6 of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Nature Spots That Should Not Be Missed
It’s no secret that New Zealand is a cradle of astonishing natural wonders. Towering mountains, out-of-this-world waterfalls, thick, lush forests, panoramic landscapes are just a few, and all promise an unforgettable experience for every type of wanderlust spirit.
If you’re itching to trek the most breathtaking natural attractions in the world, or if you want to alleviate your longing for traveling and nature, this post is for you. We’ve rounded up the top six nature-blessed destinations in New Zealand you have to visit at least once in your life!
1. Milford Sound
A majestic landscape with breathtaking hiking trails, and impressive wildlife set on the edge of a soaring fiord, Milford Sound has it all. The waterfalls, in particular, will take your breath away. Imagine raging water flowing from the mountain peaks surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, that falls all the way down to the most translucent body of water you’ll ever see. Every waterfall in Milford would make you feel like you’re in the Garden of Eden!
While visiting this natural beauty is fulfilling any time of the year, you can catch it in its most majestic state during the rainy season. The forests are in their most lustrous green, and there are temporary waterfalls born from the rainfall.
If you’re a sucker for a unique underwater experience, you must also visit the Underwater Observatory. Milford is home to a unique phenomenon called deep-water emergence, where fresh meets saltwater. This occurrence allows deep-water marine life to emerge only 30 meters below, allowing marine enthusiasts to marvel at them through the observatory.
2. Waitomo Caves
You can’t complete a visit to New Zealand without taking a boat trip to the famous Waitomo Caves. Thanks to the glowworms calling the cave their home, tourists are given a chance to enjoy a romantic and unique experience in a cave.
There are two ways you can enjoy the dazzling view in Waitomo Caves – a quiet bot tour or an adrenaline-filled rafting activity. Given the peaceful nature of the place, you’ll savor the most out of the cave with a boat tour. But hey, if you’re on an adrenaline streak, you can try the rafting too. It’s one of the top thrilling activities in New Zealand for a reason.
While geothermal activities don’t sound too attractive for a nature-themed itinerary, Wai-O-Tapu begs to differ.
For starters, you can find the largest mud pool in New Zealand, which used to be the site of a mud volcano before erosion took it away. You can also visit the Lady Knox Greyer, a geyser in Wai-O-Tapu that makes a uniquely spectacular show every 10:15 AM. You’re in for a view of a classic volcanic eruption that reaches up to 20 meters in the sky.
And let’s not forget the steam coming from volcanic activity that makes everything look surreal. It’s a sight for sore eyes, especially for those who love views that give off mystic, ethereal vibes. You can find plenty of trails and boardwalks around the park that will give you a different scenic view of the whole place. Depending on your pace, you can take in the entire geothermal beauty in half a day.
4. Haast Pass
When taking a road trip along the South Islands, pretty sure you’ll drive along the famed Haast Pass. But it’s more than just a scenic route. There’s plenty of stops along here that will make your nature-loving soul jump with giddiness.
One of the best stops on the Haast Pass is the Blue Pools. The Blue Pools live up to its name with its clear azure water. You can walk on the swing bridge above the pool and marvel at its aquatic splendor from above. Or, if you have the time, take your swimming outfits with you, take a 10-minute walk through the forest, and take a dive.
The pass is also not short of majestic falls. Here, you can visit Fantail Falls (the easiest one to reach), the Thunder Creek Falls (best viewed on the beach area), and the Roaring Billy Falls (the longest to reach but the best among the three).
If you want to enjoy the best picture-perfect view, you can take the Brewster Hut Track. The hike takes three to four hours, but the vantage view of Mount Aspiring National Park makes the exhausting trail worth it!
5. Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Up for a day of nothing but taking scenic walks and admiring the natural beauty around you? If yes, then this next destination on our list definitely suits your taste.
The famous trail promises a view of Mount Tongariro and the legendary Mount Ngauruhoe, a.k.a. Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings. Once you reached the peak, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the Red Crater.
On your descent, you’ll come across two beautiful lakes the national park has to offer – the Emerald and Blue Lakes. They’re a sight to behold, especially during summer! Make sure to prepare the proper hiking gear and plenty of water so you can enjoy the hike at its best. It’s also ideal to bring a jacket with you since the trail is notorious for sudden weather changes. And if you aren’t feeling confident with your map-reading skills, take a guide with you.
6. Pancake Rocks Punakaiki
Planning more scenic drives along New Zealand? Perhaps with your rental car or a motorhome (like the ones from NZ Motorhome Rental)? Then you can’t miss dropping by the Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki.
Our last nature destination involves a series of stones made from heavily-eroded limestones that resemble a pancake (hence the name). Because of the seismic activities occurring from time to time, the limestones were slowly lifted from the seabed, thereby giving it its pancake structure.
To enjoy the view of Pancake Rocks, take the 30-minute Pancake Rocks trail. Along the hike, you’ll see the big waves crashing into the big rocks and making that splashing whoosh sound. While you can visit Pancake Rocks at any time of the day, there are certain times where you can see the limestone rocks in their full beauty, particularly when it’s high tide. You can drop by the visitor center of their local Department of Conservation office to learn about these schedules.