6 Reasons to Rediscover New Zealand
Just across the Tasman lies one of the world’s great destinations. New Zealand is a natural wonder with a roll-call of one-of-a-kind experiences with an international appeal all of their own, writes Lucy Jones.
1. Cruise The Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is NZ’s own little piece of sub-tropical paradise. Made up of more than 140 islands off the far east coast of the North Island, the region is dotted with unspoilt beaches, charming colonial villages, boutique vineyards and luxury lodges. It’s best seen from the water and, luckily, there are countless yachts and catamarans all waiting to sail you into those crystal waters.
2. Fly High in Queenstown
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and you can find adrenaline-pumping activities on land, in the air and on water. Jet-boating was invented in NZ and the 85kmh ride along the Shotover River – through some seriously narrow gorges – is one of the country’s best. Also on offer? Whitewater rafting, scenic helicopter flights and 4WD safaris.
3. Marvel at Milford Sound
In a nation loaded with cinema-worthy landscapes, Milford Sound stands out as one of the most extraordinary. This jaw-droppingly beautiful fjord cuts through the south-west coast of the South Island, and features soaring mountains, dramatic cliffs and thundering waterfalls. Cruising through the channels, you’ll see wildlife such as dozing fur seals and curious dolphins.
4. Raise a Glass in Marlborough
Marlborough sauvignon blanc is regarded as one of the best in the world and there’s no better place to drink it than at the source. Marlborough, on the northeast tip of the South Island, is the largest wine-producing region in the country, with more than 120 wineries. And if sav blanc is not your thing, try the pinot noir, chardonnay or pinot gris.
5. Immerse Yourself in Rotorua
Rotorua is, quite literally, a geothermal hotspot. With bubbling mud baths, hot pools and geysers, the whole region is evidence of the awesome power of nature. It’s also the place to immerse yourself in New Zealand’s history, learning about Maori arts, culture, dance and hospitality. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the traditional feast called a hangi.
6. Soar over Mt Cook
There’s something at New Zealand’s tallest mountain (also known as Aoraki) for everyone, from cross-country skiing to meandering mountain paths. It all comes with spectacular views of icy glaciers and milky lakes. If you’d prefer to take in the view from above, a helicopter flight over the mountain is an incredible experience and gives you direct access to the glaciers.