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“Ki Ora! Welcome to New Zealand!” This is often the comment you’ll receive when you step off the plane at one of our international airports in Christchurch, Hamilton or Auckland.

New Zealand is an amazing place to live and a fantastic place to visit. We have lush green hills surrounding us in many parts of the country, but we also have acres and acres of lush green plains with flowing rivers leading to the Pacific Ocean.

There is so much to do here and no matter what your age, there is something for everyone. Having lived in New Zealand all my life and having traveled to most of the North and South Islands, I can tell you that there is no other place in the world that I would rather live.

So what can you do in New Zealand? Well if you like hiking and camping this will be like heaven for you. We have some fantastic mountain ranges. The best places for hiking and camping are Taupo which is in the center of the North Island, Wellington, Christchurch and the west coast of the South Island where there are some amazing hikes.

Don’t like hiking or camping? Do you prefer to go shopping? I just had the place for you! Auckland, our largest city, has one of the best places for shopping! There are so many outlet stores and outlets, you’re sure to find something and being a outlet shopper myself, I would recommend visiting “Dressmart” in Onehunga, it’s huge and has some of the best shops! Another fantastic place to shop is Wellington’s main street; catch a cable car to get around. Christchurch also has fantastic shopping centers.

Ok, so you’re shopping? Want to see all the different attractions New Zealand has to offer? Well, where should I start?! Here is a list of my favorite places in New Zealand, there are many more, but these are the ones I love:

  • Swim at the 90 mile beach at the top of the North Island. This is just after Kaitia, which is about a 6 hour drive from Auckland city centre.
  • Fishing on the Great Barrier Island. There are some great charters out there and this is some of the best deep sea fishing you can find.
  • Enjoying a good coffee in front of the sea in Mission Bay in Auckland. This is a fantastic place to be during the summer.
  • Visit the Auckland Museum to learn a bit of history about our beautiful country. Learn about Maori culture and how our country has evolved through the centuries.
  • Head to the Waitomo district and go to the Waitomo Caves where you can go whitewater and blackwater rafting and see the amazing glowworms in the caves. This is a truly surreal experience.
  • Visit our national bird, the Kiwi at the Kiwi house in Otorohanga. Get up close and personal with this two-legged flightless bird. They are beautiful.
  • Taupo – my favorite place to be during summer and winter. Taupo has one of the largest lakes in the world, which is the crater left behind by one of the largest volcanic explosions to rock this world. The lake is famous for its amazing trout fishing. Also one of my favorite things to do is parasail behind a boat on the lake, you get some amazing views! Go a step further and do a tandem skydive over the Taupo district. My dad made this for his 50th birthday last year; He was on high for days after that!
  • Drive an hour and a half from Taupo and you’ll come across some of the best skiing in the world. Mount Ruapehu (still an active volcano!) is one of the busiest mountains in winter; You can ski on both sides of the mountain as there are two ski fields.
  • Cape Kidnappers is another great historical place to visit and is one of the warmest places in New Zealand. Take the tour to the tip of Cape Kidnappers and visit the colony of Gannets (birds) that gather there. Beware of the smell though, it’s something you have to experience!
  • Take the ferry from Wellington via Picton on the South Island and you’ll find a very different New Zealand. The South Island isn’t so much hustle and bustle it’s more of a chilled out vibe take your time a great place to relax.
  • Nelson is one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand and it’s not hard to see why. This is a great beachside city and many people retire here or bring their families for the lifestyle.
  • Head towards the west coast of the South Island and you’ll come across a town called Kaikoura, where you can take a boat cruise to see some of the most amazing dolphins and whales up close and personal.
  • Queenstown is probably my favorite city in New Zealand, it has a great atmosphere all year round, it is surrounded by a beautiful lake and one of the best ski slopes in New Zealand. Whether you visit during the summer or winter, you’ll be charmed by locals and tourists alike, this is definitely a place to be.
  • Invercargill, where one of my brothers lives, is a small town at the bottom of the South Island. On a clear day you can see Stewart Island in the distance. Drive half an hour out of Invercargill and you’ll come across Bluff… famous for its Bluff Oysters, this sleepy little town has ‘land’s end’ marked by signs pointing you in the direction you want to head. A great place to get your photo taken and of course if you like seafood you will want to try their oysters.

There you have it, some of my favorite places in New Zealand, my home country and the place I will always return to. Come visit us and create your own favorite places to visit!

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