New Zealand, Australia and Fiji at a glance
All of New Zealand
with Hawaii Stopover
New Zealand and Fiji
Tahiti and New Zealand Sampler
Travel to New Zealand
Travel to New Zealand and be impressed with its awe-inspiring scenery, mind-blowing outdoor experiences, superb food and wine, and fascinating Maori culture. No matter what’s on your travel itinerary, your New Zealand vacation will be an unforgettable experience whether visiting the cosmopolitan cities of Auckland and Wellington, the fertile plains of Otago or the glaciers and snow-capped southern Alps.
New Zealand has been described as taking the most picturesque landscapes from countries around the world and putting them all in one spot. The country packs an incredible array of scenic beauty into two principal islands with a combined north to south distance equal to that of a trip from the Canadian to the Mexican border. And if you have a love for the outdoors, New Zealand is a “must visit travel destination.”
The people, nicknamed the Kiwis (after it’s treasured bird), are very friendly and hospitable with their own distinctive brand of humor. And with a populous of around 5 million and over 20 million sheep, you’ll see how that sense of humor and a rugged sense of individuality got started. You’ll never be bored on your New Zealand vacation regardless of your age or interest level.
From vibrant Auckland to the picturesque Bay of Islands, to Rotorua, famous for its geothermal activity, to the capital city and a cultural center - Wellington, New Zealand’s North Island has much to offer the visitor.
The South Island is a nature lovers’ and photographer’s delight. The scenery is breathtaking and the opportunities for adventure are mind-blowing. You can start your South Island tour at the top of the island after crossing the strait from Wellington. Visit Christchurch, the most English city outside of England, then head across island to Queenstown, known as the “Adventure Capital of the World”. From jet boating, white water rafting, or mountain climbing, the Queenstown area will keep your adrenalin flowing.
Kiwis are well known for their extreme sports and adventure tourism. And you can participate in all of it on your New Zealand vacation. Its’ reputation extends from being the birthplace of the world’s first commercial bungee jumping site at Queenstown, to being the inventors of the thrilling yet wacky sport of Zorbing (rolling down a hill in a large, inflated plastic sphere). The country also has a strong hiking and mountaineering tradition, following in the footsteps of its most famous climber, the late Sir Edmund Hillary, who with Tenzing Norgay, was the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. As a result, a number of single and multi-day walks of all levels are available for vacationers.
But you don’t have to be an adrenalin junkie to appreciate New Zealand. There are many fine golf courses, cruising and sailing opportunities – particularly on Milford Sound, whale and dolphin watches, wine tastings at world famous vineyards on both islands and many national parks to enjoy.
New Zealand is culturally and linguistically part of Polynesia, and is the southwestern anchor of the Polynesian Triangle. The indigenous Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa or Land of the Long White Cloud. The Maori cultural heritage is still vibrant and is an integral part of contemporary society. During your New Zealand vacation you’ll be able to participate in many aspects of it, from a “hangi” (feast) to visiting geothermal wonders and traditional “marae” (meeting places) as they have become a staple of tourism.
New Zealand has served as the scenic backdrop for many epic movies thanks to the directing efforts of native son Peter Jackson. Many people travel to New Zealand every year to visit filming locations for Lord of the Rings. And there’s no shortage of museums either. The world famous Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand. Located in Wellington, it is renowned for being bicultural, scholarly, innovative, and lots of fun for both adults and families. You can visit the unique World of Wearable Art gallery in Nelson or take a chilling look into life at the bottom of the planet at the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, one of the country’s best tourist attractions.
It’s easy to travel in New Zealand. You can fly between locales if you want to cover the both islands and time is precious, but self-drive is a highly recommended and very popular way to tour New Zealand. You’ll have the flexibility to evolve your itinerary and the freedom to explore places that are away from the usual tourist trails.
For an ultimate New Zealand travel experience, take New Zealand’s most famous ferry route between Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island. As well as transporting you and your vehicle, this journey showcases the extraordinary beauty of the Marlborough Sound.
While the rail network in New Zealand isn’t vast, there are some great trips available. On the South Island, between Picton and Christchurch, you can catch the TranzCoastal train, which travels between the Kaikoura mountain range on one side and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. The other route is the TranzAlpine, which travels over the dividing range between east and west. This particular trip, linking Christchurch to Greymouth, has been called “one of the world’s top six train journeys.” On the North Island, the Overlander train links Wellington and Auckland as it travels through the central heart of the island and winds the famous Raurimu Spiral.
Kiwis have always been a nation of firsts – in 1893 they were the first nation in the world to give women the right to vote and the following year banned all nuclear powered ships from entering their waters and in 2007 banned smoking in all restaurants, nightclubs and public buildings.
So much is packed into these two islands tucked away in the southern Pacific Ocean. Your New Zealand vacation simply comes down to a matter of choice. And what you don’t see on your first trip, you’ll just have to make sure is on your next one here.