#01 Milford Sound
Experience the grandeur and beauty of Fiordland on the area’s most accessible fiord, great in bright sunshine and wonderfully atmospheric in the mist with the waterfalls at their most impressive.
#02 Tree ferns
Sometimes reaching up to 10m, these outsize specimens provide shade for some of the more delicate species in New Zealand’s unique ecosystem.
#03 Taieri Gorge Railway
Ride the stately old train through otherwise inaccessible mountain landscapes on this dramatic journey along a line established back in 1859.
#04 Whale watching
An impressive range of cetaceans populates the deep canyons off the Kaikoura Peninsula, visited on a cruise or spied from a plane or helicopter.
Taking three leisurely days on a bike is the best way to tackle this 150km trail, which follows the route of a former rail line through some ruggedly barren country.
#06 White Island
Take an appealing boat trip out to New Zealand’s most active volcano, and stroll through the sulphurous lunar landscape to peer into the steaming crater.
This seemingly endless wave-lashed golden strand is a designated highway, plied by tour buses that regularly stop to let passengers toboggan down the steep dunes.
#08 Moeraki Boulders
Stroll along the beach to visit these large, perfectly round, natural spheres with a honeycomb centre, just sitting in the surf.
#09 The glaciers
The steep and dramatic Fox and Franz Josef glaciers can be explored by glacier hike, ice climbing and helicopter flights landing on the snowfields above.
Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand © Dan Breckwoldt/Shutterstock
#10 Farewell Spit
This slender 25km arc of sand dunes and beaches is a nature reserve protecting a host of bird species including black swans, wrybills, curlews and dotterels.
#11 The Catlins
Seals and dolphins and a laidback approach to life make this rugged coast a great place to unwind for a few days.
#12 Diving at the Poor Knights Islands
Two-dive day-trips visit any of several dozen sites at one of the world’s best diving destinations. A couple of scuttled navy boats nearby add to the possibilities.
Diver swimming through a sea cave near Poor Knights Islands, North Island, New Zealand © Danita Delmont/Shutterstock
#13 Hokianga Harbour
As a low-key antidote to the commercialization of the Bay of Islands, the sand dunes, quiet retreats and crafts culture of this vast inlet are hard to beat.
#14 Re:Start Christchurch
This new take on the earthquake-shattered Cashel Mall is symbolic of the city’s fight to re-invent itself.
#15 Surfing at Raglan
One of the world’s longest left-hand breaks, reliable swells and a chilled-out vibe make this New Zealand’s prime surfing destination.
Surfing Raglan, surf New Zealand © Evgeniya Hook Media/Shutterstock
Visitors flock to this accessible coastal park, to hike its Coast Track and kayak its magnificent coastline.
#18 Art Deco, Napier
The world’s most homogeneous collection of small-scale Art Deco architecture owes its genesis to the devastating 1931 earthquake that flattened this lovely provincial city.
One of the country’s finest walks, showcasing forested valleys, rich birdlife, thundering waterfalls, river flats, lakes and wonderful mountain scenery.
The best of Rotorua’s geothermal sites offers beautiful, mineral-coloured lakes, a geyser that erupts on cue each morning and pools of plopping mud.
#21 Bungy jumping
New Zealand’s trademark adventure sport can be tried at Kawarau Bridge, the original commercial jump site, the super-high Nevis site nearby, and several other spots around the country.
A superb one-day hike through the volcanic badlands of the Tongariro National Park, passing the cinder cone of Mount Ngauruhoe.