Peaks, sounds, parks and islands tops in Kiwi eyes

By Stuart Dye

Visiting Mitre Peak and Milford Sound is the country's No 1 "must-do" experience - but most Kiwis reckon there's no great reason to visit Parliament.

Or so says a 101 must-do list of the best sights, attractions and adventures on offer in New Zealand.

The Automobile Association five-month survey garnered 20,000 votes from the public which resulted in few surprises among the top choices such as Doubtful Sound, Bay of Islands, Fiordland and Abel Tasman National Park.

At the other end of the scale, Stonehenge Aotearoa in the Wairarapa and the Rugby Museum in Palmerston North rate just above the Beehive. And all of them rate lower than the Hundertwasser toilet in the Far North town of Kawakawa.

But those bringing up the rear should still count themselves fortunate. When the AA's search for the top must-do experience began in September, regional tourism organisations put forward more than 350 nominations. They were whittled down to 101 for the public vote.

And the final list is not all natural attractions. Proving that the great Kiwi holiday is alive and well, a camping holiday comes in at No 9.

Kiwis also like to eat and drink the local produce, voting fine wine and fabulous food as the 42nd must-do.

But history appears not to be at the top of most travel plans. Wellington's Te Papa is 63rd and Auckland Museum comes in at a distant 83rd.

The Waitangi Treaty Grounds rate even lower - coming in at 85, behind surf paradise Raglan but ahead of the skyjump at the Sky Tower.

The list will tie in with TV One's new domestic travel show Are We There Yet? The first episode is at 7 o'clock tonight.


The must-do list

1.Mitre Peak and Milford Sound
2.Doubtful Sound
3.Bay of Islands
4.Fiordland National Park
5.Abel Tasman National Park
6.Aoraki Mt Cook
7.Coastal Kaikoura
8.Hanmer Springs
9.Camping
10.Tutukaka/The Poor Knights
11.Marlborough Sounds
12.Fox and Franz Josef glaciers
13.Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro
14.Waitomo Caves
15.Travelling the Southern Scenic Route
16.Otago Rail Experience
17.White Island (marine volcano)
18.Stewart Island
19.Arthurs Pass National Park
20.Tongariro Crossing
21.The Blue Pools of Haast Pass
22.South Westland
23.Waipoua Forest
24.Mt Taranaki
25.Lake Tekapo Observatory and Church of the Good Shepherd
26. Ulva Island (Stewart Is bird sanctuary)
27. Otago Peninsula
28. Canterbury Plains
29. Punakaiki (Pancake rocks)
30. Cape Reinga
31. Auckland Gulf Islands - Waiheke, Great Barrier, Rangitoto and Tiritiri Matangi
32. Kicking the autumn leaves (walking Outlet Track along the Clutha River, Wanaka)
33. Akaroa and Banks Peninsula
34. Glenorchy and Dart River
35. Farewell Spit
36. Queenstown (adventures)
37. Hokianga (Northland's west coast)
38. Whanganui National Park
39. Cape Kidnappers
40. Lake Waikaremoana, Te Urewera National Park
41. Fine wines and fabulous foods
42. The Queen Charlotte Track
43. Lake Matheson (Fox Glacier)
44. Arrowtown
45. Orakei Korako (geothermal attraction, near Taupo)
46. TSS Earnslaw (vintage steamship)
47. Rotorua
48. Night skiing and riding at Coronet Peak
49. Dunedin City (architecture)
50. Mt Maunganui
51. Karangahake Gorge
52. Eastland SH35 (scenic coastal road journey)
53. Getting up close and personal with marine and wildlife
54. Hollyford Valley (and the Hollyford Track, Fiordland)
55. Hot Water Beach
56. Auckland's west coast
57. Rotorua Luge, Skyrides, Skyswing
58. Kapiti Island
59. Marlborough wine trail
60. New Chums Beach, Coromandel
61. Christchurch City
62. Mt Tarawera
63. Te Papa Tongarewa museum
64. The Bridge to Nowhere (Whanganui National Park)
65. Coromandel Township
66. Lake Taupo's water attractions and Tongariro River
67. The Pinnacles
68. Te Mata Peak (Hawkes Bay)
69. Rotorua rafting
70. The Forgotten World Highway (between Taumarunui and Stratford)
71. Lake Wanaka maze
72. Moeraki Boulders
73. New Plymouth's coastal walkway
74. Seafood City (Auckland)
75. Castlepoint (old seaside town)
76. Wainui Beach (Gisborne)
77. Ahipara and Shipwreck Bay
78. Buller Gorge
79. Taranaki Gardens
80. Cape Palliser (southernmost tip of the North Island)
81. Auckland War Memorial Museum
82. Raglan
83. Takaka Hill: Rameka Track Mountain (Abel Tasman National Park)
84. Whakarewarewa traditional Maori village, Rotorua
85. Waitangi Treaty Grounds
86. Rere Rock Slide, Gisborne
87. Spa and well-being (Nelson)
88. Auckland's Sky Tower and Skyjump
89. Devonport and North Head
90. The Interislander
91. Auckland volcanoes
92. Central Otago
93. Port Waikato
94. Golf in an Alpine Amphitheatre (Queenstown Golf Club)
95. Hundertwasser toilet (Far North)
96. Wellington Writers' Walk
97. Cross-country skiing (Lake Wanaka)
98. Stonehenge Aotearoa (marking the winter solstice Downunder)
99. Rugby Museum (Palmerston North)
100. Beehive and Parliament buildings
101=. Attend a Must-Do Event, North Island
101=. Attend a Must-Do Event, South Island

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