New Zealand is a beautiful place to visit. Considering it is surrounded by water, sightseeing in New Zealand by boat can be an amazing experience. There is nothing better than kicking back and enjoying the view from a comfortable seat all while soaking up some sun. Like any new place you are exploring, there are must-sees in New Zealand. Here is a list of ten of the most exciting and spectacular sights that you do not want to miss.

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Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is located off of the most Northern part of the Northern Island of New Zealand. The Bay of Islands consists of 144 islands and offers a variety of beautiful sights and activities. The culture in this part of New Zealand is very rich and full of stories. You can experience the native culture through visiting heritage sites, museums, or taking a ride in a Waka, a traditional canoe. When seeing the Bay of Islands by boat you can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife; one of the most seen marine animals is the dolphin. Many boat tours offer the experience to actually get in the water and swim with the dolphins. Other sights to see here are the Rainbow Falls, Cape Brett Walkway, and Urupukapuka Island.

Waikato River

The Waikato River is a great place to see locations in New Zealand by boat. The Waikato River is also located in the Northern Island and it just happens to be the longest river found in New Zealand. You can expect to see native birds, forests, and areas where trout feed. Some of the bigger sights to take in are Mount Ruapehu and Tutukau Gorge. If you are feeling adventurous you could try taking on the Aratiatia rapids.

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Cathedral Cove 

Cathedral Cove is located in the Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island. This is a beautiful location that can only be fully appreciated by boat. From its natural archway and magnificent beaches to the caverns and wildlife, Cathedral Cove is a must see. This location is part of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Preserve and offers an up close look at seals, exotic fish, and dolphins. Cathedral Cove also offers Sea Caves and amazing snorkeling.

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds are located at the Northern Part of the Southern Island. The Sounds are made up of ancient valleys that still protrude from the water as tree-covered hills. The only way to access this spectacular area is by boat and will be astounded by the sights. There are four different sounds that make up this area and they all offer great views and activities. You can see the bird sanctuary, hidden bays, forests, and historical sites. Great activities include kayaking, swimming with dolphins, and fishing.


Fiordland is located on the South Island and is a World Heritage Site. This location is filled with endless blue water and majestic mountains. You can view wildlife such as seals and penguins and have the option of seeing two different waterfalls — Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls.

Hauraki Gulf

Hauraki Gulf can be found in Auckland, which is in the Northern Island. Hauraki Gulf Islands are full of history and stunning sights. Tiritiri Matangi Island offers amazing scenery, bird viewing, and the tuatara, a relative of the dinosaurs. Motutapu is a great island for those interested in archeology. You can also enjoy beaches, sailing, and wildlife viewing.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is located in Queenstown, which is on the Southern Island. This is one of New Zealand’s most popular and most visited locations. When viewing this site from your boat you will see waterfalls, wildlife, and mountains. You can also enjoy kayaking and some wonderful hiking trails that allow you an amazing panoramic view.

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The Poor Knights Islands

The Poor Knights Islands are located on the Northern Island and are the remnants of old volcanoes. This location offers snorkeling and scuba diving where you can expect to see beautiful fish. The Islands are a wildlife reserve so you will likely be seeing a variety of marine life. This is also the location of the largest sea cave found in the world, Riko Riko. This is a great place to get in the water and do some exploring.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves are located on the Northern Island and are a must-see. A small worm known as Arachnocampa luminosa, are only found in New Zealand. The caves are secluded and while aboard your small boat, these small worms will begin to glow and light up the water, an astonishing sight.

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Okarito is located on the South Island and is a magical place to visit. You will be surrounded by rainforest on all sides and enjoy seeing some magnificent birds such as the Kotuku. From the boat, you will also see the Southern Alps, Mount Tasman, and the Okarito Lagoon. This is a serene adventure that you will not soon forget.

Seeing locations in New Zealand by boat can be a spectacular experience. The diverse landscapes and wildlife will keep you coming back for more.