9 Unforgettable New Zealand Hotspots

There is no denying that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. I first set foot on the land of the long white cloud in 2010, a year long working holiday visa enabled me to explore the visual delights and laid back culture of the Kiwi’s. For years, getting back to this stunning land was of utmost priority. So earlier this year, with a decent camera in my hand and a short window of adventure opportunity it was time to explore again.

The plan? Auckland to Queenstown and back again in under 3 weeks. Thats 3,600km of driving, 2 inter island ferries and a list longer than my arm of locations to stop at enroute. These were my highlights of the 2 islands!

 Queenstown

Queenstown

National Park, North Island

Real middle earth! The views into National Park may remind you of scenes from Lord of the Rings. Unsurprising as Mt Ngauruhoe is the real life Mount Doom and the surrounding landscape is Mordor. To up the epicness, the ultimate day walk in the park is the Tongariro crossing.

 National Park

National Park

Mount Taranaki, North Island

Towering 2500m above sea level the huge Mt Taranaki is a beautiful sight that is hard to be missed in the Taranaki region. The active volcano has not erupted since the mid 1800’s, it sure wouldn’t stop me from hiking to its summit on my next visit.

 Mount Taranaki

Mount Taranaki

Kaikoura, South Island

Sun, sea and stars. The Kaikoura peninsula is surrounded by an impressive coastline with an equally impressive backdrop of mountains. The hardest thing about visiting was sleeping with unreal experiences day and night!

 Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Moeraki Boulders, South Island

Possibly the craziest of foreground features the Moeraki Boulders sit on the beach like ancient dinosaur eggs waiting to hatch. Surreal but awesome.

 Moeraki Boulders

Moeraki Boulders

Queenstown, South Island

The ski town of Queenstown is New Zealand’s adventure sports capital. This low budget trip didn’t have the cash to splash for the adrenaline seeking, but who needs it when the backdrop to the town is so incredible. Soaking up nature is all you need sometimes, and best of all, it’s free.

 Queenstown

Queenstown

Wanaka, South Island

Queenstown’s little brother is equally stunning and full of adventure. Home to the instafamous Wanaka Tree and Roys Peak, photo opportunities are aplenty. Along with thrill seeking opportunities and skiing with the Lake Wanaka backdrop I couldn’t picture a better place to soak up a few days of NZ awesomeness.

 Wanaka

Wanaka

Southern Alps, South Island

Stretching the length of the South Island the Southern Alps house the tallest mountains in the country along with some of the most outstanding views. From high altitude towering waterfalls like the Devils Punchbowl to the most vibrant blue glacier fed lakes there seems to be an epic view around every corner.

 Southern Alps

Southern Alps

Picton, South Island

Travelling between the two main islands will involve a ferry journey from Wellington to Picton. Unlike many transport links, this one doubles up in true NZ fashion as a tourist must. With views of the Marlborough Sounds, perfect little bays and rolling hills, it really is a treat rather than a chore.

 Picton

Picton

Taupo, North Island

NZ’s largest lake and its most powerful of waterfalls is located at Taupo. With a staggering 200,000L a second flow rate, Huka Falls have to be seen to be believed. It’s’ worth it for the roar of the water alone.

 Taupo

Taupo

3 weeks would never be enough to fully explore this unbelievable country. Next time I would prefer 3 years non stop with my camera. However a lot can be done in a short amount of time, witnessing one of the world’s most stunning countries. A big thanks to YHA New Zealand for the accommodation at every location along the way.

 Alps Kea Parrot

Alps Kea Parrot

Written by Tom Jessett. All photos by Tom Jessett. Check out more of Tom's adventures and photography here: 

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