New Zealand is famed worldwide for its stunning scenery and otherworldly beauty - throw a stone in any direction, it seems, and you’ll hit a breathtaking vista. But with so much to see and do, some visitors find it difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately, those who are looking to experience the sights and sensations of Godzone have just received a helping hand.
Travel website TripAdvisor recently released its community-chosen 2015 Travellers’ Choice selections, among which is a guide to the Top 10 New Zealand landmarks. "The Travellers' Choice Landmarks highlight some of the world's most iconic, must-see attractions that have won over the TripAdvisor community," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "Travellers can experience colourful history and culture at these award-winning sights."
What you need to see
Coming in at number one was the Sky Tower, an iconic feature of Auckland’s skyline. And while Auckland’s needle shaped landmark may not be exactly steeped in history (construction wrapped up on the structure less than 20 years ago) the rest of the featured locations more than make up for that.
Taking out spots two and three respectively are the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and the Katiki Lighthouse, both of which are well worth a visit for those wanting to gain an insight into New Zealand’s origins. The treaty grounds, located about 3 hours drive north of Auckland in the picturesque Bay of Islands, is the place where Māori chiefs first signed their accord with the British Crown - the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document - in 1840. Whether you’re just having a look around the historic site or opt for one of the guided tours that shed light on the story and circumstances surrounding the treaty, it’s no surprise that this spot made it to the top three. Katiki Lighthouse, on the other hand, is a completely different experience. Located on the beautiful east coast of the South Island, about an hour’s drive north of Dunedin, it’s less about the history (although the lighthouse has been warning voyagers away from dangerous reefs since 1878) and more about the wildlife. Seals, dolphins and even yellow-eyed penguins can be seen here at no cost to the budget savvy traveller - although there is a donation box to help with the upkeep.
How to see it
For those who are tempted to get a taste of the real New Zealand, there’s no better option than finding yourself some wheels and experiencing the nation roadtrip style. A favourite option for Kiwis who are looking to soak in all that the country has to offer is renting a campervan and setting out on the open road with no hard and fast itinerary. This allows far more flexibility and freedom when it comes to deciding exactly how to enjoy the numerous sights and landmarks New Zealand.
From the bush encompassed Pompallier Mission and Printery in the far north to Balclutha’s magnificently wild Nugget Point in the far south, this Top 10 Landmarks list is proof once more that the only real way to get the most out of New Zealand is to abandon tour buses and set itineraries, and embark on your own journey of discovery.
Motorhome Republic has a range of NZ campervan hire options. Popular pickup locations include Auckland and Christchurch.