New Zealand is often described as one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Its stunning scenery, friendly people and wide open spaces make it a popular destination and the ultimate place to escape. Here’s why you should love it.Search for flights within New Zealand
When it comes to scenery, New Zealand packs quite a punch for a small country. You’ll be stunned by the pristine beaches, majestic snow-capped mountains, stately forests, geothermal wonders, mysterious sounds and fiords. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Better still, NZ’s size means getting around is easy, so you can see a range of landscapes with minimal driving. The land of the long white cloud will take your breath away. That’s a promise.
Land of a living culture
Maori culture is a part of everyday life in New Zealand. The South Pacific is full of interesting native cultures, and NZ is no different. The country largely embraces its Maori heritage, with cultural offerings dotted around the country.
You’ll hear the Maori language being spoken wherever you go, and get a chance to experience other parts of the culture first-hand. You could enjoy a traditional feast cooked in a hangi pit, watch a Māori powhiri (welcome), visit a local marae or take in a kapa haka performance that will send chills down your spine. If you really want to get hands-on, you could take a haka lesson or get a traditional Maori tattoo. The latter, called a ta moko, is often applied to the face.
New Zealand has 14,000km of coastline and is a beach-lover’s dream.
The west coast’s dramatic, windswept beaches give way to the soft golden sands of the east coast, and both set the scene for all kinds of water activities. There are sheltered lagoons that offer safe swimming for children, secluded bays boasting natural hot pools and massive sand dunes made for tobogganing down. Plus the surf is world-class. Raglan, on the North Island’s west coast, for example, is said to have one of the world’s best left-hand breaks.
The adventure activities
If you’re looking for activities that will get your heart racing, you’ll find them here. Known as the birthplace of adventure tourism, New Zealand offers a vast range of thrilling options. Skydiving, zip lining, luging, bungy jumping (which was invented here, by the way), jet boating, white water rafting…the list is endless. For the less brave, there are soft adventure and family-friendly options that still provide a wee thrill.
Each town and city in New Zealand has its own unique character. Auckland, the country’s biggest city and its powerhouse, is a sprawling metropolis of two million people. That’s big by Kiwi standards.
Known as the city of sails, Auckland is built around two harbours and lends itself to outdoor activities galore. Everything is at your fingertips here, so it’s no wonder Aucklanders are a proud breed who feel no need to leave their piece of paradise. If Auckland is New Zealand’s business and travel hub, Wellington is its heart. Venture into the CBD of this quirky city at any time of day or night and you’ll find the streets crowded, noisy and full of quirky characters. The steep, winding streets Wellington is renowned for are ideal for walking; there are hidden pockets everywhere and always something to discover. The film industry started by Sir Peter Jackson, known as Wellywood, has put Wellington on the international stage. Head down south and you’ll find Christchurch said to be the most English city outside England, historic Dunedin with its stunning architecture and Scottish ambience, and the adventure capital, Queenstown, which is surrounded by snowy mountains and is nothing short of gorgeous. Between these main cities are a host of other towns, cities and rural villages all with something to offer.
Life in the slow lane
Life moves at a slower pace in this part of the world; Kiwis are renowned for their “no-worries” attitudes and relaxed natures. They also love to talk and share stories about their country, so they welcome tourists with open arms and are always willing to help. They work hard but play hard too, and they know how to appreciate every moment. If you like warm, friendly, creative people – and who doesn’t? – this is the place for you.
From A to B
Getting around NZ is a breeze. There are plenty of good deals on domestic flights, bus fares are cheap, or you could invest in a campervan and see the sights at your own pace. Better still, the buses run on time.
If you’re driving, you’ll find the traffic light, most things well signposted and the roads well maintained. Just remember to drive on the left.
Wining and dining
World-class wines are among New Zealand exports and, with an abundance of wineries around the country, you’ll have opportunities galore to sample a drop or two. Kiwis embrace their fine wines with various festivals held around the country each year. Craft beer is on the rise and there are plenty of boutique breweries worth visiting. Lamb and venison are popular delicacies, and make sure you try kumara (sweet potato).
New Zealand’s size means you’re never far from the coast, and many Kiwi chefs draw inspiration from the Pacific. You’ll find seafood dishes on most restaurant menus and they’re among the world’s best. Availability of some items depends on the season. The many vibrant farmers’ markets have delicious goodies galore and there’s always a good coffee to be had.
The lack of crowds
There are about 4.6 million people living in New Zealand, with roughly the same land size as England. So there are plenty of wide open spaces. If you want to get away from the madding crowd to be at one with nature, bird watch, read, paint, or something else, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to places to escape to.