Discover New Zealand's National Parks

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New Zealand National Parks

New Zealand is the world's youngest country and is home to some of the most untouched environments around. In fact, an impressive one third of the country is covered with National Parks..

There are a total of 14 National Parks spanning the North and South Islands of New Zealand. However some stand out above the rest so we've narrowed it down to the Top 10 and ordered them according to their "must-see" status.

Here are New Zealand's Top 10 National Parks

10. Egmont National Park

Positioned around the perfectly formed volcano of Mount Taranaki, Egmont National Park lures visitors with its enchanting beauty and unique plant system. Nestled in forests of rimu and rata trees, this park offers a fantastic track system and a wide range of accommodation options.

9. Westland/Tai Poutini

Known as the home to New Zealand's most beautiful glaciers - Fox and Franz Josef - Westland is bordered by pristine rainforest, the Southern Alps and eventually the Tasman Sea. It is a bird lover's paradise, but the primary reason to visit is, and perhaps always will be, the glaciers.

8. Whanganui

Comprised primarily of the beautiful Whanganui River, Whanganui National Park has a very distinctive landscape of river valley systems, with steep slopes, razor sharp ridges and an almost complete cover of native lowland forest. The river spans an impressive 329 kilometres, eventually winding its way to the Tasman Sea, and is one of New Zealand's most prominent waterways.

7. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

The Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is home to skyscraping peaks, glorious glaciers and permanent snow fields. It is also home to New Zealand's tallest mountain, which stands tall amongst 23 other peaks. This National Park is regarded by climbers as the best climbing region in Australasia.

6. Mount Aspiring National Park

This National Park is a natural wonder that is characterised by its never-ending mountains, gorgeous glaciers, remarkable river valleys and unsurpassed alpine lakes. The breathtaking landscapes here will leave you inspired with awe!

5. Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park may be New Zealand's smallest, but it is easily one of the country's most beautiful. Nestled on the shores of the Tasman Sea, this park is bursting with endless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, swimming, sun bathing and snorkeling, making it an ideal coastal holiday escape.

4. Arthur's Pass National Park

Arthur's Pass National Park is known for its wide, shingle-filled river beds and vast beech forests. It is also home to sections of the Southern Alps, making it a place of dramatic landscapes and scenic vistas.

3. Kahurangi National Park

Home to some of the oldest rocks, strangest plants and rarest birds in New Zealand, Kahurangi National Park also boasts subtropical rainforest, tussock high country, river valleys and dramatic coastlines. It is also home to the Heaphy Track, which is regarded as one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

2. Te Urewera National Park

Te Urewera is one of New Zealand's largest National Parks and is positioned around the beautiful Lake Waikaremoana. This park protects the largest area of native forest remaining on the North Islands and boasts an incredible array of walking tracks and wildlife spotting opportunities.

1. Fiordland National Park

Coming in at Number 1, Fiordland National Park is a must-see while visiting New Zealand's South Island. The Fiords of this park tower above magnificent waterways and are often snow-capped. Highlights include Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, with the Milford Sound Great Walk an undeniable must-do.

Christine Barton