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 southern end of Lake Taupo, the three active volcanic mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe make up Tongariro National Park. In the winter the area is a playground for skiers and in summer a wilderness for walking.
At the southern end of Lake Taupo, the three active volcanic mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe are protected as a National Park. In the winter the area is a playground for skiers and in summer a wilderness for walking.
Dotted with emerald lakes and criss-crossed with lava flows, this is some of New Zealand’s most varied and remarkable terrain. The best way to explore is by tramping, but other activities including scenic flights, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking are on offer in the small local townships.
Often billed as the finest one-day walk in New Zealand, the Tongariro Crossing is a superb introduction to the region’s scenic beauty. The track itself takes seven to eight hours to complete, with shuttles available to and from the start and end points.
It crosses alpine scrubland and moonscape craters, skirts emerald lakes and passes hot springs before descending through dense podocarp forest to the Ketatahi Hut. Optional side trips climb the summits of Mount Ngaurohoe and Mount Tongariro for panoramic views over the Thermal Plateau.
The Thermal Plateau, 45 miles away
The Thermal Plateau, 82 miles away
Include a visit to Tongariro National Park 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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