Rugged, beautiful, inspiring—New Zealand has carved out a special place in the hearts of travelers worldwide. The country’s North and South islands offer the chance to explore a mix of cosmopolitan cities, craggy mountain peaks, verdant vineyards, rushing waterfalls, quiet beaches and serene glacial sounds in just one visit. Adventures are easy to find here, and each one includes unforgettable encounters with some of the nicest, and quirkiest, locals you’ll ever meet. To give you a taste, here are five must-see, must-do and must-taste experiences when visiting New Zealand.
Straddling the northern peninsula of the North Island and flanked by two sparkling harbors, Auckland is punctuated with volcanic cones and fertile farmland. Although its skyline boasts the gleaming skyscrapers of a big city, the vibe is still laid back—thanks to its seaside location, nearby beaches and abundant parks. A city pass will grant you access to the main attractions like the Fullers Ferry to Rangitoto Island, the Sky Tower’s 360-degree city views, the art gallery and the famous zoo. But for those craving some adventure, climb the city’s 200-foot-tall Auckland Harbour Bridge and revel in the picturesque views of the Waitemata Harbour and a panorama of the city.