: Spectacular volcanic landscape home to one of the best day hikes in the world, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
  • Milford Sound: Witness the breathtaking fjords, waterfalls, and wildlife on a scenic cruise through this iconic New Zealand destination.
  • Wellington: The capital city boasts museums, galleries, and the excellent Wētā Workshop for film buffs.
  • Abel Tasman National Park: Enjoy pristine beaches, hiking trails, and kayaking in this coastal paradise.

IMPORTANT: Never travel without travel insurance!

Here are three companies that I’ve used, and thoroughly recommend:

  • HeyMondo – the best value travel insurance provider on the market. They cover virtually every country in the world, they have an easy-to-use app, and their policies are straightforward and upfront, with minimal (often no) deductibles and excesses.
  • SafetyWing – if you’re a digital nomad like me, it’s essential that you have suitable insurance. It’s super flexible and affordable, you can sign up for as little or as long as you want, and can activate and deactivate it whenever you need to.
  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

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Who Am I?

Alex-Tiffany-photo

  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.

 

  • I’m on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all.

 

  • I created this site to inspire, encourage and enable as many people to get outside and explore as much of our beautiful world as possible.

 

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