New Zealand is high on the list of places to visit for holidaymakers across the globe, and when you’re based in Australia, it makes sense to take the short flight over. It's conveniently close yet still feels like another world.
What you experience in New Zealand will depend on how long you have to explore. It’s a small place, but you need to plan your trip well to make the most of it, as there’s so much to see.
Driving distances in New Zealand can often take longer than you expect mostly because the roads are narrow and winding, or perhaps some sheep have blocked the way, or you stop every 50 kms for a photo shoot of the breathtaking scenery.
It goes without saying that Wellington is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
From its underground bar culture and culinary delights to its breathtaking day trips, you can keep everyone happy whether you’re flying solo or travelling with the family.
Said to have more bars and restaurants per capita than New York, Wellington is widely celebrated for its good taste. Leave the diet at home and immerse yourself in the culinary capital for coffee, cocktails, cafes and some very fine dining. All the main hot spots are within easy walking distance if you are centrally located.
Wellington’s compact geography makes for an easy shopping experience. The city is full of fashionable stores and boutiques, centered around Cuba, Willis, Victoria, Wakefield and Featherston Streets and the Golden Mile on Lambton Quay. The range of stores stock the hottest New Zealand and international designs, and stylish vintage wares.
One of the best places to stay in Wellington is around the central Harbour. From here, you can experience unique whale, dolphin, seal or penguin encounters in Wellington Habour. And if you don't mind getting wet, you might even get a chance to swim with the whales or dolphins. If you prefer to stay on dry land, you can visit a seal or penguin colony to view these entertaining creatures in their natural habitats.
Only have one week on New Zealand's majestic South Island? Whilst it's not quite long enough to see everything, you can certainly tick some of the highlights off the list.
Queenstown’s Lord of the Rings scenery coupled with modern amenities, make it a perfect launch site to see the South Island.
About four hours north of Queenstown is Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie National Park.
The region is renowned the world over for its incredibly clear starry nights, brilliant sunny days, remarkable turquoise blue lakes, valleys of emerald green and snow-capped mountains.
Shaped by extreme forces of nature, massive glaciers line the land, leaving a trail of lakes and rivers across the landscape.
The snow capped Southern Alps stretch across the western horizon and Aoraki / Mount Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain at 3,724 metres above sea level.
Lake Wakatipu is an inland lake in the South Island of New Zealand. The lake is famous for its scenic beauty and is surrounded by mountains. The Maori people have all sorts of myths and legends for how things in New Zealand came to be. They even have one for the legend of Lake Wakatipu, which is well worth exploring if you’re interested.
Described by Rudyard Kipling as the 'eighth wonder of the world', Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. The fiord's cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards, some as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, the waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect.
One of the most picturesque settlements in New Zealand is Arrow Town. It sits alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River and was established in 1862, during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today.
A special highlight is the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings paints a picture of earlier times.
Whilst in Arrow Town, stop at the bakery and indulge in a world-famous bolognese pie.