After my 25-day-long road trip through New Zealand, it’s time for an assessment! I had heard a lot of good things about this destination, but I didn’t know what to expect before I arrived. I was of course aware that the country is well-known for its natural beauty, but what else does it have to offer? I’ll tell you all about it with my 10 top favorite photos!
Hiking Trails Galore
One of the top destinations for nature-lovers, New Zealand features many of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world. The Tongariro Trail is a perfect example, offering a 20-kilometer hike through a breathtaking landscape. Less athletic travelers won’t be left behind thanks to walks that range from very easy to moderate.
Snowy Mountaintops Even in Mid-Summer
This view over Mount Cook is among the top three most beautiful I’ve seen in my 8 years of travel! This snow-covered summit, reflected in the Pukaki Lake, is truly spectacular.
Beaches That Will Leave You Breathless
For those of you who like gorgeous beaches, our next stop is Abel Tasman National Park! Only accessible using the footpath or by sea, this idyllic spot will leave you feeling a bit disconnected from the world. Feel free to take a boat or the footpath to discover a series of beaches, each more beautiful than the last.
Powerful Geological Phenomena…
Erosion has done great things for Punakaiki! Better known as the Pancake Rocks, this geological marvel shows us the power of nature! Try to visit during the high tide to hear the sound of the sea crashing into the rocks!
…And Geothermal Phenomena, too!
On the North Island, there are plenty of geothermal marvels to see! The best-known is Wai-O-Tapu, which offers lakes of varying colors depending on the particles present in the water: green, orange, yellow, every color imaginable is there!
Lakes So Big You’d Think You Were by the Sea
You can’t miss Lake Wanaka (the fourth biggest lake in New Zealand with a surface area of 192 km²/74 mi²) on the South Island. Just like Lake Taupo or Lake Tekapo, when you’re standing on the shore of this enormous lake, you’d think you were at the seaside!
New Zealand wines are among the best in the world. Here you’ll mainly find cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc blends which are every bit as good as the famous wines from France. When you visit New Zealand, it’s an opportunity to go wine tasting in absolutely gorgeous wineries!
Varied and Pleasant Roads
Over 25 days in New Zealand, we covered 3000 kilometers (1864 miles)! It’s of course important to enjoy the drive, but it’s impossible not to love the journey with beautiful landscapes everywhere you look! The roads here vary greatly, from omnipresent greenery on the North Island to dry, even lunar landscapes on the South Island, with mountains and colorful flowers in between. Impossible to get bored on the road!
For those luxury travelers seeking a lovely place to stay, you’ll have more than enough options! Astonishing views, top-notch service, and above all intimacy and exclusivity are available with lodgings that often feature only a handful of rooms.
Gastronomy with Many Influences
As a Frenchwoman by birth, I’ll admit that food has a rather important place in my life! I’ve grown accustomed to eating fine dishes in beautiful French gourmet restaurants and small Parisian bistros! But New Zealand has become one of my favorite places to eat! Thanks to the quality of the local products and the chefs’ ambitions to excel, you’ll find delicious and innovative cuisine with multiple influences.