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GO Explorers name best holiday destinations in New Zealand


Way back in March, TripAdvisor published their findings, naming the top holiday destinations in New Zealand and the world. Seeing as we are approaching the summer season and the time of year when Kiwis and international visitors alike start to plan their holidays, we thought we’d see what our GO Explorers thought.

Trip Advisor definitely knows what they are talking about when it comes to holiday destinations. They used an algorithm which looked at the quantity and quality of the reviews for restaurants, hotels and attractions in each destination over a 12 month period. We decided to keep things a bit more simple.

We thought we’d take the science out of it and go with the love! So, we just asked our GO Explore fans what they thought. Who knows better than the people that are travelling around our beautiful country? We concluded there was no one!

So, without further ado, here is the GO Explorers Top Ten Holiday Destinations in New Zealand.

1.      Paihia

So, there’s a lot of love out there for Paihia and the Bay of Islands. We had so many of our GO Explorers recommended Paihia as a must-visit destination that we simply had to include it. Here’s what some of New Zealand’s best tour guides had to say:

Bay of Islands Complete Guide

2.      Queenstown

Image of the Skyline Luge track in Queenstown with Lake Wakitipu in the backdrop

Queenstown is another place that feels the love from our GO Explorers all year round. Whether you visit for the skiing in the winter or the tramping in the summer, it’s a truly stunning place all year round. Here are a couple of our favourite comments:

Queenstown Complete Guide

3.      Mt Maunganui/Tauranga

Image of the beach at Tauranga with Mount Maunganui in the background

We are definitely starting to hear more and more about this stunning coastal town. In the past, a lot of visitors to NZ opted to take a central route through the North Island taking in Taupo and Rotorua, but more and more people are heading over to the east coast and it’s easy to see why.

Mt Maunganui/Tauranga Complete Guide

4.      Wanaka

At the top of Roy's Peak in Wanaka

At the top of Roy’s Peak in Wanaka

Often overlooked by its rowdy neighbour Queenstown, Wanaka is a stunner of a place to visit. Enjoying all of the same amazing scenery as Queenstown but without the masses of people, this super laid back town is a favourite with Kiwis and tourists alike.

5.      Napier/East Cape

Tologa Bay Wharf on the East Cape

Tologa Bay Wharf on the East Cape

So we cheated on this one a little bit! We had loads of people recommending Napier but quite a lot of love for the East Cape so we decided to tag the two together! Along with Mt Maunganui, it’s becoming a lot more popular for travellers to take a route down the east coast and you will be rewarded with some stunning coastal scenery, some fantastic wine (if that floats your boat) and some of the nicest people in New Zealand. What are you waiting for?

Hawke’s Bay Complete Guide

6.      Auckland


Views of Auckland

Views of Auckland

Auckland seems to split opinion here in New Zealand, however, there is no denying that it’s right up there when it comes to cities of the world. The waterfront city centre has so much appeal; from the stunning beaches to the cosmopolitan shopping to the wealth of dormant and extinct volcanoes to explore. We love Auckland and it seems like plenty of others do too!

Auckland Complete Guide

7.      Whitianga

Whitianga is a great place to base yourself on a trip to the Coromandel

Whitianga is a great place to base yourself on a trip to the Coromandel

It’s never easy to pick out a single destination on the Coromandel Peninsula, however, Whitianga came up time and time again so they made it into our list! There are heaps of amazing places within a short driving distance including Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and Hahei. Whitianga itself is a great spot – beautiful beaches, great places to eat out and a super laid back atmosphere. The perfect holiday destination.

Coromandel Peninsula Complete Guide

8.      Tutukaka Coast

Sandy Bay Beach Tutukaka Coast

Sandy Bay Beach Tutukaka Coast

A sneaky little entry into our top ten. The Tutukaka Coast is a bit of a hidden gem. Situated on the east coast heading north out of Auckland and into Northland there are some truly amazing white sandy beaches, some great surfing spots and some quality fishing – just ask one of our GO Explore fans!

9.      Nelson/Abel Tasman

Image of people kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park with crystal clear waters and golden sandy beaches

Another absolute classic New Zealand holiday destination is Nelson and perhaps more specifically, the Abel Tasman National Park. This place enjoys a lot of sunshine – it’s one of the sunniest places in NZ and the water here is just waiting to be explored. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water and hot sunny days are all the ingredients needed for an amazing holiday.

Nelson and Marlborough Complete Guide

10.      Waiheke Island

Exploring the vines on Waiheke Island

Exploring the vines on Waiheke Island

The final entry on our list is another absolute belter. Located just a short 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island may as well be on the other side of the world! As soon as you get off the ferry, you immediately leave all the hustle and bustle behind and kick into super-relaxed mode. This laid-back island is the perfect retreat for busy Aucklanders and visitors alike. From the beaches to the vineyards to the views – this place has it all.

So there you have it – the top ten holiday destinations in New Zealand according to our GO Explorers!

Have we missed off one of your favourites?

We’d love to hear from you so we can make sure we add it in the next time we’re looking at our top ten. Drop us a line in the comments or leave us a note on our Facebook page.

Thanks to all our amazing GO Explore fans for all your fantastic suggestions – you really do make a difference to people visiting New Zealand with all your amazing tips – we couldn’t do it without you!

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