Interesting Cities in New Zealand

Small Towns in New Zealand

All the most interesting things in New Zealand are hidden from the average tourist. The isolation of the state and the “secrecy” of its small towns are the main features of New Zealand. There are many beautiful lagoons, bays, fjords. The craters of extinct volcanoes hide lakes of extraordinary beauty. The natural richness of New Zealand is due to its geographical location, which allows you to rank it among the most interesting countries in the world.

Top 5 smallest cities in New Zealand

  1. Nelson – 445 square kilometers
  2. Fangarei – 133 square kilometers
  3. New Plymouth – 109 square kilometers
  4. Napeer – 106 square kilometers
  5. Gisborne – 85 square kilometers

And separately from the list, consider one of the most popular resorts – Rotorua – 89 square kilometers

Nelson is a typical small country town

The city is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who arrived here several centuries ago. Scientists have found that the area was inhabited by the natives in ancient times. Presumably, the first settlements appeared at the time of the IX century. The constant wars with its neighbors had a negative impact on the life of the population, which was forced to leave their homes.

In Nelson you can relax, admire the beautiful promenade and harbor, the mighty cliffs, stretching for 13 kilometers. There is a wonderful zoo with interesting inhabitants. The city has very few attractions. But you can visit the Cathedral Church of Christ, which appeared in 1965. Nelson is famous for the festival of arts, as well as the museum, the exposition of which shows applied art.

Fangarei is a small town with an interesting history

Fangarei was originally a thriving Maori settlement. The Maori tribes actively feuded with each other, but with the arrival of Europeans the situation began to change. At first the Maori refused to accept new settlers, but gradually the Europeans found a common language with the aborigines, which allowed the creation of Fangarei.

At the beginning of XX century, this small town became prosperous thanks to oil refining, fertilizers and glass production. Now tourism is actively developing here. Travelers love the local beaches for their clean sand and beautiful sea. There is a whole list of sights to choose from:

  • the historical museum;
  • museum of fine arts;
  • rose garden;
  • a marine reserve.
Unknown island nations of Oceania

Fangarei is still one of the most developed settlements in New Zealand.

Gisborne is a Maori town

Gisborne is one of the small towns of New Zealand. It is practically dominated by the Maori population. It is Gisborne that will be the best destination for travelers wishing to explore Aboriginal culture. The locals focus on agriculture and forestry.

Raising animals, creating gardens, and growing grapes remain the main occupations. Gisborne is in a region where the best grapes for making wines are grown. The town’s location allows it to attract thousands of tourists. Beautiful beaches and lakes with clear water attract travelers from all over the world. Even the Maori themselves call Gisborne the place where the sun shines on the water. Local beverages are exported from here and can be purchased at low prices.

New Plymouth – City and Port

It is hard to call New Plymouth small compared to other New Zealand cities. However, less than 100 thousand people still live here.

Europeans first came here by 1841. New Plymouth is considered one of the first regular settlements in the country. Oil and gas are produced here, and dairy farming is developed. Thanks to the deep-water port, large ships can call. New Plymouth is lined with gardens and parks and is one of the most exotic cities in the world. Its territory is covered with volcanic rock of the extinct volcano Taranaki. The multitude of lakes and artificial fountains built attracts thousands of photographers. Come here for the spectacular street concerts and festivals that take place in August, September and October. It is New Plymouth that has the most to say about Maori culture.

Napeer – Hawkes Bay Centre

Napier is located on the shores of Hawkes Bay. The town is a transportation hub for cargo (mostly fruit, wool, timber, and meat). Important chemical and electronics manufacturing organizations are located here.

Tourists can look at the beautiful structures. Almost all travelers tend to look at the Pania Coral Reefs, a beautiful statue that is located on one of the streets of Napier. The architectural look of the city is represented by Art Deco buildings. New Zealanders love to come here for the wine festival, and also nearby is Hastings, where there are also many interesting sights.

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Rotorua – City and Lakes

Rotorua is located near the lakes and is inhabited by about 70 thousand people. Thanks to the area of geothermal activity, the city has been able to develop as a center of recreational tourism. New Zealanders love Rotorua for its beautiful lakes and geysers. Recreation industry is at a high level here, a small resort can compete in service with the largest and most popular global spa-centers.

The climate in Rotorua is almost perfect, the temperature in summer does not exceed 25 degrees Celsius, and in winter it never drops below 15 degrees Celsius. The weather remains sunny for 2117 hours a year. From Rotorua you can get to Mokoia, a small island located almost in the middle of the lake. This is a Maori preserve, where you can see the aboriginal habitat.

New Zealand is a beautiful country. Its small and small towns will be a real discovery for every traveler who seeks to enrich his or her travel experience. Friendly people, picturesque places and gastronomic diversity, including exquisite wines, are waiting for everyone who wants to find their “tourist happiness”.

The 12 Most Interesting Cities in New Zealand

New Zealand’s stunning scenery welcomes you almost everywhere you look. The coastal towns are nestled amongst striking natural attractions and are truly breathtaking. They are surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, and bordered by lakes, rivers and islands. There are also plenty of incredible outdoor activities in New Zealand’s best cities for you to take part in. Away from the adrenaline ziplines and rafting, New Zealand has fantastic festivals and cultural events, as well as museums and galleries to explore. Everyone will find something to do here, according to their preferences.

Here are the 12 most interesting cities in New Zealand.

The 12 most interesting cities in New Zealand

12. New Plymouth

New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki on the horizon

New Plymouth and Mount Taranaki on the horizon

New Plymouth is a picturesque port town surrounded by vast farmland, with stunning Mount Taranaki overlooking the horizon. It has a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere and a thriving arts and culture scene, with several vibrant concerts and festivals throughout the year.

There are plenty of excellent cafes and restaurants, along with some delightful beaches and surf spots. Don’t miss the nearby spectacular Mt Egmont National Park either.

11. Tauranga

The city of Tauranga

City of Tauranga

Now (2020) the fifth largest city in the country, Tauranga has been steadily growing over the years as retirees and young families alike flock here in search of cheaper housing. While its busy port, refineries and busy streets mean it may not be the prettiest of cities, its beautiful beaches and lively waterfront definitely make it a good place to stop.

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The unique Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, with its fantastic restaurants and bars, is a stunning place with a world-class beach. Visitors can also head to nearby White Island, a stunning live volcano that is worth a visit.

10. City of Whangarei

Natural Wonders Around Whangarei

Natural Wonders Around Whangarei

Set in a beautiful location, Whangarei is the only town in the very north of New Zealand; it’s the gateway to the amazing natural wonders all around. The town has a laid-back atmosphere and things are slowly changing; a new art museum, shopping center and restaurant complex have opened, and there are some great bars and cafes around town.

While there are plenty of fabulous beaches around Fangarei to relax on, most people head to the Poor Knights Islands for some fantastic scuba diving, or head to, the delightfully scenic, Bay of Islands.

9. Hamilton

The City of Hamilton in New Zealand

The City of Hamilton in New Zealand

Situated on the banks of the beautiful Waikato River, Hamilton is a North Island town that is a pleasant place to visit, although it lacks the stunning ambience of many other New Zealand towns. But it does have some interesting attractions, such as the excellent Waikato Museum and the quiet Hamilton Gardens.

With a large university population, Hamilton offers many great bars, restaurants, and cafes, as well as many fantastic festivals held here throughout the year. Not far from Hamilton, there are many great attractions to visit – Lord of the Rings fans will definitely want to head to Matamata, where they can visit the real Shire!

8. City of Napier

Napier Art Deco. New Zealand Napier Art Deco

Reminiscent of a rich seaside town in England, Napier is a charming place to relax with a romantic atmosphere. Its fantastic collection of Art Deco buildings with beautiful 1930’s facades and several delightful streets interspersed with great restaurants and atmospheric cafes.

There are some great beaches not far from the city, as well as a fantastic aquarium to visit. Wonderful wineries near the city are also worth a visit.

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7. City of Nelson

The city of Nelson. New Zealand

City of Nelson. New Zealand

One of the best places to live in New Zealand, Nelson’s stunning coastal location sandwiched between two mountain ranges also makes it a fantastic city to visit. It’s a great place to spend time: Nelson’s charming environs are seductively juxtaposed with a trendy art scene, great breweries and plenty of delightful restaurants.

Explore the many wineries on offer and the stunning natural wonders of Abel Tasman National Park. Beautiful beaches, sparkling lakes and mountains are seductively within reach.

6. Dunedin

The city of Dunedin


The Scottish heritage of Dunedin, known as “Edinburgh of the South,” is immediately apparent; you’re greeted by the Victorian railroad, as well as numerous statues and monuments to famous Scotsmen. Dunedin, the oldest university in New Zealand, is a young place with a vibrant atmosphere, lots of great bars and a bustling nightlife.

Beautiful Victorian buildings dot the town, which is quite picturesque given its advantageous location around the port. From here, you can easily explore the surrounding Otago Peninsula.

5. The City of Wellington

The city of Wellington, New Zealand's capital city

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.

Wellington is beautifully situated in the harbor with the mountains surrounding it. It is the picturesque capital of the country and certainly lives up to its nickname “The Windy City”. Beautiful wooden buildings slide down the slopes of the mountains to the waterfront, and visitors can enjoy fantastic culture and art with wonderful museums, galleries and theaters.

The lower North Island has thriving cafes and craft breweries. Quality restaurants and a vibrant nightlife make Wellington a great place to visit or live.

4. The City of Rotorua

City of Rotorua Rotorua Caldera

Located on the shores of the lake after which it is named, Rotorua is famous for its fabulous hot springs and geysers that are everywhere. Located in the heart of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, the city is the North Island’s most popular tourist destination-its streets are constantly clouded with steam and spray, and a heavy smell of sulfur hangs in the air.

While its parks and reserves are home to gorges, cracks and lakes, the considerable Maori population enlivens the city with its art, culture and history. Although the restaurants and bars are nothing special, this volcanic landscape, with its fantastic natural wonders and many outdoor activities, makes Rotorua a mesmerizing city to visit.

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3. Queenstown


Queenstown in New Zealand

In addition to its stunning location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the spectacular mountains surrounding Queenstown make it one of the most beautiful, in terms of scenery, in the entire country. While it is certainly blessed in terms of scenic beauty, the town also has a fantastic art scene for visitors, delightful bars with restaurants, and also features quite a few excellent vineyards around town.

Most people visit Queenstown, however, because it is known as the “adventure capital of the world”-there are more than 220 activities that raise the hair of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether it’s skiing, bungee jumping or ziplining, paragliding or mountaineering, Queenstown has it all. Its amazing natural wonders are the perfect place to get your blood boiling day after day.

2. Christchurch



A charming city that is the largest on the South Island, Christchurch is currently recovering from the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 that destroyed many of its buildings. New buildings and businesses are opening all the time, and the buzz around the place makes it a vibrant city.

This pleasant green place, known as the Garden City, offers you many parks, museums, and galleries to visit. Christchurch’s beaches on the Pacific Ocean and the large population of Pacific Islanders with a very English atmosphere give it a peculiar touch. Here you can hot air balloon, go rafting or hike in the nearby countryside.


The city of Auckland. New Zealand

The city of Auckland. New Zealand

Auckland is one of the best places in the world to live in terms of quality of life, as well as New Zealand’s largest city and the first point of entry for most people.

On the outskirts of the city, lush fields stretch to the horizon. Auckland, known as the “City of Sails,” because its surrounding waters are full of yachts and sailing boats, while skyscrapers rise impressively right on the shoreline and many small islands are close to the shore.

A tranquil place with a provincial atmosphere, Auckland is actually the largest Polynesian city in the world.

The city has trendy stores, fantastic beaches and many great restaurants and bars. Any of its volcanic peaks offer spectacular views. Hot springs, rainforest preserves, and great wineries near the city don’t leave visitors indifferent.

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