Bucket list for New Zealand

A few nights ago in Lethbridge we stayed with Amber and Ewan who are visiting New Zealand later this year. It got me to thinking about what, as a kiwi, I would suggest as a bucket list to visitors. Not to overwhelm people, I have listed five things in the North Island and five things in the South Island I would recommend people visit or do. The lists are not in order of importance but rather progress travelling from Auckland down to Milford Sound.

North Island

1 Visit Rangitoto Island in Auckland Harbour. Rangitoto Island is a dormant volcano. It is a short ferry ride and bring a picnic or some food to enjoy.

2 Visit Waitomo Caves and combine a trip if your feeling adventurous with some blackwater rafting.

3 Visit Rotorua and soak in the hot pools and, in the evening, go to a Maori cultural show.

4 Hike the Tongariro Crossing. It can be walked in a day and transport is possible from nearby Turangi to arrange to drop you off and pick you up at a scheduled time at the end of the track. Do not leave your car in the carpark at either end of the track. There is a high likelihood it will be broken into.

5 Visit the Te Papa Museum in Wellington it is, in my view, the best one in New Zealand.

The South Island

The South Island is a wonderland of nature and has some fine wineries in Blenheim and Otago. My list reflects my love of hiking so I have put two hikes in their which you will need to book with the Department of Conservation.

1 Visit some wineries in Blenheim

2 Walk the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, it is easy to do and you can arrange, also, for a spot of kayaking to see some sealife if you want.

3 Visit the Punakiki Pancake Rocks on the West Coast near Greymouth.

Punakiki Pancake rocks, west coast

Punakiki Pancake rocks, west coast

4 Either walk the Milford Track or Routeburn Track; both need to be booked and both have some stunning scenery.

5 Drive to Milford Sound and, either, do a boat tour or hire a kayak and get up close to the scenery and wildlife. On the drive, you should see the cheeky Alpine Parrot – the Kea. If you are able stay in Te Anau and to beat the hordes of tour buses from Queenstown, leave early in the morning.


Well, I hope that is helpful for newbies to New Zealand. You would have noticed I have missed out bungy jumping, whitewater rafting and the Bay of Islands. All are great things and, also, can be included depending on the amount of time you have to spend in New Zealand.

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2 thoughts on “Bucket list for New Zealand

  1. Just loved our trip to New Zealand. We sold our old triple white 1968 Cadillac to someone here in Vancouver and they immediately shipped it to New Zealand…so if you see it…ha ha.
    …that was our car.

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