New Zealand is a place often looked over when travelers think of going to a new place.
New Zealand isn’t just all “Lord of the Rings” and no play, it’s also a sand destination full of beaches, impressive architecture and a lot of history.
Let’s not forget about the giant mountains, beautiful hiking scenery, and exotic animals on this remote island nation.
We recommend driving to all of these locations to save time, but if you want to save on costs, invest in a campervan.
Visit the Penguins and Albatross in Dunedin
What’s better than looking at cute penguins waddle around? How about seeing the bird with the largest wing to body span in the world?
The Royal Albatross Centre in Dunedin is a sanctuary that protects these majestic birds. Within the same centre is home to Little Blue Penguins, which are the smallest penguins in the world.
If you take the tour at dusk, you’ll be able to see the penguins coming back from their daily fishing.
Go to a New Zealand Casino
Gaming in different countries can be a tricky task, but it’s possible to gamble in a brick and mortar location, as well as gamble online.
There are online casinos for New Zealand players where you can try “pokies” (Zealand slang for slot machine). There are six casinos in New Zealand, 4 of which go by the “Skycity” name, which the other two are the “Dunedin Casino” and the “Christchurch Casino.”
See New Zealand’s Castle
Yes, New Zealand has a castle and it’s in the Catlins. The cool thing about this castle is how modern it looks compared to the ones from Europe. Check out this awesome video for a quick guided tour.
It has a baroque, French feel like the buildings from New Orleans. After taking a tour of the beautiful castle, there are tons of other things to do nearby.
Guess what, more penguins! See the yellow-eyed penguins near Curio Bay, and the wonder of Nugget Point.
If you like hiking, you’ll love the hiking that New Zealand has to offer. We could just talk about the classic wilderness hiking, but the glacier hiking is something to behold.
The most impressive hiking spots are Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, located on South Island near the West Coast. Check out Meggie Kay’s experience of hiking Franz Josef Glacier below.
You used to be able to hike all the way to the top, but the deterioration of the glaciers has made it difficult to climb. Instead, take a helicopter up to the top.
You’ll get to see a giant iceberg from on top of the mountain!
Go to Hobbiton
You know it had to be on the list. On the northern part of the island, you can visit the set of Hobbiton from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.
You can actually step in the buildings and homes, how cool is that? You’ll be transported into Middle Earth! You aren’t just limited to the hobbit homes, you can also go get a drink at the tavern, or prance along the pumpkin fields.
There’s also an awesome gift shop at the end of the tour. You can read our full review of Hobbiton here.
Go to the Famous Squid/ Ice Cream Shop
If you like to look at sea life, take a look at the biggest one ever found in the sea. The Wellingston’s Te Papa Museum has this colossal squid that’s over 470kg.
It was captured in the Antarctic ocean in 2007, and is now considered a New Zealand icon.
Giapo, one of New Zealand’s most beloved ice cream shops, adds this giant squid into many of their ice creams.
Giapo’s Auckland store is full of well-thought out, delectable yummies that use cow’s milk, and vegan milks in their creations.
We recommend seeing one right after the other. After all, walking around a museum takes a lot of energy.