Well hello there, fellow globetrotter. If you’re reading this, you’re likely pondering the idea of venturing down to one of the furthest corners of the earth to witness one of the so-called “best countries” on our planet.

From majestic mountains and endless stretches of beach to some of the best hiking in the world and a campervan heaven… New Zealand often tops most travellers’ bucket list of places to visit. 

However, for many, New Zealand is an absolute MISSION to get to. This magical set of islands is tucked away at the bottom of the earth! 

From the US you’re looking at 16 hours in flight time and don’t even get me started on the UK, you poor sods are looking at around 25 hours. Yep, this trip is not for the faint-hearted…

So, is it really worth it?

Well, as the completely biased Kiwi I am, I am here to let you in on why it is 100% worth your hard-earned travel bucks and time. After exploring much of the world, I still truly believe that New Zealand is the best country in the world. 

In this article, I’m going to share with you 10 Reasons to Visit New Zealand. So, if you aren’t sold already, I’ll ask you again after reading this…

Let’s get into it!

Danielle at the top of Roys Peak in New Zealand at sunset
Why visit New Zealand? I’ve got a few reasons in mind…
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

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What is New Zealand known for?

New Zealand is famous for many things… the All-Blacks, Hobbiton, award-winning wine, having a ridiculous amount of sheep, being home to INCREDIBLE landscapes and so much more.

Mother Nature sure did a good job when it came to New Zealand… home to mighty mountains, perfectly peeling waves, crystal clear lakes and more adventures than you could ever imagine.

Not to mention the fact that the Kiwi roads have been crafted for the dream campervan getaway! Pack up the van and head out in search of those beautiful words… “Freedom camping is permitted here”.

These little islands at the bottom of the world are also known for being home to some of the friendliest people around. Offering big smiles and the odd “Chur bro”, the locals are super welcoming to those who make the trek down to visit New Zealand.

dani and friend hanging out in a cool tree in cornwall park, one tree hill, auckland, new zealand
Friendly Kiwis in the wild…
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

However, even if you speak fluent English… you may have a few translation problems with the locals. We, Kiwis, do seem to have our own lingo… From the use of Maori words like Kia Ora (hello) and Morena (morning) to just plain weird ones like togs (swimmers) or jandals (flipflops). But I’m sure you’ll get used to it in no time!

New Zealand is known for a lot of cool shit and also some pretty strange stuff too… and I’m proud of it all (mostly…). But for now, let’s get into why you should visit New Zealand…

10 Reasons to Visit New Zealand

New Zealand is one of those incredible countries that literally caters to every kind of traveller. After an adrenaline-fuelled adventure? Or, maybe a tranquil trip into the mountains? From the hills to the seas, this tiny little country offers so damn much.

So, let’s get into my top 10 reasons why I think YOU should visit New Zealand.

1. Experience Maori Culture

Maori culture is a big part of New Zealand and it’s something that you should seek out if you’re heading to New Zealand. You’ll no doubt meet your fair share of Maori people along your travels, they are proud and friendly people.

Each Maori person has something called a Pepeha, which links them to the land, mountain, river, sea, tribe, whakapapa and marae. Get chatting and ask them about Maori culture and their heritage, and if you’re up for it, about their Pepeha too!

I’d recommend brushing yourself up on Maori culture and traditions before visiting New Zealand. It can add depth to your trip and truly enhance your experience!

Marae and haka at Rotorua Maori Village Polynesian Spa, Auckland
Goosebumps… If you’ve never seen a haka, you should.

There are many other ways that you can experience Maori culture in New Zealand, these are my top picks:

  • Whakarewarewa, Maori Village – Rotorua
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Bay of Islands
  • Te Papa Museum – Wellington

Rotorua is one of the most popular places in New Zealand to experience Maori culture. Taking a tour of Mitai Maori Village is an incredible way to learn all about the culture and eat some pretty damn good kai (food).

2. Hiking, Hiking and More Hiking!

I can’t talk about the reasons for visiting New Zealand and not mention hiking… travellers flock from far far away to experience the mountains and trails of New Zealand.

The hiking in New Zealand is truly INSANE. If you’re a pro hiker and looking to hit the best of the best, I’d recommend looking into New Zealand’s Great Walks (the country’s top 10 hikes):

  • Abel Tasman Coast Track – Nelson
  • Heaphy Track – Nelson
  • Kepler Track – Fiordland
  • Lake Waikaremoana Track – East Coast
  • Milford Track – Fiordland
  • Paparoa Track – West Coast
  • Rakiura Track – Southland
  • Routeburn Track – Otago
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit – Central North
  • Whanganui Journey (a kayak!)

These are multi-day hikes and ALL are freakin’ unreal. If you’re into hiking, this is a HUGE reason in itself to visit New Zealand.

Danielle hiking the abel tasman great walk in New Zealand
Yep, that’s a rubbish bag. Check the forecast before you hike, folks!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

Not only are there the Great Walks but there are SO many other single-day hikes in New Zealand and lower-difficulty walks to suit all kinds of explorers. My favourite shorter hikes are the Pinnacles in the Coromandel and Mount Maunganui in Tauranga.

One of the most popular hikes in New Zealand (and the world), is the Tongariro Crossing Circuit. If you’re coming to New Zealand to hike, then this is probably not the first you’ve heard of it! It’s highly advisable to get a guide for this one, especially if you’re heading in the cooler months.

This is one of my favourites to go with: Tongariro Alpine Crossing: Premium Guided Hike. These guys know their shit and will keep you safe on the mountain.

3. Head to Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World…

OK, I know I said you can come to New Zealand to relax in nature… which you can! But if you head to Queenstown, you’ll be entering the adventure capital of the world. So, surely it would be rude not to jump out of a plane?

dani skydiving
Freeeee fallin!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

Don’t worry Queenstown’s adrenaline-filled adventure sports vary. If you’re up for it, you can 100% jump out of a plane or off a bridge… whatever tickles your fancy! But you’ve also got:

If you’re an adventure junky and you’re looking for a hit, this is where you’ll find it. However, in contrast, Queenstown and its friendly neighbour, Wanaka are also ideal places to relax and unwind. Home to local wineries and beautiful landscapes, these towns offer the perfect setting to sip wine and soak in the scenery.

Traditional wooden frontier style shops near Queenstown, New Zealand
Maybe a visit to the quaint, Arrowtown is more up your alley?
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Whatever your taste, Queenstown and Wanaka provide the best of the best.

4. It’s Home to Hobbiton…

If you’re a fan of the films (and the books!), then it’ll come as no surprise that reason #4 of why you should visit New Zealand is….. drum roll, please… Hobbiton!

Travellers flock to the small town of Matamata from all over the globe to experience the magic of Hobbiton. Some people even get married here!! Yep… there are some BIG fans out there.

Audy and Will at Hobbiton in New Zealand
I’m going on an adventure!
Photo: @willhatton__

Explore the shire and hobbit holes, check out the party and follow the same path as Frodo. Don’t miss a stop at the Dragon Inn to grab yourself a pint of Oatbarton brew!

For many, joining a tour of the Hobbiton movie set is reason enough to head to New Zealand… Never mind the incredible mountains and beaches, pass me a Frogmorten ginger beer in Hobbiton and a visit to New Zealand is money well spent.

5. New Zealand Beaches in Summertime…

Ahh, now you’re speaking my language. Summer in New Zealand is truly something special. These warmer months are when you’ll find the local Kiwis shake off their winter depression and really come into themselves.

The beaches PACK out, everyone has a wee skip in their step and life just seems to pick up. Summertime in New Zealand means sunshine, Christmas, New Year’s, festivals and of course, beach time!

The beaches in New Zealand vary a lot. The east coast is often more relaxed, with white sand and honestly, my favourite kind of beach. I grew up in a town called Papamoa on the east coast and the beaches are an absolute bloody dream.

papamoa beach in new zealand at sunset, looking toward mount maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand
Papamoa – home sweet home!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

But the west coast is a lot of fun too, it’s often more rugged, and rocky and can sometimes be black sand. There are some pretty cool rock formations to check out along the west coast. For example, Pancake Rocks in the south island or the Three Sisters and Elephant Rock in the north.

Overall, the best beaches are located on the country’s north island. It’s usually a few degrees warmer in the north and a little more “tropical”. However, the South Island still has some bloody gems. These are my absolute favourite beaches that I’d recommend checking out on your travels:

North Island

  • Mount Maunganui
  • New Chums
  • Rawara Bay
  • Crayfish Bay

South Island

  • Purakaunui Bay
  • Kaiteriteri Beach
  • Abel Tasman National Park
  • Marlborough Sounds

6. Taste the Award-Winning Wine

Don’t even get me started on the wine in New Zealand… The country truly produces some absolute liquid gold, particularly in the form of Sauvignon Blanc.

There is just something that hits different about drinking some of the best wine in the world when you sitting in the vineyard it was grown in. I’m no wine connoisseur but you bet you’ll find me swirling my wine and talking about those oaky notes…

cheering white wine glasses at a vineyard in New Zealand
SIGN ME UP.
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

There are hot spots for wine around the country. The most popular wine areas in New Zealand are Waiheke Island, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Wairarapa, Gisbourne, Central Otago, Nelson and more! Join a New Zealand wine tour and sip your way around the nation.

7. Marvel at Breathtaking Landscapes

It’s no secret that New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most incredible landscapes. From glaciers and mountains in the south to endless beaches and rolling hills in the north, the vistas across New Zealand will absolutely blow your mind.

backpacker will trekking in a lush green mountainscape in new zealand
Humbling.
Photo: @willhatton__

It doesn’t take long to find them either. Try not to get suck in Auckland upon your arrival, get out and explore New Zealand off-the-beaten-track.

You might not think it, but being located on a fault line does have its perks… and for New Zealand, those perks come in the form of some pretty mighty mountains. And you know what mountains are good for? Climbing and marvelling at the INSANE views from the top.

From the heights of Mount Egmont or even some of the small feats such as the summit of Queenstown Hill, you’ll get to witness some EXTRAORDINARY views. Pack a good sleeping bag and pitch up for the night, it’s pretty magical waking up to a chorus of native birds.

Ben Lomond hike in Queenstown, new zealand
Not bad New Zealand… not bloody bad.
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

If roughing it in a scratchy tent or a backcountry hut while exploring the wilderness isn’t your forte, you could check out the glamping in New Zealand. It’s the perfect way of comfortably diving into New Zealand’s wilderness.

Dreamscape Glamping Waikanae

Dreamscape Glamping Waikanae

This place is what all my childhood dreams are made of. It reminds me of a massive comfy, fort that you could nestle in and stay forever. Located on a hill overlooking Kapiti Island and the sea, you will be blessed every day with a sunset over the horizon. An absolute dream.

8. It’s Campervan HEAVEN

New Zealand is best experienced off-the-beaten-track, but getting there can be a real challenge without your own set of wheels. Having your own transport truly makes a difference when exploring New Zealand.

Even better, when you arrive at one of the country’s breathtaking landscapes and can park for the night, it completely transforms the adventure. Camping in New Zealand is bloody unreal.

van parked up on a beach in New Zealand
Yep, we drive on beaches in New Zealand…
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

If you decide to go for a campervan around New Zealand (which many travellers do!), you’ve got a couple of options. You can either rent a campervan through companies like the iconic JUCY rentals or you can invest in your own, to then sell before you depart.

9. Experience the Chill City Life

After spending seven years of my life in Auckland, I thought I was officially a big-city gal. Then I went travelling… and realised that mate, the cities in New Zealand are some of the smallest and chillest in the world.

Auckland, New Zealand’s BIG whopper of a city, is home to a third of the entire population… however, that’s only 1.6 million people! Compared to the likes of London, sitting at a whopping 10m, or even Sydney at 5m… I came to realise pretty quickly how small our cities really are.

A tram rolls down a street with old pastel coloured buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand
City life in New Zealand…
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

The next “biggest” cities in New Zealand are Wellington and Christchurch which are both home to around 400k people. That is a teeny tiny city on the world scale!

But you know what? I love them. They still retain some of that small charm with a side of bustling city vibes. Although I always say that the main reason to visit New Zealand is to dive into the incredible wilderness… the chill city vibes are also pretty damn cool to check out along the way.

10. Get to Know New Zealand’s Unique Wildlife

From the hard-to-find glow worms and Kiwis to the AMPLE number of sheep and native birds, the wildlife in New Zealand is a huge reason for many travellers to visit New Zealand.

The flora and fauna in New Zealand is pretty damn incredible. If you’re into bird watching, you’ll be fascinated by the native birds in New Zealand. Look out for Tuis (my favourite bird… they look like they are wearing a little bow tie), Moreporks, Keas and so many more. A great place to go bird watching is Tiritiri Matangi Island, just a short ferry ride from Auckland.

te henga walkway hike near auckland in new zealand
The furry, friendly locals of New Zealand…
Photo: @danielle_wyatt

If you dream of seeing a real Kiwi bird when heading to New Zealand, I wish you luck. I’m a born and raised Kiwi and I’ve never actually seen the bird in the wild. Sad, I know. But it’s on my bucket list! The best place to see them in the wild is on Steward Island… riiiiight down the bottom of the country.

When it comes to sheep, well you can kinda find them EVERYWHERE. There are about 5 sheep for every person in New Zealand, so they are really the true locals.

It would be remiss of me not to talk about the magical glow worms in New Zealand. My childhood was full of adventures trying to find glow worms and when you see them, they are pretty bloody beautiful. You may see them if you are staying in the bush at night OR you can head to the Waipu Caves or take a tour of the Waitomo Caves, they light up the inside of the caves like a night sky… amazing.

Not to mention the sea lions down in the Caitlins or the dolphins and whales you see roaming the coastlines… you’ll no doubt be in awe at all the incredible wildlife in New Zealand.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

When backpacking, you never know what can happen. Take it from me, make your New Zealand trip anxiety-free and get solid travel insurance.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on the Reasons to Visit New Zealand

Alright, after those 10 reasons, I hope I have you SOLD and all ready to start searching Skyscanner for the “cheapest” flights to New Zealand!

I have travelled to many countries in the world, but there is just something about New Zealand that others don’t seem to compare. From the culture to the landscapes, it’s a special country and if you get the chance, I would strongly encourage everyone to make the trip down.

Whether you’re up for marvelling at magnificent mountains or drinking your weight in wine, New Zealand really does have something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

If you’ve got any more reasons to visit New Zealand (I know there are so many more), I’d love to hear them. Let me know in the comments!

dani and friends jumping in front of the east cape lighthouse, new zealand
See you there, friends!
Photo: @danielle_wyatt
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