Kia Ora, Welcome to Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand.
EXPLORE THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
Open the definitive travel guide for New Zealand and your holiday is sorted. BEST BITS travel guide explains things to do, attractions, where to go and places to visit. Here is the guide about New Zealand from geography, transport, weather, touring routes, itineraries from a weekend to 14 days, where to stay for key activities …
Discover New Zealand, 100% pure scenery with an extraordinarily diverse landscape for all tastes and experiences. Grab adrenaline induced adventures or enjoy a leisurely brunch in a vineyard courtyard. Absorb 100% pure New Zealand fresh air, open spaces and a unique Maori culture. Places to go and attractions offer year round things to do from winter skiing, lingering in a fascinating museum, markets showcasing local creative talent to a cosy fireplace with farm to plate food platters and award winning craft brew.
BEST BITS New Zealand definitive travel guide is a companion to the indepth BEST BITS Regional Guides and the quirky amusing Kiwi Towns with their personalised commentary on the hidden corners of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Unforgettable 100% New Zealand bucket list destinations where lifetime memories are created.
Waterfalls and mist create an otherworldly experience. Fiordland is a must-go for visitors who relish the outdoors. Glaciers carved the landscape of the fiords of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful. The moody natural landscape is timeless and a place of imposing beauty.
Top sights include the magnificent mountain ranges of the Southern Alps. Lace the hiking boots for the Hooker Valley walk and enjoy sweeping views of Aoraki Mt Cook. McKenize country lakes mirror clouds and mountain peaks in their depths giving photographers glorious scenic landscapes to capture. Take in the views as you grab a selfie at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Spend time relaxing at Lake Tekapo reveling in the fresh air of Aoraki National Park.
Enjoy encounters with a cheeky alpine parrot, the kea or tread quietly to observe the rare blue penguins in Oamaru. Spend time exploring marine worlds and view Hector’s dolphin or slumbering seal lions in The Catlins. Kaikoura, South Island is where you will become fascinated with the mighty whales on their migration routes. Delve into marine depths in Tutukaka, Poor Knights Island and glimpse a rich watery ecosystem fed by tropical currents.
Relish time spent on the Okarito Lagoon where elegant herons soar above the rushes and reeds. Wonder at the marvel of thousands of gannets at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay. Observe thousands of migrating shorebirds on the chenier (shell) beaches of Miranda, Auckland.
New Zealand’s unique unforgettable landscapes range from Rotorua’s volcanic earth power, fantastical Moeraki geological formations or Mt Taranaki’s walks where goblins were filmed (Lord of the Rings) in gnarly twisted forest settings. Spent time in the remote beautiful central Otago’s folded gold tussock hills; the setting for the award winning film,The Power of the Dog.
Chill out, relax and unwind in 100% pure outdoors New Zealand. New Zealand offers diversity within short distances of each other from wind swept Catlins with its dozing New Zealand seals to soaring magnificent albatross over the Otago peninsula. Nearby, in the cutness stakes Oamaru penguins waddling in the dusk tug at heartstrings.
Rotorua is located on the Pacific ring of fire and offers visitors a chance to indulge in therapeutic mud baths or relish a soak in warm mineral pools. Enjoy stunning views from a redwood forest and the glimmer of deep blue lakes. Wonder at the earth’s power as the powerful Pohutu geyser displays raw energy with a boiling fountain of steam. Wai-O-Tapu is impossibly photogenic with its beautiful champagne mineralised pools and Lady Knox geyser, a well known favourite spot for a quick instagram shot. Rotorua offers visitors a chance to explore a living Maori village and participate in the lives of the locals with a shared hangi (meal).
Lake Taupo is a mecca for water sports enthusiasts with kayaking to Maori rock art and water skiing one of the largest lakes in the southern hemisphere. Enjoy the spectacular Huka falls on a short walk past natural hot pools, regenerating forest and a great golf course where animals freely wander in a predator free sanctuary.
Discover the joy of trying your hand at trout fishing the Tongariro River, exploring the shared Tongariro River Trails or ticking off the bucket list the Tongariro Crossing. The Central Plateau Tongariro National Park manages to pack a lot of activities to offer visitors from skiing Mt Ruapehu in winter to summer day hikes and afternoon high tea at one of New Zealand’s historic hotels, the Chateau Tongariro.
Scenery is a bonus when you abseil rock canyons into pools or bungy jump off a historic railway bridge in Queenstown. Queenstown is a must-go magnet for visitors offering a diversity of things to do. Queenstown’s attractions range from the magnificent Remarkable mountain range, beautiful Lake Wakatipu and its year round lakeside entertainment, walking trails, eateries and off road 4×4 exploration. Nearby Arrowtown, a picturesque 19th century gold rush era Victorian town conjures up images of another time. Visitors get a chance to shop in stores where people have trod for over 200 years.
Discover the bicultural story of Aotearoa New Zealand. Visitors get to listen to the tales, legends and stories at Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Mana Footsteps of Kupe in the Hokianga. Heritage towns of Russell, Paihia and Kerikeri are ideal places to stay while exploring the area.
A pocket sized national park with impossibly gold fine sandy beaches, emerald forest and the Abel Tasman Coastal walk showcases New Zealand outdoors. The park is part of Nelson province where wineries, a sophisticated art and crafts scene attracts a diverse range of visitors intent on enjoying everything Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park has to offer.
TIP: Don’t forget your selfie of Split Apple Rock while kayaking on a waka (canoe) to this extraordinary rock natural sculpture.
Got a spade? Hire or purchase one from the convenience store and start digging your own natural hot mineralised spa at the beach at low tide. Hot Water beach is a top sight and together with the walk to Cathedral Cove you have the makings of a great holiday.
TIP: Photo moment at Chums Beach is a must-do for a special selfie moment.
Fancy getting into the flapper dress or nifty jacket circa the 1930’s then Napier with its extensive art deco architecture is the place to sip locally produced wine and sample the bounty of Hawke’s Bay produce.
New Zealand has a diverse range of attractions from Cape Reinga, Northland and the Instagram famous lighthouse to the magnificent Southern Alps. Wrap your visit around several days in Auckland, and you have New Zealand on a plate. Rotorua is a must-go experience where the earth’s ring of pacific fire is on full display. Perhaps heritage buffs will plan for several days in Dunedin discovering Victorian splendour or mull over the life of 19th century gold prospectors in Arrowtown, Queenstown. Consider the prospect of viewing soaring Royal Northern Albatross or waddling penguins … your bucket list just got bigger
Check out Amazing 12 New Zealand Attractions for more holiday inspiration.
Threaded through the unmissable scenery, the outdoors is our Tiaki promise.
BEST BITS travel guides foster and support ethical tour operators and accommodation providers who care about Aotearoa New Zealand. Your journey will be immersive and interact with the environment, the culture and wildlife in ways that create life-time memories. For many travellers this is a non-negotiable cornerstone of what 100% Pure New Zealand offers visitors. Sustainable tourism holidays range from conservation volunteer work to enjoying the quiet wonder of New Zealand wetlands.
Breathe deeply 100% in pure New Zealand spaces. Aotearoa New Zealand has the luxury of offering visitors room to breathe. Grab the moment and walk trails where people have lightly trod. From short easy walks to multiple day hikes on world beating tramps it does not get any better. Relish choices galore for visitors, from Abel Tasman Coast walks on sandy beaches and lush forest strolls in Northland’s Waipoua Kauri forest trails. Consider joining a Tongariro Crossing challenging alpine trek. There is a walk for all seasons and all fitness levels.
WATERFALLS – NEW ZEALAND’S BEST FALLS TO VISIT
The irresistible drawcard of a waterfall is a top New Zealand attraction. Mountains, rivers, lakes and forests are the backdrop for stunning waterfalls. It is not difficult to find a waterfall in New Zealand suitable for everyone to access and spend time at. Let the flow of water soothe the soul and the spray / mist create a magical moment.
Discover mountains, lakes and rivers where adventure goes hand in hand with the thrilling jet boat ride or the scream of joy as you plunge off a bridge into the surging waters of glacial fed rivers.
Who thought of jumping, from a great height off a railway bridge; from a cliff face? AJ Hackett, kiwi adventurer, contributed to amazing adventures kiwi style, the iconic bungy jump. Still going and still adrenaline seeking sheer joy is available from its original location in Queenstown to the Auckland sky tower with a city as the backdrop as you scream your way downwards, very fast.
New Zealand offers adventure tourism with the scenery as the star. New Zealand scenery is the backdrop to rafting white water Mohaka river adrenaline inducing grade 4+ river. The Tongariro grade 3 river offers challenges to beginners with time to absorb the glorious scenery. The Pelorus river introduces kids to the joy of rafting, and legendary Black Water Rafting, Waitomo are another original adventure tourism venture. A classic is Kaituna Cascades where you finish the rafting trip plunging down a waterfall with tourists busy snapping photos from a nearby bridge. Consider the thrill of jumping off rock faces into pools below as you canyon down rock slides with Raglan Rock.
Adventure is what the country does best. Those mountains, the surging white rivers and the culture of ‘give it a go’ mean New Zealand delivers your next excitement.learn more
The drama of skydiving over rural landscapes. 100% pure energy memories when you have a ‘Let’s go for it moment.’ Getting dirty, jumping off cliffs, mountain biking through pristine forests and going off road is so important that it’s a category of its own in the regional travel guides.
We admit it, New Zealand has only recently been occupied by people.
Documented archeological evidence reaches back to the 12th century with an oral tradition tracing roots further. Forget looking at 2000 + year old stone ruins when Aotearoa New Zealand offers the challenging alternative of the creation of a contemporary democratic country. The trials and tribulations are on full display at Waitangi and Ruapekapeka pa battle site and the joy of success is narrated and debated at Te Papa National Museum.
Aotearoa New Zealand is home to a unique polynesian culture, the Maori. Vivid enactments narrate Maori ancestral links to the world class navigating skills of East Polynesia at Mana, Footsteps of Kupe, Hokianga. Whakatane has the tale of a beautiful meeting Mataatua Wharenui that spent 130 years traveling the world. Now it is safely back where it belongs with a fascinating story to tell.
Places and people capture Maori links; no better than Waitangi, Bay of Islands where the story of the founding document, Treaty of Waitangi has its origins. Discover the daily lives of Top 10 Mission Stations to Visit in Northland and the struggles against the whaling industry early missionaries faced.
Look at the name of a place and find out what it means. The story starts with the name…
Top sights in Aotearoa New Zealand include
NEW ZEALAND REGIONAL GUIDES have a dedicated section to heritage & culture with descriptions of museums and galleries.
New Zealand offers a tantalising selection of attractions and places to visit. BEST BITS Regional Guides offer visitors an indepth review of places to go and things to do. The informative travel guides detail the where, the how and area’s attractions. Getting there and around is sorted with Best Bits.
BEST BITS does not want you to miss out on the hidden corners of Aotearoa New Zealand. In fact you might have to plan an extended holiday to pack into your growing bucket list. Check out kiwi towns and regional centres for your one of a kind downunder kiwi holiday.
The classic arc of cityscapes, memorable visitor attractions in Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua are part and parcel of a classic one week / two week trip in the North Island. The South Island destinations are about the undeniable glory of the scenery with Queenstown and Nelson nestled among New Zealand’s captivating landscapes.
Auckland is the natural home of Pasifika culture, the blend of polynesian pacific influences created out of the migration of Pacific peoples to the urban centre of Aotearoa New Zealand, Auckland. Unmissable is the annual Pasifika summer festivals where rhythmic beating drums definitely get the toes dancing. The story of migration, of the contribution of the Pacific is narrated in street art, food markets, regional museums and collections and in the cultural identity of Auckland.
Auckland New Zealand on a plate is an ideal place to experience the vibe of Pakifisca culture.
Pacific arts such as weaving, crochet, tapa making and music are practised by master artists, working alone or in groups. Some use contemporary materials, commonly upcycling woven polypropylene rice sacks. Their work is seen at events such as the Pasifika Festival, Polyfest and community and church events.
With Auckland the home to the largest polynesian population in the world it is a natural artistic hub. Major festivals are hugely popular from the Pasifika Festival, Style Pasifika and the Southside Arts Festival. Arts are sold at markets in South Auckland, which is also the base for many creative groups.
Luscious scenery, long low sunsets and a scarcity of people creates ‘me’ moments when the camera easily focuses on you and your loved ones. Remember to check out the regional guides for the romantic moments as there are plenty of tips where to go for sunset photo moments together.
Kiwi towns have a section ‘Where to take the best selfie’ … on the road, let your fingers do the walking and check out where to grab a unique photo location in the town coming up on the horizon.
Hang on … more coming soon.
From the world’s biggest weta (insect) to peculiar shaped rock formations New Zealand has plenty of odd, unusual and fascinating places to go. Cemeteries are a favourite place for a picnic. Odd for some people and others feel quite at home in the place where the bodies are buried.
There is even an online resource to help visitors track where to go, Aurora Service (Australis) perfect to assess the weather conditions for your night peering into the skies above
Hang on … more coming soon
The best time to visit New Zealand is year round. From glorious gardens with their seasonal colour and foliage displays to summers exploring the great outdoors or simply collapsing on a beach New Zealand has plenty to offer visitors. Skiing is a popular winter activity in the South Island as well as the Central North Island alpine plateau.
New Zealand with its temperate climate, sufficient rainfall
Remote hideaways to stunning cliff top locations overlooking the Pacific ocean New Zealand has a wealth of accommodation options offering visitors a luxurious escape from the hustle of life.
The bounty of the sea, Kaikoura crayfish or scallops in Whitianga, Coromandel.
Luscious fresh fruit from the Hawke’s Bay and Nelson ensure summer’s seasonal treat of roadside stalls is a holiday staple.
Wine regions tempt visitors to linger in vineyard courtyards with an award winning drop. From Auckland’s three wine growing districts to the Hawke’s Bay and boutique Martinborough region the North Island does not disappoint. Marlborough and its world class sauvignon blanc vineyards is a treasure worth exploring and Nelson is just 2 hours away. Canterbury and Otago offer cool climate wine variations.
Craft brewing is a fun way to taste your way across New Zealand with family owned businesses offering special tastes incorporating the herbs of New Zealand.
Gin distilleries in Reefton and elsewhere showcase the developing range of taste available.
Pasifika fusion cuisine experiments with the traditional ingredients of New Zealand offering visitors a chance to savour unique flavours.
The roadie, the breath of fresh air and the space to decide when and where to stop are yours on a classic Aotearoa New Zealand road trip. Experience the joy of mulling over your road journey in New Zealand. Scenic highlights are a given as the place is impossibly beautiful. The quintessential New Zealand road trip is discussed with recommended routes, time taken and key highlights.
Check out Itineraries, touring routes and get New Zealand google maps downloaded.
Here are some tips on travel planning tips for a self-guided road trip to New Zealand.
THE BEGINNING – QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF …
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO AND IN WHICH DIRECTION?
For overseas visitors there are two major international hubs
Perhaps the airlines are marketing specials from Australia to Queenstown (regional international airport). Think about an extra day to unwind and get into the holiday spirit, check out what to do in the locality.
WHICH IS THE BEST DIRECTION TO TRAVEL?
Auckland to Wellington or Wellington to Auckland …
You are going to see the same places however in a different order. However rental cars can have a cheaper option on one way returns if you are traveling against the flow of tourist traffic. A call to a rental company will answer that question. This could influence your decision about direction.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL AS THIS INFLUENCES WHAT YOU CAN SEE AND DO?
How much time is needed to see New Zealand is influenced by the proposed distance between bucket list destinations.
It is recommended you shorten the distance (sigh you really wanted to see those …) to ensure you only drive 150km average per day. That’s plenty of time to get out of the car and see things. Even better if you have more than one night, in at least two places to make a destination a hub where you simply move from point A over a period of two or more days.
Plan a road trip with a maximum traveling distance, for each day between 100km to 200km. The exception being the last day when you have a plane to catch.
HAVE YOU KEY ATTRACTIONS OR ACTIVITIES THAT ARE ON YOUR MUST DO LIST?
Your must do list of New Zealand attractions is also influenced by budget. If the must do list is not in a straight line then you can spend your holiday budget on simply getting around. Check your destinations are linked from one place to another. Use our itineraries as a guide as BEST BITS has done the hard work for you.
Remember to Include flights or travel to route origin and route destination places. Then there are activities, entrance fees, averaged accommodation cost, food and beverage costs, insurance and rental vehicle cost, including fuel. This could influence your route.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND – THE WEATHER?
Weather, are you ready for the low season weather forecasts of cool temperatures and rain. The time of the year influences the cost of travel as well as your personal comfort zone. A favourite time of the year is between December to mid March (summer season).
The best time to visit New Zealand is summer between December to March with long daylight hours and temperatures between 16°C to 24°C. As a country where scenery is the number one attraction, summer is perfect for beaches, forest walks, outdoor adventures and cycling.
Now you are ready to work out the details for your holiday.
HOW TO PLAN A HOLIDAY IN NEW ZEALAND?
Check out the list of itineraries for the North Island, South Island, & all of New Zealand. From the iconic Rotorua mud pools to Fiordland National Park there are touring routes for all age groups and interests.
Whew, you have a holiday booked, planned and ready to go. Check you have TRIPIT or your favourite trip app for storing your booking data.
Location, location, location
Accommodation, especially if you have one or two days in a place location is critical as you do not want to spend your time traveling to and from places and activities.
Location versus the cost of the accommodation is the tricky balancing act.
AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND is a great holiday destination for a celebration from a significant milestone to the classic honeymoon.
New Zealanders are good at cheap, fun holidays .. check out the numerous camping spots. And there is always an excellent supermarket within walking distance.
Romantic holidays are often promoted in glossy magazines and online as getaways to expensive luxury locations. The enticing scenes of tropical palms, drinks in hand and platters of nibbles at the elbow are an advertising staple. It costs money. Your holiday can be romantic, have romantic moments and here are ten tips to inspire you to think beyond the budget planning of a luxury resort.
Getting around New Zealand is effortless. Check out BEST BITS itineraries, touring routes holidays for self-drive holiday ideas and with tips on where to stay for ease of access to top sights and New Zealand highlights.
HIGHLIGHTS OF A NEW ZEALAND ROAD TRIP
Your road trip could be on unfamiliar roads. Here are some tips about getting the most out of your road trip with tips about road conditions and an explanation of the signage used on New Zealand roads.
For more information about driving in New Zealand, getting around the country and frequently asked questions about how to travel around the country check out Itineraries, touring routes in New Zealand, facts and FAQ and enjoy your visit downunder in New Zealand.
Where to stay in New Zealand is easy. New Zealand offers a comprehensive range of accommodation from holiday camping experiences to Department of Conservation reserves. Unearth a charming bed and breakfast lodge or a hotel nestled in a forest setting. A touch of luxury is a given in a New Zealand’s eco-lodge specialising in pampering as well as showcasing glorious scenery with customised guided tours.
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