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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New Zealand & the South Pacific
At the heart of New Zealand’s geothermal activity and a major focus for Maori culture, Rotorua is situated on the southern shore of Lake Rotorua.
Throughout and around the town steamy mineral lakes, bursting geysers and bubbling mud pools release a pungent smell as hydrogen gas pours out of countless bores and ground fissures.
With examples of striking Tudor-style architecture, parts of this busy town are very attractive, and the Rotorua Bath House, an architectural icon, now houses a museum that reveals the mythology, history and geology of the area.
People have been bathing in the hot springs for centuries, believing the mineral-rich waters have health-giving properties, and a soak in one of the many spa complexes is highly recommended.
The town also has a large Maori population, whose cultural activities are among the most interesting and accessible in all New Zealand. The deep-rooted concept of ‘manaakitanga’ – the responsibility of a host to give the best of themselves, their time and their history – is hugely evident here.
14 days from £3,120pp
14 days from £2,780pp
19 days from £3,720pp
The Thermal Plateau, 38 miles away
The Thermal Plateau, 82 miles away
Include a visit to Rotorua on your tailor-made trip around 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 DoAccommodationAbout New ZealandCountry Guides
Other countries in Australasia:AustraliaFrench PolynesiaSamoaThe Cook IslandsFiji
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