Reasons to Visit
This small nation has established a name for fabulous wineries, many internationally acclaimed. Whilst most will point connoisseurs to the Marlborough region for the finest vintages, Hawkes Bay and Martinborough should not be ignored. A trip here would not be complete without trying the local 'fush 'n' chups' or traditional Maori fare either.
For a small country, New Zealand incorporates landscapes as diverse as they come. Mountains, volcanoes, beaches, lakes, fiords, valleys and caves - to the everyday traveller these remarkable sights are other-worldly. Both the North and South islands share many common features, but are also wonderfully contrasting.
It's not necessary to throw yourself off a suspended platform in order to fully experience New Zealand. Alternative options include air safaris over White Island, heli-hiking the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and wilderness cruises in Milford and Doubful Sounds.
New Zealanders are proud of their Maori roots. Maori song, dance and mythology are prevalent, towns are adorned with carvings and rooms are dressed in flax weavings. Most physical locations also have Maori names with literal translations such as Waimakariri River (Cold water river).
The 'outdoors' perception of New Zealanders is not something consciously cultivated; with such a plentitude of mountains, beaches, fiords lakes and forests on their doorstep it is simply a way of life.
New Zealand has wonderful roads - scenic, safe and, especially on the South Island, largely empty. They even drive on the left and some of the most scenic routes are waymarked. There are car hire stations at all of New Zealand's airports.
There are so many excellent hikes - or 'tramps' as the locals call them - in New Zealand that it is sometimes difficult to know which one to select. We feature several of the country's 'great walks' which can easily be incorportated into any itinerary.
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Our New Zealand specialists are experienced and passionate about the country - between them they have spent many weeks a year researching new experiences and ensuring everything is of the highest standard. They know New Zealand inside out.
HelenNew Zealand Specialist01993 838 824
KatieNew Zealand Specialist01993 838 826
FionaNew Zealand Specialist01993 838 710
MichaelNew Zealand Specialist01993 838 821
HannahNew Zealand Specialist01993 838 819
Celebrated for its rich culture and style of life, New Zealand offers a myriad of inimitable opportunities for the discerning traveller. Nowhere else will you find such an intoxicating mix of food, wine, accommodation, wildlife and adventure.
The country is a walker’s paradise, with vast landscapes punctuated by mountains and lakes. Get off the beaten track or experience Maori culture, watch whales play off the coast or experience city life in Wellington, Christchurch or Queenstown.
New Zealanders speak English as a first language, although some may still speak traditional Maori.
New Zealand's food scene has stormed ahead of the game in recent years both in quality of the food and the places where it is served. Often referred to as 'Pacific Rim' cuisine, there are obvious influences from Asia, Europe and other parts of the Pacific, fused with New Zealand's fresh produce. New Zealand lamb also features on almost every menu. For traditionally cooked Maori dishes it is really necessary to experience a 'hangi', a feast prepared in an underground oven, steam cooked in the natural thermal heat of the earth.
New Zealand's wine industry has firmly established itself on the international market. The most recognised regions are Marlborough, which is famed for its sauvignon blanc, and Hawkes Bay which produces excellent chardonnay.
Tipping in New Zealand is not obligatory - even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for good service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.
The official currency is the New Zealand dollar. New Zealand dollar traveller's cheques can be exchanged at all major banks, international airports, foreign exchange bureaus, and all international credit cards are widely accepted. You will be able to access New Zealand currency from Maestro and Cirrus ATM machines (cash point machines) as long as you have a four-digit pin-code.
New Zealanders are in general warm, friendly and hospitable, and are proud of their country and their heritage. Maori culture is an integral part of the New Zealand way of life and is a strong and growing influence. Social conventions need to be observed when visiting a 'marae', the traditional Maori meeting house. Such places are sacred, and should only be visited by invitation from the local tribe. There is a welcoming ritual which will be observed, shoes should be removed before entering the meeting house, and you should sit where indicated. Although this may sound rather solemn and formal, remember that once you have been invited to the marae you are extremely welcome. It is customary after such a visit to leave a donation towards the upkeep of the marae.
'Whale Rider' by Witi Ihimaera is a heart warming tale of a young Maori girl's triumph over the prejudices of her grandfather's 'old ways' and her battle to win his respect. To say any more would be to spoil a magnificent story which is now an award winning film.
New Zealand has a modern musical culture embracing many international artists as well as home grown talent such as Bic Runga and Crowded House. There is also a large portion of music which is influenced by Maori culture and the immigrant populations from Asia and the South Pacific.
'The Piano' directed by Jane Campion and released in 2003 became as famous for the soundtrack composed by Michael Nyman as for the outstanding acting which produced this classic winner of the Palme d`Or.
The main highway along the east coast north of Kaikoura is dotted with caravans owned by local fishermen, many of them Maori, who serve the most amazing fresh crayfish plucked straight from the sea.
The Marlborough wine region has become world famous in a very short time for its award winning wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Everyone has heard of Cloudy Bay but be sure not to miss the small vintages which never make it to the export market includng the ouststanding Daniel Le Brun Methode Champenoise and the gold award Gewurtztraminer wines from the Johanneshof cellars.
A Hongi is a Maori greeting where noses are pressed together to show unity and union. It is also an exhalation of breath or 'ha'. The Maori word for New Zealand is Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud). You will often hear the word dairy used which means corner shop in New Zealand.
Warm welcomes, exquisite flavours and awe inspiring scenery at every turn.
Merino wool socks and clothes in general and pounamu (green jade, which is traditionallly bought as a gift for someone else) jewellery and carvings.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to New Zealand by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in New ZealandRegions of New ZealandWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationCountry Guides
Other countries in Australasia:AustraliaFrench PolynesiaSamoaThe Cook IslandsFiji
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