Landmarks in New Zealand

Here you will read about the most famous Landmarks in New Zealand. We will share interesting and fun facts about the most popular attractions in New Zealand - actually this page is not only for kids but for all who want to know more about New Zealand's most famous landmarks.

landmarks in new zealand

New Zealand offers fascinating landscapes on North Island and South Island. Some parts of the country can be easily compared to Switzerland or Norway, others resemble the green pastures in Scotland or Ireland, and then not to forget the subtropical flora that grows in the rainforests of New Zealand. There are so many unique landmarks and sights you will be amazed!

Now let us share with you the top 10 landmarks in New Zealand that everybody should have heard about.

10 Landmarks in New Zealand 

1. Rotorua's Pōhutu Geysers

New Zealand is known for geysers and hot springs. The most famous geyser is Pōhutu which also is the largest geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. This geyser is located in the city of Rotorua on North Island.

new zealand pohutu geyserPōhutu geyser

Pōhutu is just one of the 65 geysers and over 500 hot springs in the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and the Te Puia Reserve, but the largest and most active.

The Maōri name Pōhutu means "big splash" or "explosion".

The Pōhutu geyser explodes with a 30 m/ 100 ft high sulphurous stream about 15 times per day and each explosion lasts up about ten minutes. The nearby bubbling mud puddles, silica formations and multicolour hot springs are not less impressive.

The living Maōri village of Te Whakarewarewa, the Te Puia Maori experience which includes Pōhiri (welcome), traditional songs, dance and haka as well as the Kiwi Conservation Center are must visits as well.

2. Wai-o-Tapu
- Landmarks in New Zealand -

Another fabulous place to admire the fascinating geothermal features and volcanic landscapes is Waio-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland between Rotorua and Taupo on North Island.

new zealand waiotapuWai-o-tapu multicoloured hot springs

The Maōri word wai-o-tapu means 'sacred waters'. The geothermal area is famous for the Champagne Pool as well as the many other colourful boiling, steaming and bubbling pools. The mud pool of Wai-o-Tapu is the largest mud pool in New Zealand and was created through an volcanic eruption in 1929.

The Geothermal Wonderland also houses Lady Know Geyser which regularly blows up fountains that reach up to 20 m/ 66 ft in height.

3. Sky Tower in Auckland

New Zealand's largest city Auckland houses the iconic Sky Tower which is one of the country's most famous landmarks.

new zealand sky tower aucklandAuckland's Sky Tower

The communication and observation tower is 328 m/ 1,076 ft tall and has three levels of observation decks. With good weather conditions one can see as far as 80 km/ 50 miles and even take a glimpse of up to 53 volcanoes from the observation decks.

The iconic tower is part of a huge entertainment complex and was built between 1994 and 1997. The tower was constructed to withstand winds of up to 200 km/h or 120mph or an earthquake with magnitude of 8.0.

4. Aoraki or Mount Cook

Aoraki, also called Mount Cook, is the highest mountain of New Zealand. The third tallest mountain of Oceania region is located on South Island and is 3,754 m/ 12,316 ft high.

new zealand mount cookMount Cook/ Aoraki

Since 1998 both names, the aboriginal Maōri name as well as the English name, are officially recognised.

Āoraki is the indigenous name which originates from the Ngāu Tahu people who were the first settlers in the area. The name 'Mount Cook' was given in honour of Captain James Cook by explorer J.L. Stokes in 1851.

In Aoraki/Mount Cook national parks there are 19 peaks that are higher than 3,000 m/ 9,842 ft! Glaciers cover about 40% of the park.

Sir Edmund Hillary used to train on the mountain before he ascended Mount Everest. However, to the Ngāu Tahu people this mountain is sacred and should not be climbed on.

5. Milford Sound

One of the most visited sites in Oceania is Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island. Milford Sound is referred to as 'Piopiotahi' in the language of the indigenous Maori people. 

new zealand milford sound mitre peakMilford Sound and Mitre Peak

Milford Sound is a fjord that runs about 15 km/ 9 miles inland from the Tasman Sea and is part of Fjordland National Park.

Two of the peaks that surround the fjord are called 'The Elephant' and 'The Lion' for their resemblance to an elephant's head and a crouching lion.

The tallest waterfalls in New Zealand are the Sutherland Falls and they are also in Milford Sound. The Sutherland waterfalls are amongst the tallest in the world with a height of 580 m/ 1,900 ft.

A spectacular sight at Milford Sound are the Bowen waterfalls that are 162 m/ 531 ft high and they can be admired on a sound cruise.

milford sound bowen fallsBowen Falls in Milford Sound

6. Moeraki Boulders

The Moeraki boulders are large rounded boulders that are located along the Otago coastline on South Island.

There are many groups of spherical boulders along the coastline that range in size from 0.5 m/ 1.6 ft up to 2.2 m/ 7.2 ft. Most boulders are large and very impressive.

new zealand moeraki bouldersMoeraki boulders

The grey coloured boulders have surfaced due to coastal erosion. They are composed of mud, silt and clay and the mineral calcite. The magnesium and iron content of the so-called concretions is evidence that these huge stones were formed by marine mud on the seafloor about 60 million years ago. It took about 5 million years that these boulders reached their size while up to 50 m/ 164 ft of marine mud covered them over the years.

According to the Maōri legend, these boulders are the remains of huge calabash (squash) that washed ashore from a sunken canoe.

Similar boulders are also found on Kotou near Hokianga on North Island. There, some boulders even reach hight up to 3 m/ 10 ft.

7. Huka Falls

The Huka Falls are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River which is New Zealand's longest river.

North of Lake Taupō, the river is about 100 m/ 328 ft wide, but is narrowed down a ravine with several falls through volcanic rock. At the narrowest part the falls are  only 15 m/ 50 ft. wide.

The waterfalls as such are not tall, at the highest falls they are a mere 11 m/ 36 ft high, however, the nature's force is tremendous. Usually more than 220,000 litres of water rush down the falls every second and land in a wide pool.

New Zealand Huka FallsHuka Falls

The waterfalls are part of a regional hydro system and the speed and amount of water rushing down the falls can be regulated.

8. Beehive in Wellington

The well-known landmark of the capital city Wellington is the Beehive. The Beehive is part of New Zealand's parliament building. The shape of one of the wings of the parliament reminds of a traditional woven beehive.

new zealand beehive parliament buildingBeehive and parliament buildings

The Beehive building is 72 m/236 ft high and has ten storeys. New Zealand's ministers have their offices in this building and cabinet meetings take place on the top floor of the Beehive.

Basil Spence, a renowned Scottish architect, designed the original building. The Beehive is one of the features on New Zealand's 20-Dollar banknote.

The building is one of the most easily recognised building in New Zealand and also one of the most iconic parliament buildings in the world.

9. Ruapehu

Ruapehu, the largest active volcano of New Zealand is located in Tongariro National Park on South Island.

Two of New Zealand's most famous ski areas, Whakapapa and Tūroa, are located on the flanks of this mountain.

new zealand mount ruapehuMount Ruapehu

Ruapehu is a stratovolcano and is located on the Central Plateau. There is still an active vent beneath the crater lake. Volcanic activity is monitored closely but only minor eruptions are expected.

The volcano is part of Tongariro National park which is famous for the alpine hiking trail 'Tongariro Crossing' that passes stunning volcanic landscape.

new zealand tongariro crossingTongariro Crossing

10. Lake Taupō

Lake Taupō is the largest lake in New Zealand and the whole region is known for awesome landscape views.

Taupō is actually located in the caldera of Taupo volcano on North Island. The whole region was struck by volcanic eruption over two thousand years ago. Today, the region is a major tourism attraction in New Zealand with Tongariro National Park to the South of Taupō and the geothermal boiling mud pools in the 'Craters of the Moon' to the North of Taupō.

lake taupo new zealandLake Taupo

Lastly, there is an unique and iconic Maōri rock carving at Mine Bay of Lake Taupō that is a major attraction. This modern rock carving is especially fascinating as it teaches people about the Maōri heritage and culture.

The 10 m/ high face was sculpted into the rock in the 1970s by local master carver Mahari Brightwell who named his artwork after Ngatoroirangi, a visionary navigator in Maōri culture. The huge rock carving took Mahari over four years to carve. It can only be visited by boat or kayak.

Extra - Last but not least: Hobbiton

Last but not least, many of you will have heard of Hobbiton, the home of the hobbits is in New Zealand. The movie set in Matamata is the location for the 'Middle of Earth'. 

new zealand hobbitonHobbiton

The trilogy of the fantasy novel 'Lord of the Rings' by J. R. R. Tolkien was filmed here and there is a huge theme park for fans and several tours are offered to visitors.

Landmarks in New Zealand
Useful Resources

  • Te Whakarewarewa. "Geology of Whakarewarewa." Whakarewarewa. Last accessed 24 February 2023
  • Te Puia. "Te Ra + Haka." Last accessed 24 February 2023
  • Skycity. "Skytower." SkyCityAuckland. Last accessed 24 February 2023
  • Ruapehu Alpine Lifts. "About Mt Ruapehu". MtRuapehu. Last accessed 24 February 2023
  • New Zealand Tourism. "Taupo". NewZealand. Last accessed 24 February 2023

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