New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes have bewitched seafarers and travelers for centuries, its high peaks and forested valleys showing a prehistoric world to those who venture to its shores. Experience its natural splendor as you hike mountain ranges, raft down wild rivers, wander along volcanic-sand beaches or relax in thermal pools. See if you can recognize scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy or Avatar when you delve into New Zealand’s primeval forests. Discover the country’s unique heritage when you experience Māori cultural traditions and learn about the English settlers who arrived here nearly 200 years ago.
Two distinct islands make up the country of New Zealand. In the North Island, you’ll find the busy harbor of Auckland, as well as beautiful beaches and laid-back seaside communities at the Bay of Islands and Coromandel. Experience the curative qualities of hot springs in Rotorua and find out about the Māori way of life amid the steaming geysers of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. Tongariro National Park is a majestic reserve where you can hike through meadows in the foothills of active volcanoes.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city and lies on the southern end of the North Island. Ride the Wellington Cable Car to look out over the city or explore the native plantings in the Wellington Botanic Garden. The city is also home to several exciting museums and a multicultural dining scene.
The South Island contains the rugged landscapes of New Zealand’s glaciers, fjords and temperate rainforests. See tranquil lakes and immense glaciers when you explore Mount Cook, Franz Josef or take the scenic railway through Arthur’s Pass.
The cozy mountainside cities of Queenstown and Dunedin are perfect hubs for skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer. Ride on horseback along the Otago Rail Trail or rent a kayak to cruise around the pristine waters of Milford Sound. If it’s extreme adventure you seek, you can go bungee jumping in several locations, including the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge.
New Zealand is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean and is easy to access via one of its five international airports. Flights from Melbourne and Sydney in Australia take approximately 3 hours to reach New Zealand. With its varied landscapes and rich cultural heritage, New Zealand is a year-round destination.