When traveling in New Zealand, it’s the rugged natural beauty that stands out: spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, endless coastlines, steamy geothermal activity and so much more. Its breathtaking landscapes combined with its unique Maori culture, friendly cosmopolitan cities and fabulous food and wine comprise the two remarkable islands the “Kiwis” lovingly call home. New Zealand, a haven for those seeking peace, rejuvenation and relaxation, also offers a veritable playground for the adventurous. The temperate climate makes it an ideal year-round destination.
Queenstown is a resort town on New Zealand’s South Island. The city is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu and has spectacular views of nearby mountains and the Southern Alps. The town’s economy is focused on tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism, boasting over 200 adventure tourism activities to take part in.
It is the highest mountain in New Zealand at a staggering 12,218 feet in height. It lies in the Southern Alps, and is a part of Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park. Mt. Cook is popular with mountain climbers who are looking for a challenge and is a popular destination for nature-lovers and casual hikers as well.
This city lies on the North Island of New Zealand and is the largest and most populous area in the country. Roughly one third of New Zealand’s population resides here, dating back to the year 1350 when the Maori people populated the land that is known for being rich and fertile. It is now filled with parks, nature, and volcanic fields as well as home to a rich culture and a good quality of living.
This coastal city is located in the Otago region and one of the Southern Hemisphere’s best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities. The urban area of Dunedin lies on the central-eastern coast of Otago, surrounded by the head of Otago harbor. Dunedin is known as the Edinburgh of the south because of its Scottish heritage.
Take to the tranquil waters of breathtaking Milford Sound on a cruise. This fjord is located on the south west of New Zealand’s South Island. The sound cuts into the land for over 490 feet from the Tasman Sea and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 3,900 feet on either side. Among the peaks that surround you are: The Elephant at 4,977 feet, said to resemble an elephant’s head; and The Lion, at 4,272 feet, in the shape of the crouching lion. It is acclaimed as New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination.
All aboard the TranzAlpine Train as it travels from Auckland to Greymouth on New Zealand’s west coast. It is said to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world. The journey runs once a day with an approximate travel time of 4 1/2 hours. This region is known as glacier country and features many natural treasures including glaciers, beaches, wetlands, lakes, mountains and forests of national parks.
Bay of Islands:
Just 150 miles north of Auckland is the beautiful Bay of Islands, located in New Zealand’s balmy subtropical north. Over 144 islands dot these warm waters. The bay is abundant with thrilling marine life, like marlin, whales, dolphins, seals, and penguins. Once the refuge of ship deserters, sailors, whalers, ex-convicts and other rogues, the Bay of Islands is now a tranquil vacation destination. Hop aboard a cruise on its pristine turquoise waters – the only way to truly appreciate the spectacular seascapes. A highlight of the cruise will be the journey through the famous "Hole in the Rock." Resembling the eye of a needle, the "hole" has been etched over time by wind and waves, allowing boats to travel through it when the tide is just right.
Visit this town in the Southland region, located on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island. The town borders on the Fiordland National Park, and is home to many species of bird life. It is the perfect place for a hike or bird watching excursion.
You must try world-renowned New Zealand lamb. Tasty lamb dishes are found on nearly every menu, and what better accompaniment than a glass of the country’s celebrated wine – Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, or Pinot Noir.
Be sure to keep an eye out for products made from jade, the gorgeous "greenstone.” The stone is important to the Maori who call it 'pounamu.' Maori jade carvings each have their own meaning to the people and make beautiful pendants.
You should probably know that Kiwis are obsessed with Rugby. They don’t just like it, they are crazy about it! Their national team is the All Blacks and you can find their gear for sale almost everywhere. So you may want to pick up a hat or t-shirt and become an honorary fan.