Nestled away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, are the islands of New Zealand. Often overshadowed by its large neighbor, Australia, this is a country that should be singing its natural rugged beauty. Instead, it quietly carries on — knowing that every day, a few thousand new visitors fall in love with it.
There's a wealth of beauty to discover here — and these top magical places to visit in New Zealand are just a few of our favorite places.
7. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Franz Josef
Nestled within the Southern Alps, Franz Josef is the country's most fast-moving glaciers, currently sliding down the mountain at the rate of 200 meters per year. Hikes begin in the tiny town of the same name (population: 330), where local guides provide boots and crampons.
The alternative is taking a short helicopter transfer onto the ice. The guide will hack out a path, taking you through extraordinary blue ice tunnels. The air is clean, crisp but not too cold, and you'll feel refreshed with every breath.
Half-an-hour away, another sliding glacier Fox, is open to explorers. Although not as steep as Franz Josef, this glistening sight will still leave you in awe.
Back in town, book a rejuvenating mirimiri and romiromi massage at the Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Feel your feet melt in the hands of a professional as she recites Maori blessings during the treatment.
8. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Lake Wanaka
A favorite with travellers, Lake Wanaka is one of New Zealand's most stunning sights. Settle in for a peaceful lunch overlooking the tranquil waters at the Kai-Whakapai Café, and you will never want to leave.
Kayaking, fishing and hiking are amongst the activities available at the lake, while boutiques and Spas are there to be enjoyed in the town. However, this is one place you may simply want to take in the view — so find a spot on the grassy bank, pull out a book and spend the day surrounded by unimaginable beauty.
9. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Queenstown
This adventure capital is home to every sort of high-octane sport; from skiing and river rafting to bungee jumping, canyon swinging and skydiving — all done with a background of idyllic lakes and mesmerizing mountain ranges.
Stop off for a coffee with a view (and perhaps a massage) at the Hilton Hotel, which sits in front of Lake Wakatipu, before hiring a kayak and heading out into the blue.
Finally, take the 20-minute trip to nearby Arrow town, where the country's gold-mining history came alive.
10. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Milford Sound
This famous fjord of plunging waterfalls, dark blue waters and dramatic sky-high mountains can be reached from Queenstown by propeller plane or four-hour car journey — and if you're feeling particularly brave, a four-day 53km hike from