Everywhere! But here are some key cities and landscapes from North to South:
Cape Reinga is the northernmost point of New Zealand. This is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, and this is where according to Maori legends spirits depart on their journey home to Hawaiki, making it a popular day tour destination with visitors.
Bay of Islands enjoys some of the best weather all year around in New Zealand. Visit the historic site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, hike in kauri forests, go dolphin watching, ride through the famous Hole in the Rock, or take a ferry to Russel, the first permanent European settlement in the country.
Auckland is the most populous city of the country with amazing multicultural vibes. You can visit the Sky Tower, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the New Zealand Maritime Museum and more, or set out on a day trip to Piha with its world-famous black sand beach, to Waiheke Island or Rangitoto Island.
The Coromandel is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand, thanks to its amazing beaches. Some must-see you’ll find in this area: the Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach.
Rotorua, the home of hot pools, mudpools, geysers and Maori culture. You can also make a little side trip to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Lake Taupo is the largest freshwater lake in the southern hemisphere, created by one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever. You can sail the lake to see the Maori carvings or take on one of the best day hikes of New Zealand in the Tongariro National Park: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand since 1865 and not to be missed. Visit the national museum, Te Papa, majestically standing on Wellington’s waterfront offering insightful permanent and temporary exhibitions on New Zealand’s history and culture. Hike up to Mt. Victoria around sunset for an amazing overview of the city. Lord of the Rings fans must not miss the Weta Cave for behind-the-scenes insights and life-size models from the movies.
On the South Island you can hike or kayak in the Abel Tasman National Park, be amazed by the power of nature at the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and explore the breathtaking views of the Franz Josef Glacier while based in the lovely little town of Franz Josef. Mt Cook (Maori name: Aoraki), the highest mountain of New Zealand is not far away, and you can take majestic pictures of it for example from the coast of Lake Matheson, which is a mirror lake reflecting Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.
Travelling further south on the rugged west coast, stop to admire the scenery of Lake Wanaka and use Wanaka as a gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. Spend days at picturesque Queenstown with The Remarkables in the background, go on amazing hikes or just enjoy the scenery of Lake Wakatipu on a cruise.
Te Anau is the perfect base to explore the Fjordland National Park, and it is the starting point for the Kepler multi-day hike. The highlight of the Fjordland National Park is Milford Sound where you can see soaring peaks and towering waterfalls during a scenic cruise.
Invercargill is the southernmost city of New Zealand with booming sheep and dairy farming business. On the other side of the South Island, Christchurch is the largest city of this island, making a slow recovery after the back to back earthquakes in 2011, while Kaikoura is the hotspot for whale and dolphin watching with the beautiful Seaward Kaikoura Range in the background.