24 June 2020
From dramatic scenery to vibrant cities, forested valleys to glorious beaches, New Zealand is a truly enchanting country, offering visitors a range of magical and unique experiences. Explore some of the destinations that make up this wonderful part of the world:
No trip to New Zealand would be complete without a journey into Middle-Earth! With her golden plains, towering mountains and enchanting valleys, it’s no surprise that New Zealand was chosen as the filming location for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Head to Hamilton, a couple of hours’ drive south of Auckland and see The Shire come to life. You can even step inside an actual Hobbit-hole at the Hobbiton Movie Set, a magical village with 44 Hobbit-holes set within a 1,250-acre sheep farm!
With filming locations for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies found throughout the country, you can add a stop to your itinerary whether you find yourself on the North Island or South Island.
Nestled on the South Island, you’ll find New Zealand’s spectacular Fiordland. Blue-black waters, rugged mountains dotted with rainforests and soaring granite peaks all combine to create a truly breathtaking landscape.
Within Fiordland National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll find Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. The impressive Milford Sound is a fiord with inky waters and sky-high cliffs that rise vertically from the shimmering body of water. You can cruise the waters on a boat trip but if you’re more of a thrill-seeker, try kayaking across the deep water. Real adrenaline junkies could also try scuba diving down to the underwater observatory at Harrison Cove – a beautiful experience like no other!
We’d also suggest a trip to the enchanting, lesser-known Doubtful Sound, New Zealand’s second-longest and deepest sound. Expect waterfalls, forests and wildlife, including Bottlenose dolphins and Fiordland Crested Penguins.
Discover bubbling sulphur pools, erupting geysers and huge volcanic craters at Wai-O-Tapu in the Rotorua region. Indulge in a thermal pool spa therapy or take a walking tour to discover the sights and wonders of this mysterious city, which sits squarely on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
You’ll also find plenty of Māori cultural tours and experiences in Rotorua, so you can discover the history, language and traditions of the indigenous people for yourself. From the Pōwhiri, a traditional welcoming ceremony, to enjoying food cooked in a Hangi, an underground earth oven, you’ll be able to experience many different aspects of Māori culture here. You could even find yourself trying your hand at the famous Haka, the war dance made famous by the All Blacks rugby team.
Adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers will be in their element in Queenstown! Known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, the captivating city of Queenstown continues to charm its visitors with its spellbinding scenery and exciting adventure sports.
A bungee jump is a must-do if you’re visiting Queenstown but you’ll find plenty of other extreme sports to get involved with too, including white-water rafting, canyon swinging and paragliding. With a smorgasbord of outdoor activities to enjoy, Queenstown is the home of the ultimate adventure bucket list!
The town itself also has plenty to offer with its buzzing café culture and excellent selection of restaurants and bars. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, you’ll certainly find it in Queenstown.
Known as the ‘City of Sails’ due to the copius yachts which grace its harbour, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do in Auckland, whatever pace you’re looking for. Visit the SkyCity Tower, explore the fascinating Maritime Museum or, if you’re feeling brave, you can even bungee jump from the Auckland Harbour Bridge!
For wildlife lovers, head a little further afield to the Hauraki Gulf, an area nestled next to Auckland, and spot majestic whales soaring through the seas.
Beautifully situated on the Miramar Peninsula on the North Island, New Zealand’s vibrant capital of Wellington is not to be missed. Take a cable car up to the Wellington Botanic Garden for spectacular views over the city and the picture-perfect harbour, learn all about the country’s Māori culture at the national museum or relax with a glass of wine at one of the many sophisticated cafés.
Plus, no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a sighting of the native kiwi bird! If you’re visiting in the autumn, Kapiti Island just off Wellington turns into a hive of activity for birdlife and is one of the best times to view this shy nocturnal feathered friend in its natural environment.
The beautiful city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island offers a plethora of attractions for visitors to discover. Go hot air ballooning for aerial views of the mountain ranges on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other and the Canterbury Plains in between. Swim with the playful Hector’s dolphin in Akaroa; it’s the only place on the planet where you can get up close and personal with the world’s smallest and rarest species of dolphin.
For a more relaxed pace, there are plenty of pretty parks and gardens to explore, including the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The charming seaside village of Kaikoura is also a few hours’ drive away up the coast and the perfect place to go whale watching and seal swimming.