|As mentioned above, New Zealand is an amazingly beautiful country with stunning scenery, yet interspersed with modern and bustling cities where the majority of the population lives. It has built quite a reputation as the place to go for outdoor pursuits as well as exciting, adrenalin-rush activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving to name a few!
New Zealand is composed of several islands. The largest two are North Island and South Island, plus Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands.
North Island : The largest city on North Island, and in fact the whole of New Zealand, is Auckland. This is a modern city which has the uniqueness of having two harbours on completely different stretches of water! Auckland’s most popular attractions include the Sky Tower, which gives views of up to 50 miles distant. The Auckland War Memorial Museum is one of the best museums in New Zealand, though is not just a war museum, but also includes human and natural history too.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, known as Windy Wellington because it’s situated on the coast and does experience a far amount of wind. As well as being the political capital, it is also New Zealand’s arts and culture capital and has much heritage.
There are many hills around Wellington and so there’s always an opportunity to get a great vantage point. Most are accessible by walking although some do have buses which take you to the top. There’s also the popular Wellington Cable Car which runs up to the Botanic Garden and gives a good view on its travels.
Two other popular cities on North Island are Rotorua and Tauranga. The former is famous for its Maori culture and has a number of hot pools and geysers, and the latter is famous as being a great holiday spot with good weather and nice beaches.
The town of Taupo sits at one of the largest lake in the Southern Hempisphere, Lake Taupo. This is a very popular area for all sorts of outdoor activities, watersports and sightseeing, including the Huka Falls, Waipahihi Botanical Reserve and climbing Mount Tauhara.
South Island : The South Island also has several important cities, plus some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Nelson is a great city to use as a base for exploring the surrounding National Parks, of which there are three here. Queenstown is one of the adrenalin and adventure capitals of the world, where you can do just about everything!
The Southern Alps run the length of the South Island and include seven National Parks along their way. The Fiordland National Park is the largest, covering 1.2 million hectares, which makes it also one of the largest national parks in the world. It includes the famous Milford Sound, which has breathtaking scenery, wonderful waterfalls, dolphins, seals and penguins.
You can get to Milford Sound by air, or take a tour bus or cruise from Queensland or Te Anau, or for the more fit who have more time to spare, take a 5 day walking tour.