New Zealand is a country like no other, home to so many amazing activities and breath-taking scenery. From incredible landscapes to unique culture, we've put together a list of our top must dos to add to your ultimate New Zealand bucket list for both kiwis and travellers.
Ultimate New Zealand bucket list
1. Do some wine tasting on Waiheke Island
2. Go whale watching
3. Zipline in untouched New Zealand forest
4. Explore geothermal landscapes
5. Do a great walk
7. Visit Cape Reinga
8. Walk across the Harbour Bridge
9. Snorkel or dive at Poor Knights Islands
10. Visit Milford Sound
11. See Glow worms
12. Go glamping
13. Sail across Lake Taupo
14. Jump off the Sky Tower
15. See a kiwi
16. Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach
17. Experience Maori culture
18. Go to an All Blacks game
19. See spectacular glaciers
20. Go zorbing
Do some wine tasting on Waiheke Island
We're kicking off our ultimate New Zealand bucket list with a bit of wine! Sail over to Waiheke Island from Auckland and take in panoramic views all around you. Enjoy a relaxing day ticking off the iconic Waiheke vineyards and sipping your way through delicious wines.
Photo: Sample the delicious wine on the beautiful Waiheke Island.
Go whale watching
Kaikoura is well-known as the best spot for whale watching in New Zealand and you'll probably be able to spot some other amazing sea creatures like dolphins too. Kaikoura is also a beautifully scenic location between the Pacific Ocean and the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps.
Zipline in untouched New Zealand forest
Rotorua Canopy Tours offers the perfect experience to connect with the environment in a beautiful untouched native forest while having a blast exploring every layer of the canopy via ziplines, swing bridges and other incredible features. This is an experience suitable for almost everyone and an adventure you'll never forget!
Photo: Take in the views on the incredible cliff Walk 50m high above the canopy at Rotorua Canopy Tours.
Explore geothermal landscapes
In and around Rotorua are some incredible geothermal wonders. You can watch bubbling mud pools, see geysers erupt and enjoy the magnificent colours of our geothermal landscapes – we’re one of only a few places in the world that has such incredible landscapes like these.
Do a great walk
If you love keeping active our next ultimate New Zealand bucket list activity is for you. A great way to see diverse and spectacular scenery is on one of the New Zealand Great Walks, which explore some of the most scenic back country. In the North Island our top pick is Lake waikeremoana. In the South Island, check out the Kepler Track.
Photo: Experience New Zealand's great outdoors like the Kepler Track.
With beautiful clear night skies and minimal light pollution, stargazing doesn’t get much better than in New Zealand. We even have an international Dark Sky Reserve in the Mount Cook region which has been called ‘one of the best stargazing sites on earth’ – it’s the largest reserve of this type in the world.
Visit Cape Reinga
Visiting the lighthouse at the most northern point of New Zealand is a must do. You’ll see the spectacular swirl of currents where the Pacific Ocean meet the Tasman Sea. Our top tip is to experience the Te Paki Sand Dunes after you tick this one off your ultimate New Zealand bucket list.
Walk across the Harbour Bridge
If you don’t mind heights, climbing the Auckland Harbour Bridge is an unforgettable, rewarding experience. Take in the 360 degree views of the Auckland skyline including the famous Sky Tower. The custom engineered walkways are super safe and your experience is fully guided.
Photo: You'll love the views and the challenge of the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb.
Swim at Poor Knights Islands
Famous for their diving and snorkelling, you’ll think you’re on a tropical island at the Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve. This beautiful spot teems with fish and has dozens of caves and archways that line the islands' many sheer cliffs.
Visit Milford Sound
An absolutely breath-taking sight in any weather is Milford Sound. Carved by glaciers in the ice ages the fiords cliffs, waterfalls and glassy waters combine to create the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. This spectacular landscape is a must for every ultimate New Zealand bucket list.
See Glow worms
The Waitomo Caves have a reputation for being one of the best places to see glow worms in the world. The most popular attraction is the glow-worm grotto where you travel by boat and the magical creatures will light up the cave from above. There are three caves which all offer something different and if you're feeling adventurous you can do some black water rafting.
Photo: See the magical glow worms at Waitomo Caves.
New Zealand is full of incredible landscapes and many beautiful spots off the beaten track. If you wanna go somewhere unique and outdoorsy but want your comforts try glamping, a luxury twist on the kiwi tradition of camping. There are so many incredible paces to choose from – check out Canopy Camping.
Sail across Lake Taupo
New Zealand has some beautiful lakes but for something unique, Lake Taupo has got to be our pick. Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in New Zealand and at Mine Bay you’ll find amazing 14m high Maori rock carvings carved into the cliff face – and they’re only accessible by water.
Jump off the Sky Tower
What better place to do a bungy than Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere at 328 metres high! As your heart pounds and you take the leap, you'll get a real thrill. If you don't wanna jump, why not do the adrenaline pumping SkyWalk around a narrow walkway around the outside of the Sky Tower and take in the impressive views.
Photo: There's nothing more thrilling than taking a leap of faith only attached to a bungy cord.
See a kiwi
Kiwis are a national treasure. Seeing a national icon is a must do for locals and travellers alike. Many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi bird in person - you might be surprised at just how big they really are! Our top pick is Kiwi North, only 2 hours north of Auckland and you can see kiwi feeding at set times daily.
Dig your own hot pool at Hot Water Beach
What’s better than creating your own natural little hot pool right on one of the best New Zealand beaches? Dig your own little spa pool and relax in the natural springs listening to the ocean waves. It’s a truly unique kiwi experience for your ultimate New Zealand bucket list and Cathedral Cove is only five minutes away.
Experience Maori culture
Take the time to appreciate our unique maori culture at the Ko Tane The Maori Experience in Christchurch. Locals will love the opportunity to connect to our culture, understand the maori way of life and appreciate a beautiful performance, while travellers can experience a totally foreign culture.
Photo: Enjoy the interactive cultural experience as maori storytellers share their customs and traditions with you.
Go to an All Blacks game
New Zealand is a rugby mad nation and you just can’t beat the atmosphere at a game. Even if you’re not a big sports fan, seeing the famous haka in person is a very special experience to include on your ultimate New Zealand bucket list.
See spectacular glaciers
New Zealand has some spectacular glaciers, most located in the Southern Alps. Treat yourself to a scenic helicopter ride and land high on top of the glacier or do a bit of hiking while you’re up there for a once in a lifetime experience.
Last but certainly not least on our ultimate New Zealand bucket list is zorbing. It doesn’t get much more kiwi than rolling down the hill in a giant inflatable ball! It was invented right here in Rotorua New Zealand.
Photo: Just once is never enough with four awesome zorb tracks to choose from.
We hope that’s given you some great ideas to start planning your ultimate New Zealand bucket list. We’ve got a lot of great blogs, so if you're after more ideas you check out Things to do in New Zealand. Here are a few great online resources you can use to help plan your adventure too: