From the snow-peaked mountains of the Southern Alps, through to the sub-tropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand is a country of diverse landscapes. With a population of only 4 million split over its 2 main islands it is also gloriously uncrowded. Understandably, being outdoors is part of the Kiwi culture and any opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors is encouraged. Rugby also plays a large part into the New Zealand culture, and Kiwis are rightly proud of their World Cup winning All Blacks.
The North Island is steeped in Maori tradition, especially around the Bay of Islands and Rotorua/East Cape region. It is also the agricultural heartland, and the place where most New Zealanders live.
The South Island is all about its natural beauty, being dominated by the Southern Alps, with Abel Tasman National Park to the north, and Fiordland National Park to the south. And then, of course, there is Queenstown, the self-proclaimed “Adventure Capital of the World”.
New Zealand Highlights
- Go shopping on Queen Street in Auckland, or see Kiwi tenacity and how Christchurch has risen from the ashes of the 2011 earthquake.
- See where the local Maori tribes signed a treaty with the British Crown, giving birth to the colony of New Zealand, at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.
- From the imposing Tongariro National Park in the centre of the North Island, to the beautiful Fiordland National Park at the bottom of the South Island, you are never far away from natural beauty in New Zealand.
- Visit Mount Cook, which is largest mountain in New Zealand, and nearby Lake Tekapo.
- Walking on the glaciers at Franz Josef and Fox Glacier is another must do, although you may find that a helicopter trip is the best way to view them though in all their splendour.