New Zealand is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world thanks to its unique topography and pristine natural landscapes.

From the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the unspoilt beaches that hug its coastline, every corner of this island nation offers another breathtaking vista. The dramatic fjords of Milford Sound, the lush pastures of Waikato and the geothermal wonders of Rotorua all combine to paint a picture of unparalleled natural splendour.

Discover 10 places that prove New Zealand is the most beautiful country on earth.

1. Waiheke Island

Just a 35-minute ferry ride over from Auckland city centre, Waiheke Island is a treasure trove of beautiful white-sand beaches, charming coastal settlements and more than its fair share of fertile vineyards.

Situated in the Hauraki Gulf, the island’s coastline is lapped by the crystal-clear waters of the South Pacific and fringed by some of the finest stretches of sand in the country, from the popular Oneroa Beach to the secluded Sandy Bay.

“This is one of my favourite places in the world! You can go ziplining over the sprawling vineyards, sample the region’s world-class wines and indulge in gourmet delights by artisan producers. It’s a haven for foodies.” – Greig, Travel Specialist

2. Milford Sound

Discover the untouched natural beauty and tranquillity of Milford Sound.

Located in the southwest region of New Zealand’s South Island, this famous fjord is a visual feast of dramatic cliff faces, deep blue waters and cascading waterfalls.

It’s also home to some of the country’s most spectacular marine life; take to the open waters by boat to spot colonies of fur seals, as well as penguins and dolphins.

“I recommend taking an overnight cruise around the Milford Sound to experience this breathtaking fjord without the crowds. It gives you the chance to really appreciate the serenity of the place.” – Greig, Travel Specialist

3. Hobbiton

Step into the enchanted world of Middle Earth at Hobbiton with its lush green pastures, undulating hills and colourful array of wildflowers.

A truly idyllic setting, Hobbiton is a ‘must visit’ for fans of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, as well as travellers who wish to immerse themselves in New Zealand’s otherworldly scenery.

Embark on a guided walk through the Shire™ and venture inside a Hobbit Hole to get a glimpse of their charming interiors. Then, walk over the famous double-arch stone bridge on the path leading away from Bag End — the dwelling place of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins in the films.

After exploring this surreal, 12-acre movie set, head to the legendary Green Dragon™ Inn for a pint of ale or apple cider.

4. Rotorua

A geothermal wonderland, Rotorua displays some of the most unique natural phenomena in the world. Set within the ‘Pacific Rim of Fire’ on New Zealand’s North Island, the town’s landscape is a mesmerising volcanic plateau comprising hot springs, mud pools and crater lakes.

Rotorua is also renowned for its fascinating Maori culture and is even home to the living Maori village of Whakarewarewa. Find out how residents have used geothermal power to heat their homes for centuries and take in the many historical sights on a guided walk through this indigenous village.

“On the North Island, the landscape is gentle, flat and geothermal. Discover the unique terrain of Rotorua, where you can see the bubbling mud pools and shooting geysers in action!” – Greig, Travel Specialist

5. Tongariro National Park

Situated in the heart of the North Island, Tongariro is the oldest national park in New Zealand and boasts some of the most dramatic scenery in the country.

Its distinctive terrain was carved into the earth by volcanic eruptions and ice age glaciers, resulting in an outstanding natural tapestry of alpine meadows, ancient forests and turquoise mineral lakes.

The park holds dual World Heritage status, both for its significance in Maori culture as a spiritual site and its spectacular volcanic features.

“Take a private guided hike through this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route through the volcanic peaks is often said to be one of the best day treks in the world!” – Greig, Travel Specialist

6. Bay of Islands

Just off the northern tip of New Zealand's North Island, the Bay of Islands is an natural haven thanks to its many geological splendours and abundance of wildlife.

Made up of 144 pristine islands – each one encased by golden beaches and crystalline shallows – this maritime playground is known for its postcard-perfect landscapes. In the centre of the islands, you’ll find forests of giant Lauri trees, rolling hillsides and rugged mountains.

The waters surrounding them are home to a wealth of marine life; in fact, it’s one of the best places in the country to encounter wild dolphins and migratory whales!

Discover historic sites here too, like the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the nation's founding document was signed.

7. Mount Cook

Residing in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps, Mount Cook is the highest mountain in the country and stands as a majestic symbol of natural beauty and adventure.

This alpine wonderland, named Aoraki by the indigenous Maori, boasts snow-capped summits, pristine glaciers and mirror-surface lakes.

From heli-skiing to stargazing in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Mount Cook promises a breathtaking blend of adrenaline and tranquillity, making it a bucket list destination for dedicated wanderers.

“Heading South, the sights get more dramatic! The towering fjords, sprawling National Parks and rugged mountain peaks are incomparable. Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand and truly is a sight to behold.” – Greig, Travel Specialist

8. Auckland

It’s not just the landscapes that contribute to the beauty of the country – New Zealand is also home to some of the most enchanting cities in the world.

Otherwise known as the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland is located on the North Island and is adjoined by two picturesque harbours.

Watch luxurious superyachts glide in and out of the city with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc in-hand or admire cinematic views of glistening skyscrapers from the top of Sky Tower.

What’s more, with its alluring mix of cosmopolitan sophistication and laid-back Kiwi hospitality, Auckland is as ‘feel good’ as it is good looking.

9. Abel Tasman National Park

Whilst it may be one of New Zealand’s smallest reserves, every inch of Abel Tasman National Park is a feast for the eyes.

Located on the South Island, this lesser-known wilderness reserve is well worth the day trip from Nelson. Follow the long, winding coastal track, which takes you past sweeping golden beaches, azure waters, sculpted granite cliffs and native bush.

The park is also teeming with wonderous wildlife, from little blue penguins foraging for squid to bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the surf. Plus, hike up the headland at Separation Point to discover colonies of fur seal and gannets.

10. Kaikoura

Kaikoura is a picturesque coastal town situated on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s set against the snow-capped peaks of the two Kaikoura Ranges and is renowned for its thriving sperm whale population.

Hop on a whale-watching cruise to witness these majestic creatures breaching the surface of the ocean. Or, set off on a hiking expedition along the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway, which takes you all the way from the town centre to Point Kean Viewpoint, where you can encounter fur seals and admire unique rock formations.

“The best way to see whales is from above. Board a helicopter and pass over Hikurangi Marine Reserve to spot the different species that reside close to the Kaikoura coastline. You’ll also have a bird’s-eye view over the fault lines that caused the 2016 earthquake.” – Greig, Travel Specialist

Plan your bespoke New Zealand adventure

Ready to discover these extraordinary places for yourself?

Our Travel Specialists have been to this breathtaking part of the world, so can help you plan the ultimate tailor-made adventure in New Zealand.

Whether you want to explore the volcanic plateaus of the North Island or the dramatic fjords of the South Island, or both, we’ll make sure you see all the highlights in a way that's perfect for you.

Speak to our dedicated Travel Specialists to find out more or browse our full portfolio of luxury hotels and extraordinary experiences in New Zealand.

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