A Beginner’s Guide To New Zealand and Spectacular Destinations
Popularly described as The Paradise of the Pacific, New Zealand is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. According to the New Zealand Tourist Board, the annual number of visitors is set to peak 3.2 million. For a country with a total population of just 4.2 million people, this represents the highest number of visitors per capita in the world.
The country is a magnet for adventurers, luxury tourists, holiday makers, epicureans and eco-tourists.
If you intend to visit New Zealand for the first time, you are basically spoiled for choice. The country has the richest variety of historical treasures, culinary delights, cultural experiences and eco diversity you will find anywhere.
However, in order to get the best of what New Zealand has to offer, here are a few destinations you may want to include in your itinerary.
Fabulous Destinations in New Zealand
Fondly referred to as the “City of Sails”, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. Delicately perched between two idyllic harbors – the Manukau and Waitemata – the city is endowed with pristine beauty, exciting culture, rich history and a boisterous nightlife.
Your first stop has to be the Sky Tower – the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere. You can climb up the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the city. You can also enjoy a delicious meal in the iconic revolving restaurant. And, if you are an adrenaline junkie, you can take the popular 142 meter jump (many celebs including Beyonce have taken the leap).
You can visit the harbor and go racing upon America’s Cup Yachts, or ride on the New Zealand-created Sea Legs – a craft which travels on water. You can also tour the Waiheke – dubbed the Hamptons of New Zealand.
This idyllic island is full of cozy restaurants, art galleries, luxury spas, boutiques, wineries and clubs. Auckland also has numerous beaches, museums, restaurants and many hotels.
Hamilton & Waikato
Located along the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton and Waikato are New Zealand’s premium agricultural regions. Its rugged landscapes, rolling hills and network of mysterious caves has made it popular destination for adventurers and explorers.
You can visit the Waitomo Caves to enjoy hiking, tubing, climbing, exploration and whitewater rafting. You can also enjoy blackwater rafting through the dark, mysterious caves.
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, then you definitely have to pay a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata. This permanent movie set offers you an up-close experience with Hobbits. You can follow Bilbo Baggins footsteps, and enjoy an unforgettable journey into the mystical world of Hobbits.
If you love wildlife, you can visit the 3,400ha Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve. Here, you can view unique species like the kiwi, takahe and kaka.
Queesnstown – Your Adventure Destination
With its picturesque scenery, rugged mountains and endless adrenaline thrills, Queenstown is New Zealand’s premium adventure destination. If you are a true thrill seeker, then you have to visit the Canyon Swing – a 200 meter bungy jumping cliff.
Alternatively, you can take a high-speed on the Shotover Jet over the choppy waters of Lake Wakatipu. And for a truly memorable experience, you can take a chopper down to one of the world’s most spectacular golfing experiences – playing golf on glacier.
For more adventure, you can go hiking along popular trails like Routeburn and Milford Sound. These trails wind through the most scenic landscapes in New Zealand. And for a culinary adventure, you can pop into Fergburger and savor iconic burgers like Cockadoodle and Little Lamby – rumored to be the most delicious burgers in the world.
Bay of Islands New Zealand
Bay of Islands
Made up of up to 144 islands, this is the perfect place to sample New Zealand’s natural beauty. The islands boast of many beaches, some of which have a postcard-like magnificence: emerald-blue waters, white sands, and palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. There are also numerous bays where you can go swimming, kayaking or scuba diving.
The Bay of islands is the perfect place to view New Zealand’s rich marine life such as the penguins, big marlin, dolphins and whales. It is also the perfect place to go fishing, canoeing, snorkeling and exploring the numerous islands.
Blenheim – New Zealand’s premier wine growing region
One of New Zealand’s most popular attractions is the traditional Maori culture. The best place to have a personal encounter with the Maori is in the town of Blenheim in Marlborough. You can visit traditional Maori hunters, listen to their folk songs, watch their dances and learn about their beliefs and ancient survival tactics. The Maori aside,
Blenheim is also New Zealand’s premier wine growing region. You can visit any of the 74 wineries, and taste some of their legendary vintage wines. You can also tour Blenheim’s environs which feature some of the most spectacular landscapes in New Zealand.
You can go biking, hiking, forest walking or star gazing at night. You can also visit the Omaka Aviation Center – a WWI memorial with ancient aircraft, artillery and cemeteries. You can hear the heroic tales of the “Knights of the Sky” – WWI pilots.
In a nutshell, those are some of the top destinations in New Zealand. So pack your bags and get ready to explore!
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“A kiwi is not a fruit, it is New Zealand’s own native flightless bird.”