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Top 10 most popular places in New Zealand for Kiwi travellers

We’ve been crunching the figures to find the most popular destinations in New Zealand for Kiwis in 2018. So here is the Skyscanner New Zealand guide to the top places in NZ where we keep going back to.


10. Tauranga

Tauranga is famous because it’s the largest city in the Bay of Plenty and the seaside scenery, white-sand beaches, scuba diving, and busy harbour are big attractions.

Kiwis love Tauranga so much because you can swim with dolphins. You can also look down on the city after a walk to the top of Mount Maunganui.

One of the best kept secrets in Tauranga is White Island, or Whakaari, with its steaming vents and other volcanic activity.

You should visit Tauranga because there’s also surfing, an amusement park, and swimming holes near the Kaiate Falls cascades.  


9. New Plymouth

New Plymouth is famous because of its 11-km-long walkway/cycleway along the seafront from Bell Rock to Port Taranaki. Feel the fresh sea air on your face, pat the horses in the fields, and take a dip off one of the beaches along the way.

Kiwis love New Plymouth so much because the spectacular Mount Taranaki, which looks like Mt Fuji in Japan, makes an impressive backdrop.

One of the best kept secrets in New Plymouth is the 45-metre-high Wind Wand sculpture, located along the waterfront walkway. It’s tall and red and wobbles in the direction that the wind is blowing.

You should visit New Plymouth because you will put your camera to good use taking lots of impressive coastal shots.


8. Palmerston North

Image credit: Jean Francois Fournier Photographe/flickr

PalmerstonNorth is famous because of the NewZealand Rugby Museum. Fans of the All Blacks will love it. There are somechallenging mountain biking tracks on the city’s fridge too.

Kiwis love Palmerston North so much because it offers the sophistication of a large city, with museums, galleries, street art, and funky eateries.

One of the best kept secrets in Palmerston North is Victoria Esplanade, where you can stroll through the rose gardens and along the river. It’s even nicer when the cherry trees are in full pink bloom in spring.  

You should visit Palmerston North because comedian John Cleese thought it was boring, so the locals named a rubbish tip after him.


7. Napier-Hastings

Napier-Hastings is famous because it’s an urban area made up of two towns, yes Napier and Hastings. While amalgamation between the two towns is an active debate, they are still physically separated by a few kilometres of rural land.

Kiwis love Napier-Hastings so much because of the art deco buildings in Napier that were built after the town was destroyed by an earthquake and fire. There are also some 70 wineries in the surrounding area too.

One of the best kept secrets in Napier-Hastings is Cape Kidnappers. These white cliffs house the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. It’s quite a sight, and noisy too. The best time to experience it, on a walk along the base of the cliffs, is between early November and late February.

You should visit Napier-Hastings because it’s relatively undiscovered, so you won’t be rubbing shoulders with many other visitors.


6. Dunedin

Dunedin is famous because of its Scottish and Maori heritage, its Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and the fact that it’s part of the scenic wildlife haven of the Otago Peninsula.

Kiwis love Dunedin so much because of the local sea lions, fur seals, penguins and the world’s only mainland royal albatross breeding colony.

One of the best kept secrets in Dunedin is its Scottish connection has resulted in the city producing some the finest whisky on the planet.

You should visit Dunedin because the Midwinter Carnival features a chocolate jaffa race on the world’s steepest street.


5. Nelson

Nelson is famous because of its local art and craft stores, the slightly eccentric World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum, and the backdrop of the Tasman Mountains.

Kiwis love Nelson so much because of the kilometres of white sand that makes up Tahunanui Beach.

One of the best kept secrets in Nelson is the sunset over the sea. It will take your breath away.

You should visit Nelson because it’s literally the Centre of New Zealand. There’s a plaque on top of a forested hill that tells you so.


4. Queenstown

Queenstown is famous because it’s ground zero for commercial bungee jumping, and it’s New Zealand’s ski capital.

Kiwis love Queenstown so much because you can jump from great heights, swing hundreds of metres through the air, speed through the forest on a zipline, go canyoning in the wilderness, and whizz down mountains on skis.

One of the best kept secrets in Queenstown is the Queenstown Hill Time Walk. This 1.5 km uphill trek takes you from downtown Queenstown, through a pine forest with information boards outlining the history of the region, and up to a mountain look out with far-reaching views.

You should visit Queenstown because of the nearby ski resorts of Cardrona, The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Triple Cone.


3. Christchurch

Christchurch is famous because of its parks and gardens, the civilised pastime of flat-bottom punting by boat along the Avon River, and the fact that it’s pulling itself up by the boot straps after those devastating earthquakes.

Kiwis love Christchurch so much because of the post-quake street art that decorates the city, and the Cardboard Cathedral that is a temporary replacement for the old cathedral that was destroyed. It’s literally made out of cardboard, as well as steel and wood.

One of thebest kept secrets in Christchurch is Quake City, in the Canterbury Museum. It’s a devastating exhibition about the damage anearthquake can do to a city and its community.

You should visit Christchurch because it’s also a gateway to Arthur’s Pass National Park, with its beech-forest paths and alpine hiking trails.


2. Wellington

Wellington is famous because it’s the capital of New Zealand. Hurrah. Even though most people outside of New Zealand think Auckland is.

Kiwis love Wellington so much because it’s a compact capital with delightful wooden houses, a historic cable car, and the story of New Zealand recounted at the Te Papa museum.

One of the best kept secrets in Wellington is Weta Workshop, a mini museum that celebrates the film making experience. Lord of the Rings fans will love it.

You should visit Wellington because the ‘Windy City’ will blow the cobwebs out, if the bars and restaurants fail to do it.


1. Auckland

Auckland is famous because  it’s the ‘big smoke’ harbour city with plenty of nightlife and lovely beaches.

Kiwis love Auckland so much because you get the conveniences of the big city with easy access to pretty offshore islands, like Waiheke Island (with its wineries and olive groves).

One of the best kept secrets about Auckland is Rotoroa Island. It’s a short ferry trip from downtown Auckland. There are pleasant walking trails, dazzling beaches, and plenty of weka birds walking around.

You should visit Auckland because it ranks as the most popular destination for Kiwis in New Zealand. So it must be doing something right. 


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