Uncrowded, green, peaceful and accepting – New Zealand is the ultimate escape. It is a small country, about similar to the site of Japan or the UK, but with only four million inhabitants. It represents the best of old and new worlds with social and environmental sensibility. Sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches and even fiords or glaciers successfully made this country to one of the best hiking destinations on earth.
How to get there by plane?
There are a couple of (international) airports available. Most people fly either to Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland.
How to get there by land?
As you can imagine, it is not possible to reach New Zealand’s North or South Island by car, train or bus from outside New Zealand.
Within New Zealand it is pretty easy to travel by car, train or bus and a ferry runs between the North and South Island.
There are a couple of different visa types that you can apply for. Most people either go for a Visitor Visa or Working Visa. Citizens of the so-called Visa Waiver Countries do not have to apply for a visa at all before traveling to New Zealand if you are visiting for 3 months or less. British Citizens are even allowed to stay for 6 months max.
The local cuisine is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations. It is a diverse British-based cuisine with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country becomes more cosmopolitan. Historical influences came from Maori culture while New American cuisine, Southeast Asian, East Asian and South Asian culinary traditions have become a part of New Zealand dishes since the 1970s.
How To Travel: The North Island
The Forgotten World Highway, NZ oldest heritage trail, is 155 km long and will take you along ancient Maori trade routes and pioneering farm tracks, through ambitious historic settlements, untamed native bush and stunning natural scenery.
The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is part of the Tongariro Northern Circuit Great Walk, is the most popular (and often also described as the best) one-day trek in New Zealand. Others even say it is amongst the top ten single-day treks in the world.
The lively surf town Raglan not only offers some pretty good spots to catch some waves, it also has an interesting creative culture and after a great session of surf you will definitely find a good espresso or snack in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Wild west coast beaches, rainforest, volcanoes, natural landscape, metropolitan delights and a buzzing urban lifestyle – Auckland has the perfect mixture of it all. It is a place where big-city style and stunning beauty go hand-in-hand.
How To Travel: The South Island
The Garden City Christchurch is not only home to more than 740 parks, but also can be considered as New Zealand’s first founded city. It features some stunning ocean to Alps hinterland and offers a big diversity of heritage conservation and regeneration, while not forgetting the city’s history.
The picturesque Bank Peninsula will spoil you with awesome scenery on your way to Akaroa. Once you arrive in the charming French-influenced village of Akaroa, you will quickly find out that there are numerous activities to choose from.
For more than 100 years holidaymakers have been flocking to Timaru and Caroline Bay, one of New Zealand’s safest beaches for swimming. And for sunset you should definitely make sure to be at Caroline Bay to see the penguins coming home after a long day in the sea.
The little town of Oamaru will offer you a couple of reasons to visit and maybe even stay for a while. It is not only the whitestone townscape with some of the best-preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand, or the active steampunk scene which drives visitors here, it above all are the penguins who give people a reason to stay.
The thriving city of Dunedin with its rare and unique has it all – from the world’s steepest street to the rare yellow-eyed penguin. Set amidst a magical landscape edged by the sea, this city is a place where the streets hum with color and culture.
If there is one must-do in New Zealand it certainly is going to one of the sounds in Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound probably is the most popular and less expensive choice, due to its easy access by road.
The township of Glenorchy, also known as the “Gateway to Paradise”, sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and the 48 km drive from Queenstown is absolutely spectacular – you will follow the edge of Lake Wakatipu and pass through small bays and native forest.
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park: Here we met New Zealand’s highest mountain: Mount Cook at 3724 m. Surrounded by stunning snowcapped peaks, tussock lands, glaciers, incredibly blue lakes and a picture perfect landscape this scenery provides the perfect backdrop for some amazing hikes around this epic mountain.