Widely considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world, New Zealand boasts everything from soaring mountains and smouldering volcanoes to sparkling lakes, sweeping valleys and a long and scenic coastline. Besides exploring its vast tracts of pristine wilderness, visitors can check out its countless charming towns, stop by cosmopolitan cities such as Auckland and Wellington or delve into the rich history and culture of the Maori.
Set in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, the isolated island nation lies roughly 2,000 kilometers east of Australia with New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga lying to the north. Although over 700 smaller isles and subantarctic archipelagos are also included as part of the country, most of its landmass consists of the more populous North Island and slightly larger South Island. Very mountainous in nature, its long and narrow confines encompass not only some gorgeous countryside and forests but steaming hot springs, glistening glaciers and beautiful beaches too.
Most people’s first port of call is New Zealand’s largest city Auckland which is set in a stunning spot between two huge natural harbors. Home to a wealth of excellent museums and art galleries, it has lots of great shops and restaurants to try with enticing beaches, rainforests, hot springs and wineries located nearby.
Its capital Wellington also attracts countless visitors thanks to its lovely waterfront and thriving arts and culture scene while Rotorua is the place to go if you want to bathe in hot springs and learn more about the Maori’s unique culture and customs. Queenstown is another hugely popular destination as the ‘adventure capital of the world’ has everything from bungee jumping and zip-lining to skiing, mountaineering and paragliding for you to enjoy.
Indeed, one of the main reasons people visit New Zealand is for its incredible outdoor activities and spellbinding scenery. Besides hiking up the enormous Aoraki mountain and kayaking alongside the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park, you can visit the idyllic Hobbiton Movie Set, see cute penguin colonies at the Otago Peninsula and take unforgettable cruises through its fabulous fjords.