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Places in New Zealand

New Zealand Guides


Cathedral Cove, Coromandel
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

See a list of guides to places in New Zealand including beaches, cities, gardens, lakes, mountains, museums, parks, rivers, and waterfalls.

Cities

Dunedin

Dunedin is the South Island's second-largest city after Christchurch. What is one of New Zealand's oldest cities nestles the end of an approximately 20-km-long inlet from the sea on the east coast of the South Island.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay is a region of New Zealand on the east coast of the North Island. It is the hinterland of the huge 100 km long Hawke Bay, facing the South Pacific Ocean.

Largest Cities

New Zealand's five largest cities are Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, and Tauranga. However, the word "city" has become somewhat problematic when it comes to ranking these five by size.

Queenstown

Queenstown is a tiny rural town in the wilds of the South Island of New Zealand. It advertises itself not only as the nation's "Home of Adventure" but as the "Adventure Capital of the World". Small and remote though it may be, Queenstown packs a punch well above its weight as New Zealand's scenic playground for outdoor sports fans and adventure seekers.

Huka Falls
The volume of water at Huka Falls would fill an Olympic swimming pool in 11 seconds

Nature

Beaches in New Zealand

New Zealand has some great beaches and it is almost impossible to choose a top five. However, here is our choice and all are some great places to soak up some sun. Do be careful in the water, however; drowning is the leading cause of recreational death in New Zealand and the third highest cause of accidental death.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls (Māori: Wairēinga, or "Water of the Underworld") is 55 meters in height. The waterfall is in the Waikato area in the North Island.

Huka Falls

Huka Falls is near the town of Taupo on the Waikato River. The river is the longest in New Zealand and known for its white-water rafting. The falls are one of the most visited natural attractions in the country. In the Maori language "huka" means foam which is appropriate, as the river gushes 20 metres down through a narrow 20-meter wide gorge.

Moeraki Boulders

Koekohe Beach, in New Zealand's South Island, showcases the extraordinary Moeraki Boulders. The boulders are a geological feature that look almost artificial in their spherical perfection. The rocks give the beach the look of a fantasy landscape. Not only are they ball-shaped, but they have almost regular-looking cracks all over them - some filled with crystals, which look like pale cement. This give them a sort of "turtle shell" look. They are even a little reminiscent of textbook pictures of the human brain!

New Zealand Lakes

As well as its many rivers, New Zealand has a large number of lakes. In total the country has over 700 bodies of water with the majority in the South Island. Many are formed from the highland glaciers found here.

National Parks

New Zealand has a total of 13 National Parks covering over 30,000 square kilometres of land. They encompass some of the most beautiful and unforgettable parts of the country. Areas of New Zealand's National Parks form part of the country's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Kawarau River rapids, Queenstown.
Kawarau River rapids, Queenstown.

New Zealand Rivers

New Zealand is blessed with hundreds and hundreds of rivers, with well over 20 of them 100 km or more in length. They help make the country both an agricultural powerhouse and an adventurer's and nature lover's paradise. The rivers are usually known by their Maori names.

With many high mountains (taking up about one-third of New Zealand's land area), fairly high rainfall (among the top 50 rainiest countries in the world), and even glaciers, it is no surprise the country has an abundance of waterways.

Sheep in New Zealand

Like the kiwi in its many manifestations, another icon of New Zealand is the humble sheep. To many people, particularly the older generation, the first two things that spring to mind when thinking about New Zealand are New Zealand lamb and New Zealand wool.

Captain Cook first brought sheep to New Zealand in 1773, but the poor things apparently ate poisonous plants and died. Later importations by others were more successful.

Sunniest Places

New Zealand is called "sub-tropical" in terms of climate, meaning the average temperature is about 20 degrees Celsius (67 degrees Fahrenheit). But New Zealand is quite a long country from north to south: about 1,600 kilometres (990 miles). That's roughly the distance from Beijing to Taipei, New Delhi to Goa, London to Lisbon, or Philadelphia to Miami.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

New Zealand has three sites inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage listing. These are Tongariro National Park, Te Wahipounamu, and the Subantarctic Islands.

Waterfalls in New Zealand

New Zealand's plentiful rivers and lakes mean it is blessed with some super scenic waterfalls. Here is a list of some of our favourite falls in New Zealand in no particular order of beauty.

Whakarewarewa

Whakarewarewa is a New Zealand settlement that styles itself as "the living Maori village." It is located in the central North Island, in Rotorua, which is famous for its extensive geothermal activity.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin.
Larnach Castle is now owned by the Barker family and available for hire for weddings and other functions

Historic Places

The Beehive Wellington

The "Beehive" in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, is the country's most distinctive building and houses the executive wing of the government.

Kerikeri Mission Station

The Church Missionary Society's Kerikeri Mission Station has the oldest European building in New Zealand. The Mission House (aka Kemp House) in Northland in North Island dates from 1822.

Larnach Castle

Larnach Castle bears the name of the man who had it built, William Larnach (1833-98). The Australian-born Larnach was born into a wealthy family and was sent to New Zealand to manage the Bank of Otago. He added power to his wealth by getting into politics.

Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Pond at Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden

Gardens

Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden

Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden in Dunedin is a garden that styles itself as "only truly authentic Chinese Scholar's Garden in the Southern Hemisphere."

Books on New Zealand

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