From mountain peaks to deep fiords to rolling plains,
New Zealand’s landscapes offer incomparable beauty with
a relatively small - yet very hospitable population. It’s
an unspoiled nation of remarkable vistas, with more than half
the country protected as national park or reserve land.
About the same size as California, the country is made up of three islands: the North Island, South Island, and Stewart Island. Each area is home to its own special treasures.
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The North Island, Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua
The North Island is home to the international gateway, Auckland
– a city located between two harbors and devoted to
sailing culture. Auckland is a cosmopolitan city, with a population
of over one million. It boasts a thriving cultural scene,
with museums and galleries. The Auckland Museum houses the
world’s largest collection of Maori artifacts.
In the far north, the Bay of Islands is home to uncrowded
beaches, ancient kauri forests, and fruit-growing areas. It’s
a great place for golf, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving,
surfing, and dolphin watching. The region is also home to
much of New Zealand’s colonial history, including the
Waitangi Treaty House, location of the treaty between the
British and the Maori — the country’s first settlers,
Polynesians who arrived about a thousand years ago.
Rotorua, toward the center of the North Island, is an area
steeped in Maori culture. Visit the Maori Arts and Crafts
Centre, or take part in an evening "Hangi" (feast)
with a traditional song and dance show. You can even visit
a replica Maori village, to learn what life was like in New
Zealand before the arrival of European settlers. The region’s
active geothermal features include boiling mud pools, spouting
geysers, and natural spa pools. Between Rotorua and Auckland
are the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, featuring yawning caverns
filled with stalagtites and stalagmites, and an underground
river lit only by the eerie glow of tiny creatures high above.
At the southern end of the North Island lies Wellington,
capital of New Zealand. Here, you can visit the Parliament
buildings, botanic gardens, or the acclaimed Te Papa Museum
of New Zealand. With over 350 restaurants, bars, and cafés,
Wellington has more dining choices per capita than New York
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The South Island, Christchurch and Queenstown
The South Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most
striking landscapes… perfect for outdoor adventures.
Christchurch, the “Garden City,” is also called
the “most English city outside England.” The largest
city on the South Island, it is filled with beautiful parks
and gardens, through which the Avon River runs. Whale-watching,
visiting the International Antarctic Centre, punting on the
Avon, hot air ballooning, and wine tasting are some highlights
of a visit to Christchurch.
Toward the center of the South Island, Queenstown is the
adventure capital of New Zealand. Activities include jetboat
rides, garden tours, lake cruises, helicopter flights, bungy
jumping, golf, skiing, gondola rides, guided walks, fishing,
skydiving, wine tasting, and much more. If there’s any
outdoor activity you crave, chances are you can find it in
Queenstown! By far the most popular activity is the trip to
Milford Sound, including a launch cruise on this stunning
Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, is located on the
southern coast. It is home to Edwardian heritage buildings,
museums, galleries, and New Zealand’s first university.
The nearby Otago Peninsula is a haven for wildlife, including
seals, dolphins, albatross, and penguins.
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