Top 10 Most Famous New Zealand Landmarks Travelers Talk About

Two relatively small islands make up the country of New Zealand, a lush and isolated pacific nation. Thousands upon thousands of visitors visit New Zealand each and every year, and most are drawn to the country’s natural features and unspoiled environments. There are many things to see and do here, including stops at some landmarks that the area is known for. Ten of the best are found below and are not to be missed, according to past travelers.

1. Lord of the Rings Filming Locations: About a hundred miles south of Auckland on the North Island can be found the large area in which Peter Jackson and crew set out to make an epic trilogy of book-based movies. The Lord of the Rings franchise has been so important to tourism all over Zealandia that the region has experienced a big boom in travelers from all over the world. Notable New Zealand landmarks visible in the films include spots along the Mangawhero River, where Gollum catches fish. And, Mt. Ruapehu serves as backdrop for the Mordor gates. Of course, what’s left over from the building of Hobbiton is surely one of the most famous landmarks in New Zealand and here guests can even stay the night and continue their adventure.

2. Waiotapu: Just south of Auckland can be found a rather warm and toasty selection amongst Rotorua attractions. The geothermal springs found here are situated in a volcanic zone known as Taupo and feature a bubbly mud pool and a very, very reliable geyser named Lady Knox. There are many natural New Zealand landmarks found here, and guests are welcome to and encouraged to explore at their own pace and take time to observe all of the changes on the ground around them. Stopping at the very vividly bright green lake is also a must do, according to past guests.

3. White Island: Although still considered included amongst Auckland attractions, a boat ride is required in order to reach White Island, situated just east off the coastline from the city. The island is reachable by Ferry and on tours and features the only active marine volcano in the country, a unique quality amidst volcanic New Zealand landmarks. The volcano’s unique shape and access make it easily explorable and the crater almost always exhausts a steady stream of smoky breath.

4. Waitomo Caves After some time exploring Hobbiton, guests can venture a tad westward to explore the Glowworm caves at Waitomo. Here, an indigenous worm that lives nowhere else provides ambient lighting throughout stunning and massive caves. The phenomenon is known the world around and these New Zealand landmarks cannot be enjoyed anywhere else. There isn’t a spot like them on the planet.

5. Tongariro National Park: Away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Auckland and in the middle of the north island can be found Tongariro, the very first National Park in the country and the fourth to be established in the world. The area features some of the more notable New Zealand landmarks like volcanoes and desert plateaus, but also boasts herb fields, forests, lakes and a hotbed of Maori cultural and spiritual sites.

6. Beehive Building: Towards the very edge of the southern portion of New Zealand’s North Island in capital Wellington can be found numerous statues, monuments and other popular tourist attractions. However, oddly enough, one of the most popular Wellington attractions is actually a piece of the Parliament building that is so uniquely shaped, it’s actually become one of the most well known New Zealand landmarks. Reminiscent of a beehive, complete with circular rows atop its dome, the building serves as the Executive wing of the much larger Parliament complex.

7. Fiordland National Park: Near the southernmost point of the country on south island can be found a natural feature that is associated almost primarily with Scandinavia in the form of fiords. New Zealand’s southernmost coast is home to peaks, valleys and waterways that are inhabited by a wide variety of plants and animals. This is particularly exciting here because the park is perhaps the most isolated and secluded of all New Zealand landmarks, and this means that many of the indigenous species in Fiordland are found nowhere else on Earth.

8. Milford Sound: There is a lot to see and do in Fiordland, and chances are that no matter how much time is allocated for exploration, it won’t be enough to scratch the surface off all there is to do and see here in the southernmost portion of the south island. However, no trip to Fiordland should skip a stop at Milford, one of the most well known New Zealand landmarks. The region was carved out by glaciers which have given way to dramatic cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

9. Stewart Island: This Island off the south coast is known as “the island of tranquility,” and, it easily earns its title. Boasting an atmosphere and laid back vibe that is characteristic of Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys, Stewart is home to gentle, clear waters and sandy beaches along with a natural national park full of local plants and animals. One of the biggest reasons that tourists are drawn to New Zealand landmarks like this island is because of the activities available, and on Stewart hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, diving, hunting and more are all available to adventurous travelers.

10. TranzAlpine Train Ride: Anyone looking for things to do in Christchurch may want to consider leaving it entirely. In fact, New Zealand railway tours from the eastern point to Greymouth in the west are some of the most popular tourist attractions here, and the path from point “A” to point “B” is called the “TranzAlpine.” These train rides are not what most people are expecting, boasting luxurious amenities, open air viewing options and spectacular dining choices. Guests are zoomed past New Zealand landmarks and changing countryside ranging from snow covered peaks to lush valleys. Overnight options are available and most past guests have made their encounter at least an all day experience.