New Zealand, located in the south-western part of the Pacific Ocean, has a marked reputation for its relative isolation. Mainly consisting of two large islands and a handful of tiny sub-islands, New Zealand’s closest neighbors are between 500 and 1,200 miles away.
Because of its distance from the rest of the world, the islands were mostly undisturbed by humans for a number of years. This quiet calm allowed for the development of number of unique bird and plant varieties, but many of them became extinct after the island became populated by humans and the new animals they brought with them.
Rich with history and culture, New Zealand is home to a number of incredible landmarks. Be sure to include a few of these in your itinerary when you visit.
10. Auckland Domain
Auckland Domain, resting above the volcanic crater known as Pukekawa, spans over 75 hectacres and is known as the oldest park in New Zealand. The park houses a number of historic attractions, most notable among them the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Walking paths, picturesque statues, and incredible plant varieties, many of which are featured in Wintergardens, dot the landscape throughout the park.
9. Goat Island Marine Reserve
The Goat Island Marine Reserve can be found between Okakari Point and Cape Rodney. Goat Island is an incredible place to relax on the beach or explore the marine wildlife. There are dozens of outfits on the island offering diving lessons and guided tours, both from boats and right off of the beach. A guided tour is recommended, by the way, because of the strong currents that can develop quickly when bad weather approaches.
8. The Beehive Building
In Wellington you’ll find the Beehive building, otherwise known as the New Zealand Parliament Building. Designed by a Scottish architect, the ten-story building is shaped like an actual beehive. The offices of the Prime Minister can be found here, as well as the offices of a number of other cabinet members. The building itself is a site to behold.
7. Auckland Harbour Bridge
The Auckland Harbour Bridge was completed in 1959 and spans more than 1,000 meters over St. Mary’s Bay. The bridge is popular with tourists because of the illuminated views of the city at night. The bridge is also popular amongst climbers and those who enjoy bungy jumping excursions.
6. Mount Eden
Mount Eden is another popular destination for tourists from all over. Also referred to as Maungawhau, Mount Eden is Auckland’s highest volcano. The mountain slopes features a wide variety of trails suitable for both hikers and walkers. It isn’t difficult to reach the summit, where you’ll be simply amazed at the views of the city beneath you.
5. Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island is the most youthful of the volcanoes in the area, but it is also the largest. The island used to boast a number of residential settlements, but they were abandoned after the Depression, leaving only a glimpse of what life was like in the early 1900′s. Today the island features plenty of hiking and walking trails, hundreds of unique plant varieties, and an incredible dense phoutukawa forest.
4. City Center
New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, is located on the Northern Island. Within the city you’ll find a number of entertaining attractions, including the Auckland Zoo and the Auckland Regional Botanical Gardens. Beer lovers will also enjoy a tour of the Lion Beer brewery.
3. One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill ranks amongst the tallest volcanic peaks in the city of Auckland. The area is treated with a considerable amount of respect and is recognized as a memorial ground by the Maori settlers. The hill used to feature a single totara tree. In the late 1800′s the tree was replaced by a pine tree, but towards the end of the 20th century the tree was attacked and destroyed – not once, but twice. The park still features a number of hiking trails and incredible summits for viewing the land below.
Rotorua is another incredible New Zealand destination. One of the most prominent features in this city is The Bath House, which is considered one of the most incredible spas in all of the South Pacific. The natural hot springs draw visitors from all over, as everyone clamors to take advantage of their therapeutic properties.
1. Parnell Rose Gardens
Nestled in the heart of Dove-Myer Robinson Park, the Parnell Rose Gardens are a spectacular destination for botanists and rose enthusiasts from all over the world. The garden boasts over 4,000 roses and sits near the Nancy Steen Garden, which features a white rose garden of its own. The free Parnell Festival of Roses is held each and every November, including tours, entertainment, and music.
New Zealand is an incredible country with a diverse culture. No matter which island you visit, you’re sure to find an amazing landmark or historical attraction.