New Zealand is at the top of our list of countries we would absolutely love to revisit. Having spent a month traveling both islands, our affection for the country grew stronger and stronger as each week blew by. And while much of the world begins to brace for Winter, New Zealand’s warmest, sunniest days are on their way. Here are our 10 reasons you should visit New Zealand.
1. You are Never Farther than 128km from a Beach
Beautiful beaches abound all over New Zealand. No matter where you are, there is always one within an hour’s drive. New Zealand is home to the drivable 90-mile beach in the north, the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula, and countless bays and coves throughout. You can drive right up to Piha Beach and enjoy a day with the locals, or hike to find some quiet time at the secluded Orokawa Bay.
2. Visit New Zealand for an Amazing Road Trip!
Outside of Auckland and the capital of Wellington, traffic in New Zealand is minimal. The views are incredible along with the coast on the way to Wellington or Queenstown, and especially as you make your way to Milford Sound. Driving your own way around means you can take your time in the spots that really impress you, and adjusting to driving on the left happens with ease. Considering New Zealand has both a North and South Island, it’s a bonus that some car rental companies include a return ferry ticket for your vehicle in the price of a rental.
3. There are no Deadly or Venomous Animals
It may be hard to believe – considering its proximity to neighboring Australia – but there are no deadly or venomous animals in New Zealand. Australia is well known for its poisonous spiders and snakes, but New Zealand has none of that. There aren’t even any large predators like the bears we have in Canada. After Iceland and Denmark, New Zealand has once ranked the safest country in the world. We should say, however, that there is technically one poisonous spider in New Zealand, but people discount it because it hasn’t been seen for decades!
4. You can Camp Throughout the Entire Country
Visit New Zealand and experience a national pastime. Kiwis love camping, and they make it easy with tons of campsites positioned all over the country ranging from basic, free campgrounds to amenity-packed sites and Holiday Parks for a fee. For the socially-inclined, there are many popular spots for groups and families. But if you prefer some time alone in the great outdoors, you’ll find campsites in New Zealand with nothing in sight but the bright, starry sky. For everything, you need to know about camping in New Zealand, check out our complete guide below.
5. The People
We’ve met plenty of kind and helpful people along our travels, but Kiwis top them all. Never have we come across a country so warm and friendly. Standing in the line at a grocery store picking up supplies for our road trip, people would chime in to offer advice on the best spots to visit and to wish us their best for our travels. The Kiwis we had the chance to really get to know had a great appreciation for their history and culture and were just as excited for us to experience their country as we were.
6. The Landscape is a Hiker’s Dream
New Zealand has a plethora of hikes scattered all across both islands. There is something for every type of hiker: hikes of a few hours, day trips, great walks of anything from 3-26 days in length, and remote mountain journeys for the especially fit. The sun is strong during the summer months, especially the farther North you are, but once it recedes behind the clouds, the brisk winds cool you off very quickly. Pack plenty of sunscreen, water to keep you hydrated, and, of course, your swimsuit.
7. Experience the Wildlife
New Zealand is home to many unique native animals. Take, for example, the Kiwi bird, which the country is working tirelessly to save from the threat of extinction. You can share a beach with a penguin in one of the South Island’s hot spots for penguin viewing, or swim with dolphins along New Zealand’s scenic coast. Especially noteworthy is the Kea bird, also dwindling in population. Though they are both loved and hated by New Zealanders, Kea is highly intelligent and the world’s only parrot to call the mountains home.
8. New Zealand is an Adventure and Xtreme Sports Mecca
For any fan of adventure, New Zealand has a lot to offer. Queenstown is located in the South of New Zealand’s South Island and is the famous adventure hub in the country is known for. From there, you can experience everything from bungee jumping to skydiving and whitewater rafting. In the North Island, there is a unique experience called Zorbing that we happily decided to check out. You’ll find it right by the town of Rotorua. Watching a Zorb slide effortlessly down the hill feels a bit underwhelming, but experiencing it first hand is incredibly fast, fun and full of laughs!
9. You Cannot Take a Bad Picture in New Zealand
Often, you can look at a photo and know that it couldn’t have possibly looked that way in real life. Visit New Zealand and discover the exception to that rule because the colors really are that incredible. Take, for example, the saturated aquamarine of Lake Tekapo, or the opaque and creamy turquoise of Hokitika Gorge. We’ve mentioned the views before but there’s no harm in reiterating. On your way to Queenstown, Wellington, or the small French town of Akaroa, you’ll find yourself taking longer than expected, having to stop and make sure you get some unforgettable shots of the breathtaking scenery.
10. The Land of Lord of the Rings
Something everybody knows by now is that when you visit New Zealand, you are stepping directly into scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies. In the past, Air New Zealand has even used this reputation to create some entertaining flight safety videos for their passengers. Though there are travelers who specifically go to explore the scenes of the famed trilogy, you don’t need to be a die-hard fan to appreciate and enjoy the known sites you happen upon during your travels. There are rivers, lakes, mountains, and forests from the film that you’ll likely visit without even knowing ahead of time that they were filmed locations, while a tour of Hobbiton in Matamata will have to be a planned, intentional stop.