For the self-professed coffee snobs: Wellington
There’s a good reason Wellington touts itself as the ‘coffee capital‘ of New Zealand. For one thing, the city is home to some of the country’s most famous coffee brands and roasters, including Mojo, Caffe L’Affare and Havana. Then there’s the fact that the flat white may or may not have been created by a Wellington barista. Needless to say, the local cafes take their roasts and brews seriously.
For the budding foodies: Auckland
To be fair, Wellington is a strong contender for this category too. Auckland, however, is hard to beat when it comes to variety. New Zealand’s largest city is home to a melting pot of cuisines from all corners of the world, but especially South East Asia. Venture to some of the local markets to see this diversity, or check out any of the quirky eateries, fine dining establishments and cool cafes dotted around the city.
For the wine connoisseurs: Marlborough
Again, this is a very tough contest. Marlborough is the country’s largest wine-producing region, though. That alone should be enough reason to place it at the top of all viticulture enthusiasts’ must-visit lists. More than 70% of New Zealand’s wines are made in Marlborough, with many of them earning top accolades locally and worldwide. To get a taste of the region’s famous Sauvignon blends, either take yourself on a self-guided trip of the vineyards or opt for a localised tour package.
For the thrill seekers: Queenstown
As the ‘adventure capital’ of New Zealand, Queenstown is home to a load of stomach-twisting activities. This was the place that introduced the world to commercial bungy jumping, after all. The town is also home to the world’s largest rope swing and is surrounded by some of the country’s best ski fields, canyons and river rapids (the latter two being ideal for rafting and jet boating).
For the snow bunnies: Wanaka
Queenstown may be adventure central, but Wanaka is the gateway to some of New Zealand’s best ski slopes. Treble Cone, the largest ski area in the South Island, is right on Wanaka’s doorstep. Similarly, Cardrona is just a 35-minute drive away and is known for its family-friendly runs and incredibly reliable snow conditions.
For the beach bums: The Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula is renowned locally and globally for its pristine beaches and natural landscapes. But did you know it’s also a prime surfing destination too? Towns like Whangamata, Whitianga, Tairua and Waihi become hot-spots over the summer for keen surfers scouring for those perfect points breaks and swells. Other points of interest include Hahei Beach, Hot Water Beach and Opito Bay.
For the architecture lovers: Dunedin
The South Island city of Dunedin is home to an enviable collection of Victorian architecture. True to its Scottish heritage, stone buildings and Gothic style churches are among the highlights you’ll encounter while strolling the streets. In fact, the Dunedin Railway Station is known for being the most photographed place in New Zealand and the second most photographed destination in the entire Southern Hemisphere — how’s that for impressive?
For the nature lovers: Fiordland National Park
Fiordland National Park has got everything a nature enthusiast could ever ask for. It is home to some of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the alluring Milford Sound, and a vast arrayof unique animal species, soaring mountain peaks, glacially carved fjords, native forests and waterfalls that are set to take anyone’s breath away.
For the avid hikers: Any national park, really
Each of New Zealand’s national parks has its own distinctive landscape and character. But if there’s one thing they have in common, it’s is that they all come with various single- and multi-day hiking opportunities for all levels and abilities. The Tongariro Crossing is a popular one-day trek, while the 3-5 day Abel Tasman Coast Track is the ideal choice for experienced hikers wanting to immerse themselves in a contrasting terrain of sand and forests.
For the marine wildlife enthusiasts: the Bay of Islands the in the north; Kaikoura in the south
There are so many places where you can see wildlife in New Zealand. In Kaikoura, you’ll encounter some of the country’s rarest dolphins, plus some whales, fur seals and native albatross species. The Bay of Islands is known for its migratory whale and bottlenose dolphin encounters, and is also a place where you might spot fur seals and penguins basking on the rocky shores.