New Zealand is a diverse fantasy land of dramatic mountains and forested valleys, majestic ice floes and glacial lakes, dormant volcanoes and rolling vineyards. New Zealand’s all-conquering All Blacks would never have become back-to-back rugby world champions without their unstoppable Māori players. But this is just one example of how Māori culture impresses itself on contemporary Kiwi life: across New Zealand you can hear Māori language, watch Māori TV, join in a hāngi (Māori feast) or catch a cultural performance with song, dance and a blood-curdling haka (war dance). Māori design continues to find expression in tā moko,Māori tattooing (often applied to the face) and the delicate artistry of bone, shell and pounamu(greenstone) sculpture. There is perhaps nowhere in the world more enchanting, nor more naturally beautiful, than New Zealand.
Situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island lies the seaside town of Kaikoura. The town overlooks majestic mountains which are snow capped for many months of the year. Besides the beautiful landscape, the real attraction lies in the waters off the coast where an abundant rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds exists. In addition, you can see dolphins, seals, as well as enjoy swimming, fishing, and diving (including shark diving). In short, Kaikoura offers a large number of both land and water based activities like no other. Kaikoura is situated in the Canterbury region.
Accessible within a two hour drive from New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, the Coromandel is blessed with a superb climate coupled with some of New Zealand’s best beaches. A thermal beach called Hot Water Beach is one attraction worth seeing. Volcanic hills and the surrounding area are either farmland or left in their natural state which is a covering of lush temperate rain forest, making the the terrain ideal for trekking/walks. The abundance of fern species in the Coromandel gives the area a subtropical look and feel even though it has a temperate climate. The Coromandel Peninsula is situated in the Coromandel region.
Tongariro National Park
Tongariro National Park is a World Heritage Park and one of the oldest National Parks in the world. The park contains 3 prominent active volcanos that are situated in a desert like landscape. The area gets regular snowfalls in the winter and is home to most of the ski fields in the North Island. Mt Ruapehu the largest volcano last erupted in 1995 and 1996. This walk is a tough one day trek that comes highly recommended, as it shows off the best that this park has onoffer. Tongariro National Park is situated in the Taupo region.
Westland National Park
This national park is part of the South Westland World Heritage area and is famous for its mountains and two dominant glaciers, Fox and Franz Josef. If you want nature and spectacular scenery, and you don’t mind the likelihood of some rain, then Westland National Park is a great place to visit.
Westland National Park is situated in the West coast region.
Mt Cook National Park
Mt Cook and the surrounding area is an alpine park within the World Heritage listed South Westland. The biggest peaks are here including the highest mountain, Mt Cook, and neighboring peaks such as Mt Tasman, and Mt Sefton. Walks range from a two hour stroll to difficult tracks suitable for experienced mountaineers only. A helicopter or plane ride gives visitors unsurpassed views of the mountains with the option of landing at the top of Tasman Glacier. Mt Cook National Park is situated in the Canterbury region.
Bay of Islands
The subtropical Bay of Islands is the finest maritime park in New Zealand. There are around 150 islands to explore, many with superb beaches and secluded bays. This park has an abundance of marine life, including marlin, whales, penguins, and dolphins. The Bay as it is known attracts many people the world over including fishermen, golfers, marine enthusiasts, and of course tourist can enjoy the subtropical climate and swim in some of the best beaches in the country. The Bay of Islands is situated in the Northland region.
Accessible from New Zealand’s biggest city, (Auckland), Rotorua is famous for its volcanic activity. Rotorua is also famous for its plentiful lakes which are great for swimming and fishing. Mt Tarawera a nearby volcano offers spectacular scenery including superb views inside the rim of the volcano. Rotorua is also the best area in the country to experience and learn about Maori Culture. Rotorua is situated in the Bay of Plenty region.
For action adventure and scenery, Queenstown has it all. Fit for a queen, this beautiful lakeside town is surrounded by mountains and is one of New Zealands premier tourist destinations. Queenstown is also one of the southern hemispheres premier skiing destinations and enables skiers from around the world to ski during the northern hemisphere’s summer. If you are not an adrenaline junkie then Queenstown is absolutely still the place to go, even if it is to just admire the spectacular mountain scenery while enjoying the many cafes, restaurants, and shops on offer. Queenstown is situated in the Otago region.
Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman may be New Zealand’s smallest national park, but the attractions are huge. Located in one of New Zealand’s sunniest spots. Sea Taxis are also available and can drop you off at any number of beaches within the park. This gives you the complete freedom to do a full or partial trek. Kayaking here is popular and gives you access to all the beaches, including those that the walk misses out on. Abel Tasman National Park is situated in the Nelson region.
Fiordland National Park
Fiordland is home to Milford Sound described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ and Doubtful Sound which many say is even more spectacular. You can also dive in the fiords and see deep sea plants growing near the surface and the chance of seeing dolphins, seals, and rare bird life is high. If you are still not convinced about visiting, then there is also Mitre Peak a mountain that rises to the staggering height of 1 mile straight out of the ocean. Fiordland is however one of the wettest places on Earth and when it rains, thousands of waterfalls put on quite a show. Fiordland is situated in the Southland region.