New Zealand Bucket List Items

Since the release of the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ film back in 2001, the landscape and country of New Zealand has captured the hearts and minds of millions of budding travellers around the world. Whether you’re a fan of the Tolkien franchise or not, the landscape and scenery that New Zealand offers are out of this world. With snow-capped peaks, crystal clear lakes, ancient forests, and active and extinct volcanoes, New Zealand has one of the most picturesque landscapes on earth. Beyond the scenery, New Zealand’s cities offer a huge range of attractions and activities of their own, with museums, zoos, art galleries, heritage buildings and fantastic restaurants. New Zealand is home to some of the best and freshest food in the world, with a booming seafood and wine industry that dominates the culinary scene in the country. 

If you are planning to visit the island nation, there are some cities and activities that are a must if you have the chance.

Lord of the Rings tours

We will start things off for the ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans, as there are still millions of devoted fans out there - many of whom make the trek from overseas to visit famous locations from the films. Depending on how far you are travelling or if you see both islands, there are a number of Lord of the Rings locations to see. The first is Hobbiton Movie Set Tours on the North Island, or as we know it, ‘the Shire’. Built to last following the second Peter Jackson trilogy, here you can see the rolling green fields and Hobbit holes of the Shire complete with the Green Dragon Inn. There are various tours on offer, from the standard guided tour to food-based tours, providing guests with ‘second breakfast’ or a banquet fit for King Theoden himself. The second Lord of the Rings location is Mordor and Mount Doom, or as we know it, Tongariro National Park. With the iconic black sands, mountains and atmosphere of the realm of Sauron, coupled with fantastic walking trails and photo opportunities, this park is a win-win. See Mount Ngauruhoe, which was used as a stand-in for Mount Doom.

Hot spring at Rotorua

Much like Master Baggins, New Zealand is full of surprises. The geothermal wonderland of Rotorua, located on the North Island, close to the coast and not far from Hobbiton, attracts many visitors. Famous for its mineral-rich water and mud, people come from all around the world to bathe in the soothing waters, to fix tired muscles and help their skin. With a lake, geysers, forests and a quaint town, it is the perfect New Zealand location to relax and unwind.

Museums and galleries

New Zealand is full of world-class museums and art galleries. In each of the major cities (and select regional cities), you will find plenty of city locations to explore and culture to absorb. The main museum in New Zealand is the Museum of New Zealand or Te Papa, located in the capital of Wellington. See dinosaur fossils, Māori Artefacts, World War I set pieces designed by Weta Workshop and millions of other cultural and environmental objects. The museum holds over 2.4 million individual items. No trip to Wellington is complete without a visit here.

Hit the slopes
Hit the slopes

New Zealand offers world-class sporting venues across the country, but one seasonal sport has countless visitors flocking to the snowy peaks of both the North and South islands. Skiing is a popular recreational activity, and New Zealand offers some of the best slopes in the world. Visit Queenstown on the South Island, and you’re within driving distance of some spectacular ski fields. Head to Coronet Peak, just a 20-minute drive away from the Queenstown CBD. With ski fields appropriate for all ages and skill levels, you won’t be left out of the fun, whether you’re a seasoned pro or completely new at skiing. Coronet Peak was New Zealand’s first commercial ski area, and with two high-speed chairlifts, a sky gondola, and fantastic restaurants on-site, it’s a must-visit if you’re a fan of the snow.

New Zealand offers opportunities few countries do; hiking across black volcanoes, skiing down giant mountains, strolling through ancient forests, soaking in mineral-rich waters, surfing giant waves, engaging in local Māori culture and seeing incredible native animals. There is so much to see and do, and it might take more than one trip. Whether you want an outdoor exploration vacation or a city holiday mixed with wineries and incredible food, NZ has you covered. Start planning your incredible New Zealand adventure today.

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