From its active volcanoes, deep glacier lakes, and unique wildlife , one thing’s for sure, in New Zealand there will never be a dull moment. Packed with unforgettable landscapes and an unparalleled combination of lakes, mountains, and lush greenery, you will understand it truly when you actually see it.
So, are you ready?
Welcome to New Zealand.
This beautiful island nation is home to just over 4 and a half million people, that go by the nickname “Kiwi.” Taken from the country’s national symbol, a flightless bird called, you guessed it, the kiwi.
New Zealand has two main islands. North Island and South Island. Also with 600 smaller other islands, New Zealand is an incredible destination to discover.
Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand and also the southernmost capital city in the world. Auckland, the original capital city, is the largest city and goes by the name “the city of sails.”
That makes sense when you consider Auckland has more boats per capita than any other place in the world!
What else does New Zealand have more of than the entire planet? Sheep. Hopefully you’re a fan of these furry farm animals because there are about 30 million sheep.
Your mum won’t worry about you throughout your kiwi adventure either because New Zealand has remained firmly in the top 10 safest countries for several years running.
They’re also comfortably progressive, having been the first major nation to allow all citizens the right to vote, regardless of gender.
When to Visit New Zealand
Well just to be clear, there’s never a bad time to travel to a place like New Zealand. Even then travellers should be ready for weather that can change unexpectedly.However most places throughout the country receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and because of the low levels of air pollution, the sunlight is especially radiant.
While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, the inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C (14°F). In winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures year round.
The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel down south.New Zealand’s Summer runs from December to February and is the peak travel season. It is also the perfect time for enjoying activities like hiking, scenic driving, winery tours, and surfing.
If you’re lucky, you can find dolphins off the country’s long coastline. Autumn settles in from March to May and the views of fall foliage are truly something to cherish.
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Winter lasts from June to August, and this is when you can expect the ski season to begin. Spring is enjoyed from September through November and offer a beautiful combination of spring blossoms and snow-capped mountains.
Once you’ve satisfied your desire to explore it’s time to sit down and enjoy some delicious local cuisine
And just what is waiting for you at the dining table?
Let’s find out…
New Zealand’s cuisine draws on Polynesia, Asian and European inspiration and the results are staggeringly delicious.
A typical kiwi breakfast consists of cereal, toast and either a cup of coffee, tea, juice or milk. On weekends, locals sit down to plates of scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans.
After a long morning outdoors, you’ll need to enjoy a quick hot pie to re energize. These small pastries come in a variety of flavours ,filled with mince and cheese, bacon, egg and steak.
Once the evening rolls around, enjoy servings of roast lamb, mutton and of course battered fish and chips. Due to New Zealand’s long coast line the selection of seafood is quite diverse. Succulent oysters, mussels, shellfish, king salmon, snapper, scallops and whitebait – a true Kiwi delicacy.
The most common way to enjoy these small baby fish are as whitebait fritters. Prepared only with egg white mixed with the delicious whitebait these omelets are a treat.
If you’re looking for a refreshing dessert, then help yourself to pavlova. This meringue-based dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.
While touring New Zealand, be sure to give equal time to its lively cities and its more stunning natural landmarks.
Here’s a look at the best places to visit in New Zealand.
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The Coromandel Peninsula.
If you want to show off your surfing skills, then head to Whangamata, situated on the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island.It is famous for its white and golden sand beaches that frame magnificent coastal scenery, and other natural wonders.
Visit Thames, a small but picturesque city with a rich history of gold mining. Stop at Hot Water Beach, where visitors can dig their own hot pool from the springs under the sands.
Once the weather warms up you can catch the surf on the curving Bay of Plenty or along the untouched beaches of Gisborne.
A coastal town situated a few hours north of Christchurch, Kaikoura is famous for its marine and eco-friendly lifestyle. Its landscape brings the country’s stunning coastline, shoulder to shoulder with its jagged mountains.
Renowned for its fishing opportunities, the town has lots of activities to keep you occupied. Spot dolphins, whales, and other exotic marine species on a cruise.
You can also join them with a wetsuit and scuba dive amidst some of the best reefs in New Zealand.
You can find the Glacier on the Western Coast of South Island, and its jewel is the Westland National Park.Here, you’ll have the chance to see the country’s two most spectacular glaciers:Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.
Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers on the planet, which means you can actually walk up to the glacier through the glacier valley itself.
Guided tours give you a closer look at the expanding glaciers. Soak and relax in the incredible glacier hot pools after a day of hiking.
Feeling like a wealthy seaside town in England, Napier is a charming place to kick back and relax, with a romantic air about it.
With lovely 1930’s facades and delightful streets to explore, its collection of art buildings is spread with brilliant cafes.
Napier has several beaches nearby, as well as a fantastic aquarium to check out.The marvelous wineries just outside of the city are also well worth exploring.
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Rotorua is renowned for its fabulous hot springs and geysers that are absolutely everywhere.Situated at the heart of a Volcanic Zone, the city is the North Island’s most popular tourist destination. Steam and spray constantly cloud its streets and the scent of sulfur hangs heavy in the air.
While its nature reserves are home to vents and lakes, a sizeable Maori population enjoys the town with their culture.
Of course there’s also ziplining, bungee jumping, and skydiving.
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Each offer unique and exhilarating views of places like Auckland Harbour, and Queenstown respectively. In fact you can enjoy any one of these thrill-seeking experiences pretty much anywhere throughout the country.
Once you’ve lost yourself in the isolation and majesty of nature, grab a few of your fellow travel companions and go jet boating through Queenstown’s Shotover River,
Bay of Islands.
The Bay of Islands is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.The picturesque area contains 144 islands, many secluded bays and some great sandy beaches.
This beautiful bay has an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins, dolphins and the big marlin.Not surprisingly, it is a popular tourist spot for sailing yachts on world cruises and international sport fishermen.
Auckland, the City of Sails is the most populated city in NZ and is located on the North Island. It is known for its vibrant culture and foodie landscape.For amazing views of this beautiful metropolis, climb the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and heritage of NewZealand, then check out the Auckland Domain.This is the oldest part of the city
If you want to take things a tad slower, hit up one of New Zealand’s countless golf courses. Enjoy the stunning greens in Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington.
Here you’ll find great exhibits of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts at the iconic Auckland Museum.
On New Zealand’s South Island is Queenstown. A dream destination for adrenaline and adventure junkies.
Surrounded by the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, and right on the banks of deep-blue Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is also an incredibly beautiful spot.
One of the best ways to experience the scenery is on Lake Wakatipu itself. You can cycle around the lake’s perimeter or set off on a cruise of the lake’s magnificent waters.
There is also a vibrant nightlife with the town’s small central area packed with bars and restaurants.For the snow bunnies, strap on your skis and fly to the top of Queenstown’s mountains to enjoy ski peaks and valleys.
Tongariro National Park.
The first national park of New Zealand, Tongariro is known for its surprises and extremes.The park’s diverse range of ecosystems includes active volcanoes, herb fields, untamed forests and desert-like plateaus.
Start your trek at the Visitor Center, just a three hour hike from the stunning Taranaki Falls.The short hike will take you through scrubland and forest and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions.
One of the most scenic spots in New Zealand is the Fiordland National Park. Here, you can set off on incredible hikes, fish for trout or cruise on the spectacular fjords.
Milford Sound is the biggest attraction in Fiordland, and it is a true fjord created by a glacier. On a cruise through Milford Sound, you can admire the sheer rock faces towering over the water and even see wildlife like dolphins and penguins.
We hope these tips ensure that your next great Kiwi adventure will be a truly inspiring one. If you still can’t get enough then check out Days to Come for more inspiration travel tips. If you’re ready to experience the country for yourself, simply visit lonelyholiday.com today.
As they say in New Zealand, Kia Ora!
Until next time!