New Zealand national parks in Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel List

New Zealand has 13 of the world’s best travel experiences, according to Lonely Planet's "Ultimate Travel List".

Milford Sound, credit: Graeme Murray
As the name suggests, the list (released this month as a coffee table book) features 500 of the most “thrilling, memorable, downright interesting places on this planet”, as ranked by Lonely Planet travel writers.

New Zealand's top three experiences are all to be found in national parks.

Fiordland, described as a trip back in time to a Jurassic "landscape of the giants" made it into the top 30, as New Zealand's highest placed experience. 

Here's a bit more on New Zealand's top ranking experiences to help you plan your clients' future escape to our awe-inspiring outdoors: 

#29 Fiordland National Park

One of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand; the power of Fiordland's scenery never fails to captivate travellers. This remarkable natural environment features stunning fiords, spectacular waterfalls and snow-capped peaks.


Milford Sound – Your clients can easily access Milford Sound via a coach journey through the glacier-carved wilderness of the country’s largest national park, followed by a cruise in the fiords. Alternatively they can fly in by helicopter, or take a scenic flight and cruise.

Doubtful Sound – Your clients can lose themselves in Doubtful Sound’s pristine wilderness on a daytime or overnight cruise, or get even closer in a sea kayak. Tell them to keep their eyes peeled for bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and the Fiordland crested penguin.

Walking and hiking – Three of New Zealand’s Great Walks can be found in the vast wilderness of the Fiordland National Park – the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks. Guided multi-day walks and day trips can be arranged for those clients looking for a shorter or more comfortable options.

#72 Abel Tasman National Park

Here, inviting sandy beaches fill the spaces between trees and tide line. Crystal clear streams tumble down mossy valleys to join the ocean. Granite and marble formations fringe the headlands, which are cloaked in regenerating native forest.


 In New Zealand’s only coastal national park, your clients can go on a guided hike, cruisesail a catamarankayak or just relax on a golden-sand beach. They can stay overnight in a luxury lodge, a simple DOC hut or even a tent.

#80 Aoraki/ Mt Cook National Park

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is home of the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense - with skyscraping peaks, glaciers and permanent snow fields, all set under a star-studded sky.


There are outdoor activities for all fitness levels in the park – from mountaineering and ice climbing to walking and hiking, magnificent scenic flights and landings on snow and ice, cycling and stargazing. 

The mighty Tasman Glacier is one of the world’s most accessible glaciers. While it slowly carves its way down the mountain, it provides a landing place for small ski planes and helicopters. Visitors can experience the surreal, milky terminal lake and its icebergs on a Glacier Explorer inflatable (October to May).

Find out more about adventures on Aoraki/Mount Cook.

We offer tailored content for your location