There are few places in the world where you can stand in tranquillity atop a glacier that descends into a luscious, temperate rainforest before reaching out to spectacular beaches and a stunning coastline. This heli-hike to the top of Fox Glacier encapsulates just some of what New Zealand has to offer – dramatically changing landscapes that are played out within short distances of each other; big and beautiful scenery, as well as jaw dropping views, clean pure air and serenity.
New Zealand is a small country full of culture, friendliness and some of the most diverse environments in the world. Here are just a few reasons why the travel experts at New Zealand In Depth believe it is the place to go if you want to do and see it all:
Easy to Explore
New Zealand is smaller than the UK, the travel network is first class, and the population is small. Hop in a car and you can explore the whole country in under three weeks – discovering first class vineyards, incredible beaches, thermal hot springs and luxurious accommodation on route. Its open roads make it the perfect destination for self drive holidays – you can drive the seven-hour journey from Christchurch to Queenstown and meet only two roundabouts and no traffic lights! There are also some iconic railway journeys to enjoy and a good spread of regional airports making internal flights a very viable option. In fact, flying in New Zealand can be an unexpected treat with tiny airports, no queues through securities and incredible views.
With its pristine beaches, breath taking mountains and spectacular lakes it is impossible to visit New Zealand and not be struck by its beauty. It boasts three World Heritage Areas, including Tongariro National Park, whose dramatic volcanic landscape was used to create the kingdom of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. Elsewhere, in Fiordland you can spend an evening sailing the magnificent Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound, taking in snow capped mountains, rainforests, and tumbling waterfalls. The country is even stunning at night and the International Dark Sky Reserve above Lake Tekapo offers some of the best star gazing on the planet.
New Zealand is a beach-lover’s paradise. Made up largely of two islands, you are never far from the sea. You can kayak hidden beaches in Northland, sand surf Ninety Mile beach, dig your own thermal spa on the Coromandel Peninsula or just bask in the golden sands and sheltered, clear waters of Abel Tasman.
New Zealand offers a range of stylish, romantic and quirky places to stay. If you are looking for luxury accommodation there are hotels like Eagles Nest in the Bay of Islands, which features its own theatre systems, private pools and personal butler service. More imaginative options include the Hapuku Tree Houses in Kaikoura, or the clear glass rooms at PurePods on Banks Peninsula, where you can see the Southern Cross above you at night and the native plants surrounding you by day. There are also a growing number of boutique B&B’s and lodges that are supporting local conservation projects.
FOOD AND DRINK
New Zealander’s love their food and their standards are high. Traditional roasts are part of the mix, but you will also enjoy some of the finest meals found anywhere in the world. New Zealand’s wide range of climates means that nearly every fruit and vegetable can be grown on its own shores – from olives to oranges – the chefs take full advantage of the high-quality, fresh ingredients. As you would expect from a nation surrounded by water, there is some spectacular seafood on offer. Local delicacies include Marlborough green-lipped mussels – famous for their health benefits, Bluff oysters, whitebait and scallops. For a truly authentic option there is the hangi, a traditional Maori style of cooking using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.
first class wines
New Zealand’s wines are world famous and in high demand. There are a number of winegrowing regions spread throughout the country. Within 45 minutes of Auckland you can be on Waihike Island, enjoying a critically acclaimed chardonnay at the Mudbrick Vineyard. For the most well-known vineyards, we recommend you visit the Marlborough region, which produces superb Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and increasingly good Pinot Noirs. Elsewhere, in Hawke’s Bay you can enjoy a day’s wining and dining experience with the experts at Odyssey NZ.
SPORTS & ADVENTURE
New Zealand rewards the intrepid and Kiwis are known for their sense of adventure – but don’t just think jet boating, kayaking, bungy jumping, sky diving, and rafting. A huge amount has been invested in cycle routes and trekking. There are also some fabulous golf courses – many are at international standard and are attracting the big names. Kauri Cliffs in Northland has its own helicopter for easy transfers to or from Auckland. As for skiing and boarding, the snowfields in the South Island are crowd free and good for all abilities. All this and they’re not too bad at rugby either.
WILDLIFE AND NATURE
New Zealand’s diverse habitats support some of the world’s most rare wildlife; from the national emblem, the little brown kiwi, to the yellow eyed penguin, all the way to the world’s only alpine parrot, the Kea. One town in particular, Kaikoura, is almost exploding with marine wildlife. From here you can go whale watching, swim with dolphins and seals or spot gannets and albatross. It is just a three hour drive from Christchurch airport, or three hours on the iconic Coastal Pacific train.
A sperm Whale diving in Kaikoura
Maori culture is part of everyday life in New Zealand and there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the rich heritage. Te Papa, the national museum in Wellington, offers a complete insight into the human and natural history of the country. You can also visit the living Maori village, Whakarewarewa, in Rotorua.
New Zealand In Depth has been creating tailor-made holidays to New Zealand for 11 years. Our bespoke service is arranged with care and expertise and is backed by a genuinely personal service. We have built personal relationships with all our suppliers and partners on the ground in New Zealand to ensure our clients get the very best. With us there are no fixed itineraries and everything is possible. Come and visit us at stand F7.