7 things that should be on your NZ bucket list

11th May 2021

New Zealand is brimming with brilliant holiday options and amazing once in a lifetime experiences.

An all-year-round destination, there’s always something you can tick off the bucket list. In winter, you could wrap yourself up and climb one of the country’s 3000 glaciers and head to Lake Tekapo, ranked one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. While in the warmer months a visit to one of New Zealand’s most famous beaches, Cathedral Cove located on the Coromandel Peninsula, should be on the cards.

The good news is that New Zealand is an epic drive destination and there are so many popular places to consider for your next roadie. Here’s our list of the seven things that should be on your NZ Bucket List:

1. Go chasing waterfalls

New Zealand has 249 waterfalls that can be found on snow-capped peaks or in rugged bush. Some of our favourite waterfall walks include:

  • Parakaunui Falls in the Catlins Forest Park
  • Bridal Veil Falls on the popular Waikato walking track
  • Devil’s Punchbowl Falls (131 metres) in Arthur’s Pass National Park
  • Huka Falls – just 10 minutes from Lake Taupo – where 220,000 litres of water gush every second through a gorge into a stunning blue-green pool.

2. Meet the whales of Kaikoura

Three hours north of Christchurch, Kaikoura is a geographic anomaly – a 1600-metre-deep canyon which is one of the few places in the world where you can see sperm whales. These 15-metre toothed whales can be seen all year-round feeding on the abundant plankton and krill that is produced when the warm sea currents from the north collide with the colder currents from the south. From December to March, you will also see Orca (killer whales) and in June – July the humpback whales often drop in for a visit.

3. Feel the healing powers of natural hot springs

Kerosene Creek is one of New Zealand’s most relaxing wonders. Just south of Rotorua, Kerosene Creek is a geothermally heated stream that sits beside a waterfall set amongst lush bushlands. Soaking in hot springs is said to boost blood circulation, reduce stress and improve sleep patterns. That sounds good, doesn’t it?

4. Watch the All Blacks play

Every Kiwi should sit in the stands and watch a rugby test match at some stage in their lives. Even if you don’t like rugby union, the All Blacks, are without doubt the most important sporting team in this country. Visit the All Blacks Experience in Auckland to immerse yourself in the history, culture and people who helped create the legendary All Black. Then head to Eden Park, our largest and most hallowed rugby stadium, to watch the team in action.

5. Step onto the Hobbiton movie set

Featured in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Hobbiton allows movie fans to feel like they have stepped into Middle Earth. Take a walk through The Shire and visit Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End and enjoy a drink at The Green Dragon Inn. The Hobbiton Movie set is in Matamata, a two-hour drive from Auckland or a 60-minute drive from Rotorua.

6. Visit Milford Sound – the “eighth wonder of the world”

Milford Sound is about as remote as you can get. Regularly rated as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination, these 400-million-year-old glacial valleys are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Area and often dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world. Part of the Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound travels 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman and includes red, silver and mountain beech forests; jaw-dropping waterfalls; mountains that soar to the heavens; and snow – sometimes as early as February.

7. Glow (worms) in the dark

The Waitomo Caves are at their magical best in the dark. It doesn’t matter if you are walking, or on a boat, or floating through on a rubber tube, the glow-worms light up the roof on the limestone caves putting on a truly spectacular show. The glimmering glow-worms number in their thousands and people have been exploring these three caves since 1887.


Tell us what’s on your NZ Bucket List – share your top picks with us on our Facebook or Instagram page.