Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand (I)
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.
The North Island, home to the capital Wellington and boasting great rolling hills, dense rainforests, fruitful wineries and steaming geothermal lakes, was the stunning setting for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. Volcano cones dot the countryside — some extinct, others still bubbling. The South Island is best known for its spectacular scenery — vast blue lakes, world-famous glaciers, rusty red mountain ranges and dramatic fjord land.
1. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Auckland
In New Zealand's largest city, you'll find yourself at the heart of the country's shopping Mecca. Designer stores line the streets of Chancery and the Otara Saturday flea market overflows with Maori and Polynesian homemade cuisine.
At the Viaduct, hire a jet ski and take a tour of the harbor to learn about the city's surrounding suburbs — and there's no better view of the Harbor Bridge than from underneath it. Stop for dinner at the marina, with dozens of sailboats, in the bar and a ruby sunset backdrop, this is the perfect welcome scene.
2. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Matamata
If the love for Tolkien's Hobbits has brought you to New Zealand, then you'll find the velvety green fields of Matamata completely magical. Located two hours south of Auckland, one of the prime film sets for The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings trilogy, is now open. A tour of 'Hobbiton' will take you to the homes of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, along with other familiar scenes. Finally, the Green Dragon pub is open to all.
3. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Rotorua
Thanks to its spot on the Volcanic Plateau, Rotorua is home to the world's most lively geothermal activity. Watch the famous Pohutu Geyser erupt hot spring water up to 30 meters into the air and take in the spectacular rainforest vistas from the banks of beautiful Lake Tarawera and Lake Tikitapu.
To get a bird's eye view, book in for a 15,000ft skydive with NZone Rotorua. The one-minute free fall allows plenty of time to take in the swirling blues and greens of the hot lakes below.
A short helicopter ride from nearby Whakatane town is an active volcano called White Island. Explore this sulphur-spewing beauty with a guide and a hardhat.