If you are a big fan of Lord of the Rings and wanted to experience living in the Middle Earth, make a beeline for New Zealand for this is the very place where the famous movie series was shot. New Zealand is an epic land of wilderness with dense forests embedded with lakes, vast grasslands and paddocks, secluded beaches lined with jagged cliffs, never-ending hiking trails oozing with scenery, cerulean fjords, and magnificent mountains. Sparsely populated, the country is brimming with beautiful locations, a laid back ambiance, and a fierce Maori culture. Here you can let go of all your worries, immerse in tranquility, and actually enjoy your vacation without being in a rush.
Explore the Wilderness
New Zealand is divided into three regions; North Island , South Island and Offshore Islands. In the North Island, you will come across bubbling pools, volcanic mounts, rolling green pastures and beaches. South Island is just as beautiful with a change of scenery offering beech forests, glaciers, and fjords. Offshore Islands like the isolated Sub-Antarctic Island are uninhabited mostly acting as wildlife preserves.
Referred to as the 'City of Sails' with two giant harbors, Auckland is a cosmopolitan city in the North Island of New Zealand. Visit Sky Tower, an observation tower right in the heart of the city, that offers panoramic vistas. You can dare to try your hand at bungee jumping and have a delicious meal at the revolving restaurant. To learn a little bit of history, head over to Auckland War Memorial Museum, a majestic neoclassical building containing a large array of historical and military artifacts. SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, Auckland Zoo and Rainbow's End are ideal places for adults and kids alike.
Bestriding the mighty Waikato River, Hamilton lacks the coastal glamour, but it makes up with its picturesque banks, vibrant nightlife, and flourishing gardens. Explore the marvelous Hamilton Gardens, visit the zoo and museum, and check out the mystical underground cave system of Waitomo. Waitomo has waterfalls and limestone formations but its most interesting feature are the glow-worms that light up the Glowworm Caves.
In this city of bubbling mud pools and thermal wonders, you can get to know the Maori culture of Rotorua. Go fishing, boating and white water rafting at Lake Rotorua, and unwind at the hot pools, geysers, and springs. Visit Polynesian Spa to get a rejuvenating massage, watch the geyser of Te Puia erupt 20 times a day, hop on a giant swing at Velocity Valley Adventure Park and enjoy canopy and zipline tours.
Nestled amidst world-class wineries of Hawke's Bay, Napier is a coastal city known for its Art Deco architecture and tree-dotted marina. Visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand which has an underwater glass tunnel where you can encounter sharks and much more. Go up to Cape Kidnappers that features a renowned golf course, luxurious lodges, farms, and scenic tracks. Don't skip a stroll at Marina Parade.
When you are in New Zealand, you can't miss its capital, Wellington. Sun-smashed during summers and snow-blanketed during winters, the urban city lies on a hook-shaped harbor offering a lot more than its craggy coastline. If you want to catch a glimpse of rare birds and plants, visit Zealandia Eco-sanctuary which is bursting with life. Learn the city's history at Wellington Museum and have a serene picnic at Mount Victoria Lookout while gazing at the city and the harbor below.
Offering a variety of fun-filled activities throughout the year, Queenstown sprawls by the banks of Lake Wakatipu against a magnificent backdrop of Southern Alps. From bungee jumping to a million dollar cruise, the city is geared towards those who enjoy adrenaline-rushing activities with a dash of luxury. For nature enthusiasts, there are plenty of spots like Milford Sound, Routeburn Track and Skippers Road that will baffle them with their beauty.
Known for its wine and fine dining culture, New Zealand has some of the best restaurants and cafes. The local cuisine is highly influenced by British culture with slight variations. Have savory and crispy Roast kumara, a dish comprising of roasted sweet potatoes, a large variety meat pies, fresh seafood and if you dare, try some kina (sea-urchin), and for dessert have a piece or two of Pavlova cake. Maori people also have a distinctive cuisine cooked in hangi, a traditional earth oven. Mostly meat and vegetables are slowly cooked over the oven. To make your teatime special, bring in a platter of scrumptious ANZAC biscuits. Your tea will taste twice as nice.
As we have mentioned before, New Zealand is 'the place' for indulging in some exotic wines. From craft beers to sauvignon blanc, there is a wine for every season, budget, and mood. There are numerous cafés where you can have your daily dose of caffeine. New Zealand's nightlife is pretty vibrant but instead of clubbing and dancing, it is more focused on the drinks, tapas, and a tête-à-tête.
If budget isn't an issue, luxury lodges are a great option to stay. They have offer delicious meals, comfortable ambiance, and professional services. Other than that, there are plenty of hotels, hostels for backpackers, B&B, and inns. New Zealand is also one of the first countries to develop a WWOOF network in which travelers can work at a farm receive food and accommodation in return.
Summer hits New Zealand in full blast from December to February, and this is the time for beach bumming, tramping, and vacationing. For ski towns, high season is from June to August when snow covers the grounds. As usual prices raise, and crowds gather. It is better to book in advance. The months of Spring and Autumn offer reasonable weather and prices to visit.
Situated in the middle of nowhere, getting to New Zealand is only feasible through air. Due to high rate of tourism, airports are busy throughout the year. Major airports are located in the cities of Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, and Dunedin. It is possible to travel from Australia on a cruise, cargo ship or yacht.
In New Zealand, domestic flights are actually cheaper than renting a car or taking the train. It is convenient and budget-friendly option to travel to different cities. Cycling is also a popular means of commute here, but it can be quite hectic. Taking a bus is a far better option to travel within a town.
New Zealand's official currency is New Zealand dollar ($). Credit and debits cards are accepted almost everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. However, most places do not accept any other currency than NZ dollar.
If you decide to go away, book your hotel, flights and activities through our trip concierge for discounts and benefits. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, free hotel credit and VIP gifts at many luxury hotels for the same price as the hotel’s own websites. (Book direct and you don’t get these benefits so why would you?). Our packaged vacation prices tend to be considerably cheaper than flight and hotel prices available online.