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Destination Guide - New Zealand

New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand also known as ‘the land of the long white cloud’ is a country full of adventure. You’ll discover something different and inspiring every day, that will leave you wanting more of this stunning country. Hike to the top of a Volcano, go snorkelling in clear, warm water, be captivated by endless mountain ranges or relax in natural hot springs. New Zealand has got something for everyone.

If you’re keen on history, nature, a year-round climate and myths and legends, then New Zealand is perfect for you. The two islands of enchanted Middle Earth, made famous by the Lord of the Rings films, offer many interesting and welcoming surprises to visitors.

New Zealand’s friendly and welcoming people, use of the English language, historic Maori culture and history, world cuisines, and weather perfect both for skiing and sun-bathing has rightfully earned the country a place at the top of many bucket lists. New Zealand may not be the cheapest place to fly to given its remote location, but Netflights.com offers the best deals around.

Other travel pages about the destination: Flights to New Zealand | New Zealand holidays

Most popular New Zealand holiday searches on our site:

Auckland holidays | Wellington holidays

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When to go to New Zealand

New Zealand’s contrasting climates on the North and South islands, ensures a visit at any time of year offers both hot sun and cold snow. There really is no advisable time of year to visit, as it depends on whether you prefer to spend your time in the ski resorts of the South Island, or on the beaches of the subtropical North Island.

As New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, winter lasts from May to September. Travelling during these months means that prices are often lower and attractions are less crowded. In winter the South Island is covered in powdery snow, whilst the North Island offers comfortable temperatures much like the spring months in Europe.

Auckland

Located in the far north of the North Island, Auckland is undisputedly New Zealand’s biggest and most popular city in the country. Spread across six distinct districts, each offering something completely different, Auckland has everything a tourist could wish for. Central Auckland offers world-class shopping, a lively waterfront scene and vibrant cultural attractions, East Auckland is home to many of New Zealand’s famous boutique vineyards and forests, and the Hauraki Gulf and Islands district is littered with secluded sandy islands, dolphins and sailboats. Visitors will never get bored in Auckland.

Christchurch

For something a little different, a city more reminiscent of Cambridge than London, Christchurch is New Zealand’s garden city. You can enjoy winding cycle paths along the Avon River, flat-bottomed boats that glide across the water and the scent of fresh flowers blowing from Christchurch Botanic Gardens. This small city on the east coast of the South Island offers a well-earned peaceful retreat when in this country.

Fun facts about New Zealand

  • New Zealand is the same size as England but has a tenth of the population, which means it's a lot less crowded
  • 20% of New Zealand is made up of natoinal parks
  • New Zealanders are known as 'Kiwi's' after their national flightless bird, the Kiwi, which can only be found in New Zealand
  • Blue Lakes in Nelson Lakes National Park, has the clearest water in the world.
  • Only 5% of New Zealand's population is human - the rest are animals
  • 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' were entirely filmed in New Zealand
  • The smallest dolphin in the world known as the 'Hector's Dolphin' can only be found in the waters of New Zealand

Experiences not to miss:

Auckland: Auckland is the capital city of New Zealand, but that doesn't mean skyscrapers, too many people and traffic. Jump on a ferry and make your way to Waiheke Island, a small Island 35 minutes from Auckland harbour. The island is known for its vineyards and amazing beaches. Why not do a winery tour or head to the beach for some sun and sea!

Cathederal Cove, Coromandel Peninsula:This gem is located on the eastern coast of New Zealand and is a popular tourist attraction. Starting off at the top, hike down to the bottom where you will find a picturesque, untouched naturally formed cove. Hire a Kayak and explore the surrounding islands and coastline, or bring out your snorkel set and discover the sea life while swimming in crystal clear water. Cathederal cove is the ideal place to ‘wind down’.

Marlborough Sounds: The Marlbrough region is known as New Zealand’s wine region and also boasts an amazing collection of islands called the Marlborough Sounds. Here you can often swim with the dolphins, snorkel, kayak or try deep sea diving. Located at the top of the South Island, the Marlborough region is also the sunshine capital of New Zealand with the most sunshine hours and highest temperatures found in the country.

Rotorua: The hottest destination (literally) in New Zealand is definitely Rotorua. And when we say hot we mean hot bubbling sulphur, exploding out of the ground – also known as ‘geysers’. Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity with hot mud pools and natural springs to relax in. It’s also got plenty of activities to keep you busy. The luge is a must-do activity, where you can have a turn at racing down the dry slopes in a buggy very similar to a toboggan. Here you can also learn about the Maori heritage and culture by attending a Maori Village show. 

Bay of Islands: Full of beautiful rugged coastline and amazing beaches. 144 islands encompass what’s known as the Bay of Islands. Make sure you visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds which is one of New Zealand’s historic sites. From here you can make a day trip to Ninety-Mile beach which is one of the longest stretch of beaches in the country, with huge sand dunes. You can also head up further north to Cape Rienga, which is the most northern point of New Zealand where you can see where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet

Queenstown: Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. This is where Bungy jumping and sky diving was born. With huge mountain ranges and scenery, this is arguably one of the prettiest towns in New Zealand. If you’re a thrill seeker, then try Bungy jumping, Sky Diving or Jet boating, in the winter there are plenty of Mountains and ski resorts to choose from. If you’re looking for some beautiful scenery, head towards the Milford Sounds, which offers some of the most breath-taking scenery in New Zealand. In Queenstown you have everything at your fingertips, mountains, rivers and lakes – you can never go wrong with Queenstown.