Dive turquoise water, walk on active volcanoes, drink wine or simply relax in the wilderness.
1. Poor Knights Island, Northland
The place Jacques Cousteau rated among the top 10 dive spots in the world, Poor Knights Island is a playground for snorkelling, cruising and exploring. It's easy to get to from Northland, or charter a boat from Tutukaka, Bay of Islands or Auckland.
2. Rangitoto Island, Auckland
Take the ferry from downtown Auckland to Rangitoto Island and explore the volcanic terrain and lava fields on your way up to the top, where you will get spectacular 360-degree views. If you're feeling energetic, take a sunset kayak tour before paddling back in the dark.
3. Stewart Island - Rakiura
You can get to Stewart Island, New Zealand's third-largest island, by sea or air. Stay in Halfmoon Bay (also known as Oban), or walk along one of Rakiura National Park's 280km of walking tracks. Marvel at the wildlife including blue penguins or brown kiwi - who outnumber the 600 humans who live there.
4. Waiheke Island, Auckland
A must-do for anyone visiting Auckland, the ferry to Waiheke Island only takes 40 minutes, meaning you'll be sipping wine in no time. Take a wine tour or simply use the public bus to explore the island, consistently voted among the best in the world.
5. Kapiti Island, Wellington
Kapiti Island is home to some of New Zealand's most endangered birds with the protected waters teeming with marine life. For an alternative accommodation style, try glamping and fully immerse yourself in nature.
6. Great Barrier Island
Despite its small population, Great Barrier Island has a lot to offer with forests, beaches and bays begging to be explored. Go diving, fishing, surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and camping. Only 30 minutes flight from Auckland, you can stay in a tent or luxury eco-lodge.
7. Chatham Islands
With a population of about 600, the Chatham Islands feel remote, they even have their own time zone (45 minutes ahead of New Zealand). Air Chathams(opens in new window) operate regular flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch you can fly straight into the wilderness where you'll taste great seafood and witness fascinating nature and wildlife and flora unique to these far-flung islands.