About New Zealand
From exploring geothermal zones and glaciers, to sampling the country’s finest wines and quintessential Kiwi fish and chips, there’s so much to see and experience while exploring New Zealand. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from a visit to New Zealand, and the highlights of each of our country’s diverse regions.
Aotearoa: The Land Of The Long White Cloud.
Home to the clearest waters in the world, over 200 native bird species, the Hobbits of Middle Earth, 5 million people and 27 million sheep. The first country in the world to give women the vote, the first to conquer Everest and the first in the world to see the sunrise each day. New Zealand is a humble little country that packs a big punch.
From the treetops of the ancient kauri forests in Northland and heights of the South Alps’ snowy peaks, to the depths of the serene fiords of Milford Sound and cellars of our award-winning vineyards, there’re amazing memories to be made in New Zealand. Our reputation for incredible untouched beauty and amazing landscapes spans around the globe. Kiwis (New Zealanders) are also renowned for their laid-back approach to life, affinity with the land and sense of community. On a visit to New Zealand you can expect to be met with welcoming kindness, incredible hospitality, and a quirky sense of humour.
With so many things to see and do in New Zealand, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Rest assured that you really can’t go wrong. But if you are wanting to get a feel for each of the regions then we have taken some of the leg work out of planning by writing up a brief description of each region below. Or if you’d prefer you can check out our Ultimate Kiwi Bucket List, where we’ve compiled the ideas and suggestions of our very own TOP 10 Holiday Park staff about the top things to do in their regions. Happy planning!
Learn about New Zealand's diverse regions:
(Working from North to South)
The northernmost region of New Zealand, Northland is where white beaches and lush forests converge in a thin finger of land dividing the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. Watching the tides clash at Cape Reinga will have you in awe of Papatūānuku’s (Mother Nature’s) power and force. Keep an eye out for whales and dolphins as you explore Northland’s coastline by kayak, cruise or fishing charter. In the ancient Northland forests, crane your neck to see the tops of Tāne Mahuta (The Lord of the Forest) a giant 51 metres high kauri tree. And a visit to Northland isn’t complete without a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where you can deepen your knowledge of New Zealand’s history and identity. Need somewhere to stay while exploring Northland? Check out the TOP 10 Holiday Parks in Northland.
Cape Reinga, where the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide
Auckland City is New Zealand’s most populous city, a multi-cultural melting pot that is home to some of the country’s finest food, music, arts and culture. A visit to Auckland isn’t complete without visiting Mount Eden, Auckland’s highest natural point, where you get 360-degree views of the city, as well as the city’s oldest park, the Auckland Domain, where you’ll find the Auckland War Memorial Museum and some of the country’s most treasured heritage items. The city also provides a fantastic hub to some of the wider region’s gems, such as Waiheke Island, a small island 40 minutes’ ferry ride off the coast, famous for its vineyards, as well as Piha to the west of Auckland, renowned for its powerful surf and black-sand beaches. There are a number of TOP 10 Holiday Parks in the Auckland region.
Aerial views of the Auckland Harbour
The Waikato region is located in the upper central north island, and stretches from the beachside town of Raglan in the West, and the depths of the cave systems in Waitomo across rich agricultural and pastoral areas, around Australasia’s largest freshwater lake (Lake Taupo), to the unmatched beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula on the eastern coast. Between the pristine, golden beaches, thick rainforests, rolling hills, Hobbit holes of Hobbiton and iconic sporting locations, there is something for everyone in Waikato. TOP 10 has premium accommodation and sites in Waikato.
Hobbiton in Matamata
Bay of Plenty
Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island, the Bay of Plenty lives up to its name. In the bubbling and steaming geothermal city of Rotorua you can find thrill aplenty, with world-class mountain biking tracks among the giant Redwood Forest, zorbing, white water rafting and more. Further east you’ll find rich mining history, numerous cycleways, and endless white sandy beaches. There’s an abundance of fresh produce to sample, which you can burn off on a hike up Mauao (Mount Maunganui), which rates at the number one must-do activity in the Bay of Plenty. Looking for a place to stay in the Bay of Plenty? TOP 10 has you covered.
Geothermal wonders at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotorua
East Cape’s coastline is full of unforgettable marine experience including snorkelling, diving, reef tours, surf beaches, and marine animal viewings. Imagine Captain Cook’s delight when he first stepped foot on New Zealand soil in Gisborne in 1769. The region is rich with vineyards to explore and local wines to sample. But a visit to Gisborne is not complete without a visit to the East Cape Lighthouse. This is the most eastern point of New Zealand and the first place in the world to see the sun rise. TOP 10 has you covered with a huge range of accommodation in Gisborne.
Catching waves in Gisborne
Home to the North Island’s highest peak (Mount Taranaki), this region is abundant with volcanic peaks, making for excellent hiking and alpine tramping. There are 12 world-class surf breaks scattered along the coastline of Taranaki. To learn about the region’s geological, Maori and pioneering history, you can’t go past Puke Ariki in the heart of New Plymouth. Quality accommodation and sites in Taranaki, think TOP 10.
Mount Taranaki and Cape Egmont Lighthouse
Hawke’s Bay can be found on the lower east coast of New Zealand’s North Island and it is full of things to see and do. When you are done exploring Hawke’s Bay’s impressive landscapes, you can go on to experience the region’s vibrant culture along with one of the country’s best food and wine selections. Looking for powered sites and accommodation in Hawke's Bay? Think TOP 10.
Views of the Te Mata Hills from Te Mata Peak in the Hawke's Bay
Many would argue that the absolute highlight of this region is the Tongariro National Park, and in particular the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which is a world-renowned 1 day hike across volcanic landscapes, where you’ll follow a well-beaten trail past emerald lakes and steaming dramatic peaks. But the highlights don’t stop there, and visitors to Manawatū-Whanganui can enjoy the sights and slopes of New Zealand’s largest ski field, enjoy a cruise on the last paddle steamer operating in NZ, paddle their way down the Whanganui River, taking in the sights of native forests and the Bridge To Nowhere. Check out the TOP 10 holiday parks and camping options in the Lower North Island.
Views of Mount Ngauruhoe on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Wellington and the Wairarapa
Wellington and the Wairarapa are located at the bottom of New Zealand's North Island. Hosting the country's capital city, the area offers the best in city life and is teeming with art and culture. Just a short drive away from the city, however, is the relaxing Wairarapa, known for its great food and fine wine. This region gives visitors the chance to experience the city as well as modern rural life. For affordable and quality accommodation in the Wairarapa and Wellington, choose TOP 10.
Cape Palliser Lighthouse in the Wairarapa
The Marlborough region benefits from a Mediterranean climate—hot, dry summers and cool winters, making it a popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. The Marlborough Sounds is comprised of ancient sunken river valleys and over 1500kms of coastline, making it a haven for kayaking, fishing, coastal hiking, and eating delicious New Zealand seafood. Looking for cabin, motel and site accommodation in Marlborough? Think TOP 10.
This stunning region at the top of the South Island boasts the highest number of sunshine hours in New Zealand, giving you more opportunities to explore its must-do experiences. Walk amongst mammoth-shaped monoliths at Wharariki Beach, kayak along the golden beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park, and be sure to check out the creations of the region’s many local artists. TOP 10 has plenty of accommodation options in Nelson/Tasman.
Split Apple Rock in Abel Tasman National Park
The South Island's West Coast is bordered by the Southern Alps and the wild and varied coastline. Full of spectacular scenery and natural wonders, the region features ancient glaciers, natural hot springs, crystal clean inland lakes, unique rock formation and kilometres of stunning native forests. It is also home to a wide range of adventure opportunities such as helicopter tours over the snowy peaks, sky diving with views all the way up and down the rugged coastline, caving and mountain biking. For the best accommodation on the West Coast, you can't go past TOP 10.
Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki
Canterbury is in the South Island, bordered by the Southern Alps in the West and the Pacific Ocean in the east. As New Zealand’s largest region, Canterbury’s landscape is vast and beautiful with many opportunities for adventure and outdoor activities. Cruise on the water at Akaroa for your chance to spot the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's dolphin, soak in the hot pools of Hanmer Springs after a big day on your mountain bike, star gaze in the Aoraki/Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, or visit the reinvented city of Christchurch which has been gradually built over the last 10 years since the devastating earthquakes. Looking for quality and affordable accommodation in Canterbury? Look no further than TOP 10 Holiday Parks.
Mount John Walk, Lake Tekapo
Otago is New Zealand’s second most southerly region and is home to some of the most uniquely beautiful natural and historic treasures. A diverse climate means that Otago benefits from year-round experiences, such as skiing in winter and some of the country’s hottest days during summers. Huge lakes and waterways make for excellent boating conditions and water sports. The mountainous landscape makes for stunning tramping conditions, and even a simple drive through the mountain passes with have you in awe. The region has plenty of cycleways as well as being home to over 80 wineries and is known for its delicious gourmet produce. Some of Otago's best accommodation options can be found within TOP 10 Holiday Parks.
Roy's Peak at Sunrise
Southland makes up New Zealand’s Southern-most region and includes some of the most stunning landscape in the country. New Zealand’s most popular tourist attraction, Milford Sound, is located here in Fiordland. Like the name implies, the region is characterised by narrow inlets of water and dramatic, steep-sided cliffs which can be explored on foot or from the comfort of a cruise with the narrative of local guides. Further south east the rugged landscape continues into The Catlins and down towards Invercargill where you’ll find some of the world’s best seafoods, as well as several museums and exhibitions dedicated to the region’s impressive history in motorsworks. Check out the TOP 10 Holiday Parks in Southland.
Bluff, New Zealand's southernmost town
Time to get exploring
New Zealand’s array of must-see attractions is long, and time is short. So why wait? Get out there to soak in all the incredible life experiences our breath-taking country has to offer.
Find a park and book your accommodation for your great Kiwi adventure.