5 Places in New Zealand you should not miss

New Zealand blew us away completely with its variety of different landscapes ranging from glaciers, crystal blue lakes to active volcanoes and stunning beaches.

We still can't really believe that we had the privilege to explore this beautiful country for 5 weeks by campervan after being on top of our travel bucket list for so many years.

When visiting New Zealand, you will might be overwhelmed with all the things you can do: must-sees sights, adventure activities, foods to try and much more. But let us start with the basics, 5 places you should not miss when traveling New Zealand:

Explore the pins

Huka Falls

Mesmerizing water falls displaying the power of water

photo of Huka Falls
New Zealand, North Island
15 minutes – 1 hour

Seeing approx. 220,000 liters of water per second rushing by you is a stunning view and we could have watched it for hours. You can spend just a few minutes at the waterfalls or do even a short hike around them.


  • Visit in the morning or late afternoon for optimal lighting and fewer crowds
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Pack rain gear
  • Explore nearby trails for diverse views
  • Walk up 1 hour from the Spa Thermal Park and get into the natural hot pools

Kaikōura Peninsula

Stunning cliffs, sea lions, sea gull colonies, whales and dolphins

New Zealand, South Island
Nature & Animals
1 day

The Kaikoura peninsula offers an amazing scenery and wildlife in the water and at the coast. You can hike along the cliffs at the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway where you can observe sea lions, seagull colonies and depending on the season whales and dolphins.

But don't worry if you are not able to spot them from the coast. Hop on a Kaikoura Whale watching tour!


Stay at the hidden campsite of the Point Bed & Breakfast Kaikoura and go for a morning run on the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway.


The adventure capital of the world

New Zealand, South Island
2-4 days

Queenstown is the perfect base for your adventure activities in this region. The town itself is very cozy, but also touristic. It offers many restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. The nightlife doesn’t come too short either.

It is situated on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by mountains. You will find many tour companies in the city center where you can book your tours.


Must visit when in New Zealand. Try out some of the various adventurous activities Queenstown hast to offer.

Adventure activities to try:

Also do not forget to get yourself the best burger you will ever eat in your life at Fergburger! (We went 3 days in a row.)

For a relaxing experience soak in a private Onsen Hot Pool with stunning mountain views!


Milford Sound / Piopiotahi

New Zealand’s most famous fiord

New Zealand, South Island
Nature & Animals
1 day

Milford Sound is one of the most popular travel location of New Zealand. Milford Sound is actually a fjord (the water runs from the melting glaciers down) and not a sound (where the water is coming from a river).

It features dramatic landscapes, including towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and lush rainforests. Milford Sound is home to diverse marine life, including dolphins, seals, and penguins.

You can visit Milford Sound at every weather: When it rains you will have a mystic vibe with many waterfalls and clouds. When it’s sunny you will see an amazing mountain scenery.

The most visitors travel to Milford Sound village and do a boat ride there to view the scenery.


How to explore Milford Sound?

We would recommend to do a bus day tour from Te Anau (or if you don’t mind a 3 hours bus ride in one direction from Queenstown) which will include a boat tour through the Milford fjord. For us it didn’t make sense to drive with our campervan or sleep at Milford Sound village as there is not a lot to do. Alternatively you can even do a short plane or helicopter ride above the fiord.

Be aware that if you want to drive that the road to Milford Sound is very steep.


The more quiet Queenstown

New Zealand, South Island
1-3 nights

Even if Queenstown is more famous, don’t underestimate the lovely town Wanaka which sits directly at Lake Wanaka and is considered as the more quiet Queenstown.

It holds a special place in New Zealand due to its captivating blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a welcoming community. The pristine Lake Wanaka, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, creates a stunning backdrop for various activities like hiking, skiing, and water sports.


Stay a few days to explore Wanaka and the surrounding area.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Wanaka:

  • Get up early and hike the iconic Roy's Peak
  • Discover the famous Wanaka Tree
  • Treat yourself with some delicious mexican food at Amigos Wanaka
  • Try outstanding ice cream at Patagonia Chocolates