Highlights of New Zealand
Auckland, a buzzing urban hub nestled between two contrasting coastlines, hosts a combination of metropolitan delights and natural landscapes. The rugged West Coast beaches are home to the iconic black sand beaches, colonies of gannets and spectacular clifftop views, not to mention some great surfing. The region is also home to world-class food producers, a paradise of fresh season food and wine. A kaleidoscope of creativity and traditions, explore world-class exhibitions at one of the many art galleries or explore the Maori history at Auckland Museum.
Waiheke Island is the ultimate island retreat, just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Best known as 'island of wine' for its many wineries and vineyards, a wine tasting tour or an indulgent lunch is a must. Enjoy spectacular views and explore the beaches, restaurants, and other activities on the island.
The seething power of inner earth comes to the surface in Rotorua. Explore Rotorua's geothermal areas and discover the unique culture of New Zealand's Maori people. Rotorua highlights include White Island, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes. The White Island volcano is estimated to be between 150,000 to 200,000 years old. Explore Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve where thermal activity produces geysers, boiling mud and silica terraces.
Affectionately known as New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown is a place that strikes the perfect balance between its awe-inspiring natural beauty and the iconic heart-pumping attractions. From the sublime scenes of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables to spectacular Shotover River, Queenstown’s landscapes will just as quickly take your breath away as a bungee jump in the much-loved Nevis Valley or a thrilling ski adventure in the snow fields at renowned Coronet Peak.
The Bay of Islands
This is one of the most beautiful maritime parks in New Zealand with 144 islands and bays teeming with marine life including whales, penguins and dolphins. The Bay of Islands includes Kerikeri where you can find the Kerikeri Mission Station, home to New Zealand's oldest standing European buildings the Stone Store and Kerikeri Mission House which were built in the first half of the 1800s. Paihia, the main tourist town, is where you can swim with dolphins or take a trip to the spectacular Cape Brett and the "Hole in the Rock" on Piercy Island. The historic town of Russell was the first permanent European settlement and sea port in New Zealand, it was also briefly the country's capital. Russell had a rowdy reputation during colonial times as the "Hell hole of the Pacific" and one of the southern most whaling stations in the world –hard to imagine today when visiting this quaint seaside village. The Bay of Islands is also a great place to stay if you wish to visit Cape Reinga, the northern tip of New Zealand. Considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, this area is also important to Maori culture as it is believed to be the point from which dead spirits begin their long trip back to the afterlife.
Napier is famous for its Art Deco architecture.The main city of the Hawkes Bay region, downtown Napier had to be completely rebuilt in 1931 after it was destroyed by a two and a half minute earthquake and a subsequent fire. A marvellous collection of buildings in the 1930s Art Deco style sprang up, and this is celebrated with a special Art Deco weekend every February. Napier also offers a top selection of wineries where you can sample some of the finest New Zealand wines.
Christchurch, the Garden city, was established in 1850 by English settlers and this heritage shows in the architecture of older buildings.Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. It's a vibrant, cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries, great shopping and award-winning attractions. Christchurch Cathedral is the city's most prominent landmark and the square to which it gives its name is the heart of downtown. Other Christchurch highlights include the beautiful Neo-Gothic Arts Centre, the historic tram which loops the city centre, the Christchurch Gondola, the International Antarctic Centre and the Botanical Gardens. These gardens are an oasis in the city of Christchurch, featuring more than 50 acres of beautiful horticultural displays, several conservatories, memorials, garden art and walking tracks.
Set in and around what was once a volcanic crater, Dunedin is ringed with bush-clad hills that overlook a pretty harbour and the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Built off the back of gold rush riches, the legacy lives on in one of the best collections of Edwardian and Victorian architecture in the southern hemisphere. Gothic church spires, ornate mansions, grand buildings, intriguing alleyways, and picturesque gardens are woven through the central city, which is full of bustling cafes, shopping boutiques and outstanding street art.
Nelson & Abel Tasman National Park
Named after British Admiral Lord Nelson, this is New Zealand's second oldest city. Discover the creative paradise that is Nelson –an irresistible blend of lifestyle and stunning landscape at the top northwest corner of the South Island. From the northern edge of the Southern Alps across the fertile plains and out to a great sweep of beaches, Nelson is beautifully laid out under a generous sun that makes it New Zealand's sunniest place, with more than 2,500 hours per year. Close to Nelson is the stunning Abel Tasman National Park. The park is renowned for its golden beaches, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous coastal track. With a mild climate, it is a good place to visit at any time of the year.