Few destinations ignite the imagination the way New Zealand does. The diminutive two-island nation is filled with scenery best described as epic (think craggy peaks, vast beaches, dense forest, and crystalline fjords). And with the diversity of landscape come plentiful ways to take advantage of the great outdoors—hiking and biking are just the tip of the iceberg here. In one trip, you can immerse yourself in Māori culture in Rotorua, taste wine in the vineyards of Martinborough, and take a whale-watching tour off the coast of Christchurch.
Where should I go in New Zealand?
New Zealand is split between the North Island and the South Island, each offering something different. While the North Island is more densely populated and famed for authentic immersion into Māori culture near Rotorua, it is also known for the bustling city of Auckland, stunning beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula, and famous landmarks from the Lord of the Rings movies such as Hobbiton. In contrast, the South Island is better known for the “adventure capital of the world,” Queenstown, and the surrounding natural beauty found among must-visit sites such as Mount Cook, the Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, and the fjords of Milford Sound.
When is the best time to visit?
New Zealand’s rugged landscapes, natural beauty, and adventure-filled activities make it a spectacular destination to visit year-round. Between the months of December and March, you can expect bright and sunny days with temperatures ranging between 60°F and 75°F—the perfect weather to enjoy beaches, hiking, and other outdoor activities. New Zealand also makes for an exciting getaway between June and September, when snow arrives to beckon skiers and other winter adventurers to the South Island and the mountains of the North Island. Learn more
Things to do in New Zealand
Travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to adventure in New Zealand. Cruise the iconic fjords of Milford Sound, Bungy jump off a bridge in Queenstown, immerse yourself in local Māori culture, or hike the skyscraping peaks of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Take a guided tour of the Franz Josef glacier, catch a glimpse of seal pups playing in the waters of Abel Tasman National Park, whale-watch in Kaikōura, or see the stars like never before at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve—the largest gold-standard Dark Sky Reserve in the world.
How many days do I need in New Zealand?
Whether your travels take you to New Zealand for one week, two weeks, a month, or more (and there's plenty to fill that time), you'll have lots of options for getting around. Tackle one of the country's famous "Great Walks," multi-day treks through dramatic landscapes immortalized by Lord of the Rings. Get up close with the Waimakariri River gorge and the snowy Southern Alps on a relaxing South Island train journey. Or rent some wheels and road trip from Auckland to Milford Sound, utilizing an inter-island ferry. The country may be small, but the possibilities are endless. Learn more
Getting around New Zealand
Most international travelers arrive by flying into either Auckland or Christchurch. Domestic flights serve every large and medium-sized city in the country, while self-driving allows access to more remote areas such as national parks and mountainous regions. To travel between the North and South Islands, you'll need to fly or take the car-friendly ferry between Wellington and Picton. Learn more
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