New Zealand is a place of spectacular and diverse landscapes. You’ll see things here that you won't see anywhere else in the world.
If you’re in search of stunning views and moments to capture for a lifetime, New Zealand has much to offer.
An island nation with a rich geological history, New Zealand is home to snow-capped mountains, sweeping beaches, ancient volcanic peaks and craters, lush native forests, glassy lakes and fjords, and the rising steam and bubbling mud of our otherworldly geothermal areas.
This spectacular scenery has been the backdrop for many major motion pictures, such as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, thanks to its unique features and unspoilt nature.
Much of our wilderness is accessible through National Parks, with breath-taking sights on walking trails and tracks that range from under an hour through to multi-day adventures.
The scenic highlights even extend after dark, as New Zealand’s inky skies have been recognised as having some of the best stargazing in the world.
And our compact size means you can experience a wide variety of New Zealand’s picturesque landscapes in a short time. Within a few hours’ drive you can go from alpine surrounds to a black sand beach, or be deep in an ancient native forest and then high on a rocky peak.
Volcanic and geothermal
New Zealand straddles two tectonic plates, which have created the volcanic cones scattered across the North Island and the famous geothermal activity of the Bay of Plenty, where you’ll find the bubbling mud, spouting geysers, and vibrantly coloured hot water pools of Rotorua. Nearby, the deep blue waters of Lake Taupō hide a massive crater, created nearly 2,000 years ago by one of the largest and most destructive volcanic eruptions in the world.
Mountains and glaciers
There are mountains in both the North and South Islands. The majestic Southern Alps mountain range stretches down the western flank of the South Island and is where you’ll find New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook, and the immense Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
Forests and farms
The ‘bush’ is New Zealand’s native forest, which once covered most of the country. Today, there are still great swathes to explore, rich with birdsong and unique insect and plant life. National and Regional Parks across the country provide walking tracks of all lengths and even huts for overnight stays. There are also guided day tours or multi-day catered options. Farming is a key industry in New Zealand and you can visit sprawling working farms to see grazing sheep and cattle, as well as deer, goats, and llama.
Beaches, islands and waterways
New Zealand has 15,000km of coastline laced with sheltered harbours and rocky coves, and dotted with islands. There are beaches where calm waters lap golden shores, or where surf rolls onto the black sands of the west coast. Inland, you’ll find beautiful rivers, waterways and lakes. One of the most unforgettable experiences is a visit to Cape Reinga at the very top of New Zealand, where you can look north to see the Pacific and Tasman Oceans collide.
One of the largest International Dark Sky Reserves in the world is in the South Island – the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve covers Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin. There is a range of stargazing opportunities under these exceptionally clear, dark skies. You’ll also find wonderful views of the night sky in other more remote areas of New Zealand.