Most of us know the beauty of New Zealand—even without realizing it. New Zealand took centre stage doubling as Middle-earth in the Lord of the Rings films. It’s not surprising. Many places located on New Zealand’s North and South islands may look like they’ve straight out of a fantasy world, but the good news for us is that these breathtaking views are 100% real.
Mitre Peak, Milford Sound
Few places in New Zealand have the “wow” factor of Milford Sound. This is especially true when it contains a view of Mitre Peak, one of the country’s most iconic natural landmarks. It may be difficult to get to as its remote location on the South Island is a long and difficult drive or an expensive flight to get to, but once you’re there, it’ll all feel worth while. Rain or shine, it’s one of the rare places that are gorgeous no matter the weather.
Mt. Roy (aka Roy’s Peak) is one of the most Instagrammed places in New Zealand. Overlooking the resort town of Wanaka and down the Matukituki valley, this is likely one of the most camera-worthy hikes you’ll take in your life. If you don’t feel like exercise, you can always jump into a helicopter and fly to Coromandel Peak for the same view for a lot less work.
If you’re looking for a peaceful seaside escape, this quiet beach paradise on the bottom of the South Island is well off the beaten trail. It’s also home to the endangered Hector’s dolphins, so your gorgeous view may even be enhanced by an exotic animal sighting.
Snow Capped Southern Alps
This view is so high up, you can’t even reach it by foot. Take a helicopter or plane ride way above New Zealand’s Southern Alps for a once-in-a-lifetime view. This may not be for the budget traveller, but if you have the money to spare, this atmospheric view is well worth the money.
Rotorua Lake is a hotspot of mud pools and boiling geysers. While the blue water of this geothermic pool may look enticing to swim in, you’ll change your mind once you take a whiff of the strong sulfur smell that consumes the area around the lake.
Nugget Point Lighthouse
This beautiful lighthouse situated on Nugget Point will provide you with the best view of Nugget Point, one of the most distinctive landmarks along the South Island’s Otago coast. In addition to providing one of New Zealand’s most remarkable coastline views, Nugget Point is also home to sea lions, sooty shearwaters, shags, yellow-eyed penguins and a breeding colony of gannets.
This is a peak even the most out-of-shape traveller can hike up. Take a stroll up this dormant volcano overlooking the city of Auckland for a beautiful view of the city’s skylines, as well as the many ships that sail into Waitemata Harbor.
Aoraki/Mt. Cook is New Zealand’s biggest mountains and no matter where you look from up top of this natural wonder, it is guaranteed to be remarkable. Take the four-hour Hooker Valley walk, one of the most popular (and easiest ways) to experience the picturesque icebergs, glaciers and majestic mountains characteristic of the area. The tack leads up the Hooker Valley and ends at Glacier Lake, where on a clear day, you can experience some of the best views of Aoraki/Mt. Cook.