About New Zealand Travel
Auckland: The largest city in New Zealand, it is both cosmopolitan and relaxed. It is nicknamed the City of Sails because there are more boat owners here than in any other city in the world. This is reflected in its water-oriented lifestyle, from sailing to whale and dolphin watching to deep-sea fishing. Howick Historical Village reflects life as it was in the mid-1800s. National Maritime Museum and Parnell Colonial Village and Rose Gardens are interesting as well as the Town Hall, known for its impressive heritage buildings. Great shopping and dining make Auckland a delicious way to begin any New Zealand adventure.
Rotorua, Waitomo & Taupo: Rotorua is the remarkable “Thermal City.” Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserves have boiling mud pools and active geysers that are fascinating to watch. Working farms present demonstrations showcasing the talents of working sheep dogs and the variety of sheep that contribute to New Zealand’s worldwide reputation for fine wool products. The Waitomo Glow Worm Caves is a stunning underground wonderland, magically lit by glow worms. Lake Taupo is the largest lake by surface area in the country, and is a trout fishery with stocks of introduced brown and rainbow trout.
Queenstown: Born during the 1860s gold rush era as a mining camp, Queenstown retains an element of that frontier excitement and energy. It is evident in its nickname, New Zealand’s ‘Adventure Capital.’ This is the place for adventure sports – bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, sky diving, hot-air ballooning, hang gliding and mountain biking. This is the gateway to some of the most magnificent scenery.
Milford & Doubtful Sound (Te Anau): The region has achieved UNESCO World Heritage status for its famous landscapes, including Mitre Peak, Milford and Doubtful Sounds and Mount Aspiring National Parks. Doubtful Sound, also called “the Sound of Silence,” possesses a sheltered serenity that contrasts with Milford Sound. New Zealand fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins inhabit many of the small islets. Doubtful is also the deepest of the fjords, with three distinct branches with several outstanding waterfalls. Doubtful Sound can be explored in a kayak, on a cruise, as a day trip or overnight. The extraordinary beauty has earned this region its status as a ‘must see’ for anyone traveling to New Zealand. The hub of the fjord region is the attractive town of Te Anau, nestled on the edge of a beautiful lake, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison Mountains.
Christchurch: Christchurch, the garden city, is known for its variety of festivals that encompass the arts, hot-air ballooning and flowers. It has many gardens as well as shopping, art galleries and fine restaurants. The unique International Antarctic Centre is the only attraction where you can experience an Antarctic storm, first hand. The Canterbury Museum is home to the Scott and Shackleton Antarctic Expedition exhibit. The Anglican Cathedral, Canterbury University and its museum, Christchurch Art Gallery, Avon River and the botanic gardens are all worth exploring.
Bay of Islands: The Bay of Islands in the northern region of the North Island is about 37 miles northwest of Whangarei, close to the northern tip of the country. This is an area of particular beauty and has been popular for deep-sea fishing and boating since American author Zane Grey publicized it in the 1930s. Ninety Mile Beach (actually 55 miles) stretches just west of Kaitaia towards Cape Reinga along the Aupouri Peninsula. The lighthouse at the cape bears witness to the majestic display of the Tasman Sea clashing with the Pacific Ocean. According to Maori legend, the cape is where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. Cape Brett’s lighthouse dates back to 1908.
Coromandel: Coromandel town and harbor are on the east coast of the North Island. Both were named for the ship HMS Coromandel, which sailed into the harbor in 1820. The town became a major port serving the peninsula’s gold mining industries in the 19th century. Today, Coromandel is noted for arts and crafts, mussel farming and recreational fishing. Hot Water Beach on the east coast of the peninsula has underground hot springs at the beach. Within two hours before or after low tide, it is possible to dig into the sand, allowing hot water to escape to the surface forming a hot water pool. The water temperature can reach 147ºF!
Hawke’s Bay: Hawke’s Bay is home to some of the country’s award-winning wineries. On the east coast of the North Island, it encompasses a large semi-circular bay some 62 miles long. There are dozens of wineries as well as orchards and olive groves. Napier is known for its Art Deco architecture. The city experienced an earthquake and fire in 1931. It was rebuilt in the Art Deco-style popular at the time. Today, it represents the most complete and significant group of Art Deco buildings in the world.
Marlborough Sounds: The region appears in stories and legends of the indigenous Maori. The famous Captain James Cook favored Marlborough Sounds as a base while charting New Zealand in the 18th century. Today, it is Marlborough’s year-round sunshine and easy-going lifestyle that draw people here. With forests, trout-filled rivers, rugged backcountry and sheltered bays, it is a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. There are opportunities for sailing, diving, fishing, biking, kayaking and hiking. More leisurely pursuits include vineyard tours, strolling through formal gardens, browsing galleries and craft studios and wonderful dining. The wildlife includes dolphins, seals, spotted and king shags, tiny blue penguins, native bellbird, tui and other birds. Blenheim is the largest town in the Marlborough region.
Arthur’s Pass and Lake Moeraki: In the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, both Arthur’s Pass and Lake Moeraki offer a wide range of adventure activities – hiking, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife treks, fine dining, and much more. Arthur’s Pass is the center of the Southern Alps and is surrounded by Arthur’s Pass National Park. Lake Moeraki rests in the wild heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Southern Alps (Franz Josef/Greymouth): Haast Pass is the entryway to World Heritage Westland National Park with its dramatic mountain ranges, native forests and lakes. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers offer rewarding adventures such as optional scenic flights over, or guided walks on one of the glaciers. Greymouth is home to the Tranz Alpine Train, which travels through lush beech forests and past the village of Arthur’s Pass before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps.
Wellington: Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is set on the edge of a peaceful harbor and surrounded by rolling hills. It is an amiable city with boutique shops, galleries and great restaurants – all within easy walking distance of downtown. The city on the North Island is bounded on three sides by water. In 1839, the first Europeans settled here. As the nation’s capital, Wellington has a rich cultural life that includes Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre and National Portrait Gallery.
Suggested New Zealand Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand
Day 2: Auckland / Waitomo / Rotorua
Day 3: Rotoura
Day 4: Rotoura / Queenstown
Day 5: Queenstown
Day 6: Queenstown
Day 7: Queenstown / Christchurch
Day 8: Christchurch / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Bay of Islands (3 days)
Dramatic beaches and chiseled islands of the far north of the North Island are gems of extraordinary beauty.
Coromandel (4 days)
Coromandel is noted for its artists, crafts, mussel farming and is well known for exceptional recreational fishing.
Hawkes Bay (4 days)
Award-winning wineries are found here; and Napier is renowned for its Art Deco architecture.
Marlborough Sounds (4 days)
Picture-book scenery of forests, trout-filled rivers, rugged backcountry, established vineyards and year-round sunshine make the region a favorite.
Arthurs Pass and Lake Moeraki (5 days)
World Heritage listed Westland National Park encompasses spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes.
Southern Alps (5 days)
The glacier region of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers is simply stunning. The Tranz Alpine Train travels to Arthur's Pass before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps.
Wellington (3 days)
In the midst of rolling hills and a lovely harbor, the capital city is easily walkable with boutique shops, galleries and great restaurants downtown.