It smells pure, it looks beautiful and it goes down a treat every time. New Zealand is well known for its wilderness, natural beauty and fine wine, but there are many more reasons to go. Here are 10 reasons to cross the ditch for yourself.
Poetic landscapes transform into dramatic trilogies in New Zealand. The scenery is nothing short of magnificent, from the reflections cast in still lakes framed by the yellowing leaves of autumn to jagged snow-capped peaks bound by alpine glaciers, piercing the clouds. Every combination is possible. There are beautiful beaches, soaring mountains, fjords, geysers, volcanoes, green valleys, islands and endless paddocks dotted with fluffy white lambs. Best of all, you don’t even have to get off the beaten track to witness it.
Our closest neighbour is pretty darn close. From Australia’s eastern seaboard at least, you’ll have to find less time to kill in the air than you would on a flight to western-hugging Perth. If you think about it, even a long weekend holds in it enough hours to dedicate to one particular spot that takes your fancy.
It’s impossible to tire of driving in New Zealand when it’s all so beautiful. Thankfully it also happens to be the best way to get around. Let four wheels give you the freedom to see it all and stop where you please – but be warned: just when you think you’ve pulled over to the side of the road for a photo of the most spectacular view, another lurks just around the corner.
There’s nothing like a little adrenalin pumping through the old veins. Whether on the water, in the air or on the ground (or falling to it), it’s possible to get a dose that’s just a little – or a lot. After all, the Kiwis invented the bungee, jet boat, ski plane, the Zorb and the Shweeb. Then there’s also black water rafting, mountain biking and canyoning – plus skiing – and if you want to go extreme, skydiving certainly is one spectacular way to take in the views while you’re getting your thrills.
Don’t mind a glass of wine at the end of the day? With a reputation for its outstanding wines, New Zealand is one place where you can start a little earlier than usual and not feel guilty. Taste-test the local drops at cellar doors and vineyards and speciality wine bars in the cities. From Marlborough to Hawkes Bay, stellar sips await.
Beautiful scenery and the sweet sounds of nature already induce blissful relaxation, but to make it even better, New Zealand is a land of natural springs, hot pools, day spas and health spas too. Perhaps a hot air balloon ride is more to your zen liking? Or else some paddling in a kayak or a wander through beautiful gardens, like the fairytale-like setting of Larnach Castle in Dunedin, which has been rated as a Garden of International Significance. Even just a few days spent in a luxury lodge spa bath and all will do it.
Climb a volcano, ski down one, bathe in its hot springs, spot spurting geysers and wander past boiling mud pools. Volcanic wonders take shape in many forms. But even just to admire these ancient landscapes rising and falling across the nation is mesmerising.
A city escape to New Zealand is as fruitful as every other inch of the two islands. Wellington is known for its vibrant creative culture and character-laden centre, Auckland offers cosmopolitan sights and easy access to many nearby sights and beautiful islands. Then there Christchurch, rising creatively from the rubble as the city rebuilds. Three main cities: three very different experiences.
Wild lands call for wild, well, wildlife. Here you can swim with dolphins and seals or simply spot whales from the deck. You can encounter albatross and tuatara, an ancient reptile, and glimpse with your own two eyes one of the world’s rarest penguins. A most iconic wildlife experience however is to spot a kiwi scuttling through the bushes.
Have some hiking boots that need a workout? Two feet lead the way down winding dirt paths, over wooden bridges suspended over gushing rivers and even through the waters themselves on shallow river crossings. New Zealand poses a maze of walking trails: your gateway to nature at its most pristine. Even without special equipment and far from the far-reaching itineraries of a multi-day treks, even just short meanders measuring in the minutes can reward its conquerors with but a taste, as well as lookouts and many a picture-perfect view.
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