The Seven Wonders of New Zealand

Ladies, gentlemen and Kiwis of all ages, it’s time to dust off our categorization of the Seven Wonders of World series, inspired by the New 7 Wonders contest years back, and take a close look at all that New Zealand offers! It’s no secret we find it a fascinating country (enough that we profiled it in our 8 Facts Series as well), and it’s beautiful too, with two World Heritage sites spread across the north and south islands—and a third located off the coast of New Zealand. There’s no shortage of cultural, natural, and urban things to do, so without further adieu, here’s our completely subjective list of the 7 Wonders of New Zealand.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound one of the seven wonders of New Zealand.
Milford Sound is absolutely one of the seven wonders of New Zealand.

Perhaps the most magnificent location in all of New Zealand, Milford Sound is technically a fjord. Viewing the sound is done via many boat tour operators which operate from the harbor. Day trips leave from Queenstown, which is the closest major city to Milford Sound. The Milford Track is also one of the most popular hiking trails in the country. The number of hikers on the track is limited to 40 per day. If you visit during a rainstorm, you can witness hundreds of waterfalls which will appear on the walls of the sound.

White Island

Known as Whakaari in the local Maori dialect, the name “White Island” came from Captain Cook, who thought it was always in a cloud of white steam. Located in the Bay of Plenty near the North Island, it’s an active volcano and was the former location of a sulfur mining operation which ended in disaster. Helicopter and boat trips to the island leave daily from Whakatane.

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

Fox Glacier seven wonders
Fox Glacier, one of the hands-down best wonders in New Zealand.

As the only glaciers in the Pacific, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers have the unique distinction of being the only glaciers in the world flowing into tropical forests. Only a 30 min drive from each other, the two glaciers can be accessed from the town of Franz Josef Glacier. Both glaciers are very accessible by walking, though it is not recommended to get too close because of dangers from falling ice. Also unlike many glaciers around the world, both glaciers have been advancing since the mid 1980s.

Poor Knights Islands

The Poor Knights were named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the 10 best dive locations in the world. He probably knew what he was talking about. Located in the north end of the North Island, the Poor Knights shows the diversity of the geography of New Zealand, as you can go diving in tropical waters one day and visit fjords and glaciers the next. The Poor Knights are a protected marine reserve. The Poor Knights are best accessed from Whangarei or Tutukaka, north of Auckland.


hot springs
Take a dip in the hot springs in Rotorua, a wonder you won’t soon forget.

Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal areas in the world. You can find boiling mud and pools of scalding water in the city parks. There are also geysers and geothermal spas nearby. You’ll know when you’re close to Rotorua because of the strong sulfur smell in the city. In addition to the geothermal attractions, Rotorua is also a hub for adventure tourism as well as watersports on Lake Rotorua. Rotorua’s hot springs are a wonder of the country worth exploring and can be reached in a days driving from Auckland.

Tongariro National Park

Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park

Home of the real Mount Doom and many of the landscapes from The Lord of the Rings, Tongariro National Park is home to three active volcanoes: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. The park has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tongariro Track is one of the most popular hiking destinations for backpackers in New Zealand, and Tongariro also has one of the most popular ski slopes in the country.

All Blacks

All Blacks Haka dance Rugby World Cup
All Blacks performing the Haka dance at the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

While not a traditional type of selection, the All Blacks are perhaps the sports team is most closely associated with a single country. The three most popular sports in New Zealand are rugby, rugby, and rugby. The All Blacks are the New Zealand national rugby union team and have been playing for over 100 years. The team name is believed to have come from a typo in a British newspaper who wanted to describe the Kiwis as all backs. Always ranked near top of world standings, they have sadly only won a single world cup. They are famous for the haka, a Maori war dance, which they perform before every match. Watch a video of the haka.

Read Next: 28 Unmissable Things to Do in New Zealand

Discover the other articles in Wonders of the World series—including the Seven Wonders of Japan.

8 thoughts on “The Seven Wonders of New Zealand”

  1. These surely are the top seven wonders of New Zealand, My list would definitely have Poor Kinights Islands at the top spot!! I just love that place!

  2. great list, mine would probably be

    1. Lake Taupo
    2. Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers
    3. Rotorua
    4. White Island
    5. Mt. Ruapehu
    6. Mt. Tarawera (R.I.P Pink & White Teraces)
    7. All of the great beaches on NZ's coast (e.g Piha, Muruwai)

  3. Thanks for this great overview. My wife and I have been saving up to take our real honeymoon to NZ for our five year anniversary, and this will be a great guide on things to see and do. Thanks!

  4. It's hard to find anything not to like about New Zealand. I think the thing I enjoy most are the Kiwis and their great sense of humor. Of course, I appreciate your dimples, too.
    Lyn Harris

  5. Hello Gary,

    Really amazing. I really appreciate your taste. You would have upload some videos too. Anyhow really great wonders.


  6. Looking at your travel score card, you have to many places. Just wonder how you survive ? You work at the same time ? How much is your cost ?

  7. Hi Gary,
    I'm sure I speak for 99.9% of kiwis here when I say thanks for not posting pictures of sheep
    and anything to do with Lord of the Rings.
    Cate :)

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