Snowcapped volcanoes tower above verdant native forests. Warm golden sands lead down to crystal clear seas. Aquamarine glaciers inch through ancient mountain ranges. And steaming jets of water erupt from otherworldly geysers…
You’d be forgiven for thinking such a diverse and magical place exists only in works of fiction. But we can assure you that it’s very real indeed. Hop on a plane to New Zealand, and you’ll find all of these natural marvels and much, much more. Not bad for a country roughly the same size as Colorado, hey?!
In this article, we’re going to help you get there. So, where is New Zealand? And why exactly should you care? Keep reading to find out.
Where Is New Zealand?
New Zealand is a small island country in the South Pacific Ocean that sits over 1,000 miles southeast of its closest neighbor, Australia. It’s the largest nation in Polynesia and part of the continent of Oceania.
In other words, it’s an awfully long way from almost anywhere else!
For example, at the time of writing, the quickest flight from Los Angeles to New Zealand’s main airport takes over 13 hours; many take more than 20. And if you live in London, you’re looking at anything from 24 to a whopping 50 hours to get there.
But don’t despair. This beautiful country’s far-flung location has a silver lining: any closer and it’d be overrun with tourists! New Zealand’s busy enough as it is – especially in its summer months. The fact most people have to spend thousands of dollars and an entire day in the air to visit stops it from getting too busy! In the next section, we’ll reveal the main reasons for its popularity.
10 Reasons New Zealand Attracts So Many Visitors
When answering the question where is New Zealand you start to understand why it is a bucket list trip for so many. A part of the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand is in Oceania, deep in the Pacific Ocean, and a thousand miles southeast of Australia, the Land Down Under.
Here are ten reasons it’s 100% worth the effort to get there and why you’ll want to stay for as long as possible!
1. The Scenery Is Spectacular
A word to the wise: you may want to add a few new superlatives to your vocabulary before visiting New Zealand. The landscapes are breathtaking and sublime; stunning, staggering, and utterly unbelievable.
Get ready for snow-capped mountains, vast glacial valleys, azure waters, and verdant forests; volcanoes, natural hot springs, geysers, lakes, and rivers. Trust us, you’ll be struck dumb by the diverse landscapes and natural beauty on display.
2. There’s Adventure Around Every Corner
You don’t have to be Bilbo Baggins from the Lord of the Rings series to have an adventure in Aotearoa. The country’s a veritable playground for anyone with an intrepid side. Packed to the rafters with exciting things to do, you’ll find:
- Huge hills to hike up, climb on, and bike down
- Fast-running rivers to raft and paddle down
- Oceans to sail and surf on
- Glacial lakes to swim in and jet-boat across
- Snow-capped mountains to ski or snowboard down
- Canyons to explore and cliffs to jump off
- Subterranean rivers lit by glow worms
- Rough backcountry tracks and trails to drive on in 4x4s
- Sand dunes to toboggan down
- …And so much more!
3. You Can Visit Middle Earth
New Zealand’s unearthly natural beauty made it the perfect place for Peter Jackson to film his infamous Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy. A visit to Aotearoa is akin to a trip to Middle Earth itself! You can walk in the footsteps of Legolas, Aragorn, Gandalf, and Gimli, exploring the locations where the movie’s most Lord of the Rings scenes were shot.
A few highlights for LOTR fans include:
- Hobbiton/The Shire – Head to Matamata on North Island to visit the home of the hobbits, where Sam, Frodo, Merry, and Pippin first set off on their journey
- Mount Doom – North Island’s Tongariro National Park is home to Mount Ngaurahoe, an iconic volcano that was used to portray Mount Doom
- Edoras – You’ll find the capital city of Rohan at the remote Mount Sunday on South Island. Park your car at Hakatere Potts road to pay it a visit.
4. It Has a Proud and Multi-Faceted Culture
The indigenous people of New Zealand are called the Māori – a people whose ancestors arrived in the country by canoe from Polynesia somewhere around 1300 CE. One of the joys of traveling here is learning more about their unique culture.
You’ll encounter Māori traditions everywhere you look. However, there are certain places where you can really get to know them well. The Te Papa Museum in Wellington, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands, and the Tamaki Māori Village (just south of Rotorua) are all worth checking out in this regard.
5. The Wine and Coffee Are Fantastic
Looking for a first-class flat white? New Zealand has you covered! Boasting a coffee culture of the highest order, anyone who enjoys a cup of Joe will adore the delicious beans and brilliant latte art that’s on offer around the country.
Coffee isn’t the only beverage New Zealand’s known for either. Its wine is amazing too. The combination of a cool maritime climate and lengthy growing season produces some premium red and white wines. See what we mean by visiting a vineyard on your trip. Sipping a local Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir while you gaze out over sublime New Zealand landscapes is incredibly hard to beat!
6. It Caters to Everyone
Around 11 million people visited New Zealand between 2016 and 2019. That’s more than double the number of Kiwis who live there year-round! A big reason for its popularity as a tourist destination is its vast array of sights, activities, and attractions for adults and kids alike.
You can jump out of planes, hike until your heart’s content, swim with sharks, soak in natural hot pools, sunbathe on beaches, and/or party in the city into the early hours. You can sip wine and watch whales; shop until you drop or take a hop on, hop off bus around the country. There’s truly something for everyone – regardless of your age, interests, budget, or the items on your bucket list.
7. It Offers Incredible Wildlife Encounters
The wildlife in New Zealand is as diverse and beautiful as its landscapes. Whether you’re out at sea, on dry land, or looking up into the sky, there’s always wonderful fauna to marvel at – and wildlife tours to help you get up close and personal with it.
Pods of dolphins and whales are on show at Kaikoura and the Bay of Islands. In Dunedin, you can see enormous albatrosses hanging high above your heads. Venture down to Milford Sound to watch seals frolic in the fjords. Yellow-eyed penguins waddle across shorelines on South Island. And, if you’re exceptionally lucky, you might even see a wild kiwi, the national bird.
8. You Can Take a Hot Bath on a Beach
When digging into Where is New Zealand, its location and geography start to form some of the best things to do. One of New Zealand’s many claims to fame is the intense geothermal activity that occurs there. This is a land of ancient volcanoes and explosive geysers; of natural hot springs and bubbling pools of scorching sulphuric mud.
It’s all remarkable. But on the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula you’ll find one particular geothermal attraction that’s particularly special: Hot Water Beach. Dig a hole at certain points along this extraordinary stretch of sand and it’ll fill with piping-hot water for you to relax in. It’s your very own spa pool – right there on the beach!
9. You Can Walk on Glaciers
Want a prime example of New Zealand’s natural diversity? On the same weekend, you can go from soaking in a self-dug thermal spa at Hot Water Beach to hiking on the magnificent glaciers along the West Coast of South Island.
Indeed, the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are 2 of the country’s main attractions! Designated viewing platforms allow you to see them from a distance. However, if you pay for a tour, you can take an unforgettable helicopter ride up to the glaciers themselves, where you land, disembark, and hike across their icy surface.
10. There Are Adrenaline-Fueled Activities
If taking a helicopter up to a glacier doesn’t sound action-packed enough, you’ll be pleased to hear about the slew of other adrenaline-fuelled activities available.
Extreme sports are all-popular here, with bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, zip lining, white water rafting, jet boating, heli-skiing, rock climbing, and canyoning all available around the country.
Fancy something slightly less extreme but thrilling all the same? Go hiking! Aotearoa is a genuine hiker’s paradise, with trails around every corner that are suitable for all ages and abilities. There are even 10 “Great Walks” – special multi-day hikes that take you through some of New Zealand’s most striking scenery.
Make a Plan to Visit New Zealand This Year or Soon!
We can’t say enough good things about New Zealand. Now that you know exactly Where Is NEw Zealand, think about planning a trip!
Visit once and you’ll never stop gushing about it! If you love the great outdoors, take pleasure in natural beauty, enjoy learning about new cultures, and want to enjoy unique attractions in a laid-back environment, then it’s an ideal travel destination – even if you have to fly halfway around the world to get there!
So if you’re able work remotely in 2023, now could be the time to book a two week or longer trip to New Zealand!
With any luck, this article has provided a useful answer to the question “Where is New Zealand” and shed light on why it’s such a special place.
This article produced by Planner at Heart.