Photo: TDway/Shutterstock

22 Natural Destinations in New Zealand

Wellington Christchurch Queenstown Hiking Galleries
by Hal Amen Mar 21, 2011
Photography that makes me want to pack some camping gear and get lost.

[Editor’s note: Matador is participating in this week’s #blog4NZ event, which is intended to raise travelers’ awareness about New Zealand.]

I’VE NEVER BEEN to New Zealand. But after spending several hours touring Flickr to collect these shots…wow, somebody buy me a ticket.

Mount Taranaki

Photo: gregorioa/Shutterstock

Situated in the region of the same name, on the North Island’s western coast, Taranaki is a 2518m volcanic cone that last erupted in the mid-19th century.

Fox Glacier

Photo: Almost Viral Design/Shutterstock

The South Island’s Westland National Park is home to this glacier and its spectacular ice caves. In 13km, the Fox drops from the peaks of the Southern Alps to rainforest along the coast.

Stormy Milford Sound

Photo: Michael Roh/Shutterstock

The southwestern coast of the South Island is cut by numerous fjords. Milford Sound is the best known, and is the country’s most popular tourist attraction.

Southern Alp peaks

Photo: Tobin Akehurst/Shutterstock

New Zealand’s tallest mountain range contains 20 peaks over 3,000m, the highest being Aoraki/Mt. Cook at 3,750m. It’s a great starter range for mountaineering.

Rakaia River from the air

Photo: Juergen Wallstabe/Shutterstock

Home to good salmon and trout fishing, the Rakaia deltas into Canterbury Bight, around 50km south of Christchurch.

Lake Wakatipu

Photo: Spotmatik Ltd/Shutterstock

A finger lake shaped like a lightning bolt, the Otago region’s Wakatipu is 80km long and shares a shore with the resort town and adventure tourism capital of Queenstown.

On the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Couple hiking in New Zealand one of the happiest countries in the world

Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock

The Tongariro Crossing trail runs for 19km through volcanic terrain in the center of the North Island. It passes the base of Mt. Ngauruhoe, known to a lot of the world as Mt. Doom. The national park is the country’s oldest.

Stirling Falls

Photo: sduraku/Shutterstock

Stirling is one of two permanent falls along Milford Sound.

Shotover River canyons

Photo: Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

Running for 60km through Otago, the Shotover is narrow and fast flowing, making it a super popular whitewater destination.

Lake Pukaki

Photo: TDway/Shutterstock

Good views of the main Southern Alp peaks backdrop this Canterbury lake. The water’s particular tint of blue comes from glacier-ground particulates.

Sailing through mangroves

Photo: Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

The coastal landscape of the country’s northern regions is where the most southerly mangroves in the world occur. Photo above was taken near Rawene, Northland.

Moeraki Boulders

These strange geologic formations line the beach on Otago’s eastern coast, just south of Hampden.

Waterfall in Mount Aspiring National Park

Photo: Carulla Maia/Shutterstock

Mt. Aspiring is the only 3,000+ peak to stand outside the Aoraki/Mount Cook area. Its tiny national park is just 20 miles as the crow flies from Milford Sound and about 10 from the northern reaches of Lake Wakatipu.

Nugget Point

Photo: Darrenp/Shutterstock

A lighthouse of the same name gives a good view of these southern Otago islets and their wildlife. If you could see for 2,000 miles out to sea, you’d be looking at the coast of Antarctica.

Tararua Range

Photo: highluxphoto/Shutterstock

These mountains rise at the southern tip of the North Island.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest


The Whakarewarewa area is geologically active, home to a number of geysers and hot springs, as well as a grove of California coast redwoods, planted here in 1901.

Tasman, New Zealand

Photo: Tom Jastram/Shutterstock

The shot above was taken near the start of Farewell Spit, a 26km sand spit sticking out of the northernmost point of the South Island.

Huka Falls

Photo: T.Visual/Shutterstock

Close to 220,000 liters of water flow through this falls every second, as the Waikato River suddenly narrows from 100 meters to just 15.

Franz Josef Glacier

Photo: Fotos593/Shutterstock

Like the Fox Glacier (listed above and located 20km south), the Franz Josef falls from mountains to rainforest in just 12km.

Lake Tekapo panorama

Landscape at Lake Tekapo and Lupine Field in New Zealand

Photo: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

Tekapo is similar in many respects to Pukaki (listed above), including fronting a killer view of the Southern Alps.

Doubtful Sound

Photo: Jeffrey B. Banke/Shutterstock

Also located in Fiordland National Park, Doubtful Sound is larger yet less accessible than its famous cousin to the north.

Bridal Veil Falls, New Zealand

Photo: Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock

In the Waikato region of the North Island, close to the town of Raglan, this plunge falls has a height of 55m.

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