It is the land where the literary powerhouse that is The Lord of the Rings was based, it is one of the world’s best hiking destinations thanks to nine sublime ‘Great Walks’, and it boasts a world-famous wine scene, a bounty of natural beauty that few destinations, if any, could rival, and a quite literally unbeatable rugby Team, All Blacks, of course, we are talking about New Zealand.
The country geographically consists of two main areas of land – North Island and South Island and approximately 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is bigger than the UK, yet has one-fourteenth of the population. Visitors can appreciate a vast range of beauty by wandering along a beach, mountain biking through easily accessible wilderness or paddling a canoe. New Zealand is known as a place of tranquillity and ease with little on the road frustrations.
An ideal trip to New Zealand consists of exploration of both North Island and South Island, however in reality most of us only have limited time away. A wide range of desires can be fulfilled here in New Zealand, with both the North Island and South Island offering truly different experiences. The South Island is known for its dramatic mountainous landscape and is home of Fiordland National Park; Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, and several of the Great Walks. However the North Island offers the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland and Wellington or for those that crave a more educational voyage then Rotorua is a place rich in Maori culture.
5 STAR ACCOMODATION IN NEW ZEALAND
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and urban area. Travel no more than an hour drive from the heart of the city and be greeted by rainforest, thermal springs, wineries and wildlife reserves. Regularly rated as one of the world’s top cities for quality of life and liveability, Auckland is unlikely to disappoint.
- Waiheke Island
Just a forty minute passenger ferry from Auckland, Waiheke Island is where the art of living awaits. World-famous wineries and beaches beckon, the two biggest draws of the island; surfers should head to Onetagi Beach and wine lovers must be sure to make a date with one of the thirty boutique wineries.
The town of Taupo sits at the edge of Australasia's largest lake. The lakeside town is ideal for visitors who enjoy trout fishing, skiing and want to experience more of the local geothermal phenomena. Lake Taupo also offers mountain biking opportunities all year round due to the recent completion of the Great Lake Trail. Hiking, cycling and golfing are also popular activities amongst visitors.
- Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay is located on the east coast of the North Island. It is one of New Zealand’s leading producers of wine due to it being one of warmest and driest regions in the country. After being destroyed by a huge earthquake in the 1930’s Hawke’s Bay was rebuilt as New Zealand’s Art Deco centre. Some may choose to walk the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks, visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony or relax on the glorious beaches that stretch along the coast.
Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand. It is at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is the world’s windiest city, with an average wind speed of over 26km/h. It has hill-top lookouts, waterfront promenades and craggy shorelines to the south. Downtown, the compact centre vibrates with museums, theatres, galleries, boutiques and bars.
- Southern Alps
The Southern Alps is a mountain range extending along much of the length of New Zealand's South Island. The term "Southern Alps" generally refers to the entire range, although separate names are given to many of the smaller ranges that form part of it. The range includes the South Island's Main Divide, which separates the Canterbury and West Coast Regions.
The world’s capital for adventure sport, Queenstown on New Zealand’s south island is a natural playground, and a force to be reckoned with in the adrenaline stakes; indeed, the city is the birthplace of the mighty bungee jump.