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milford sound, New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world, boasting sublime landscapes, wonderful weather and fascinating culture.

Stunning attractions such as Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka and Fiordland National Park provide breathtaking scenery and outstanding photo opportunities. While New Zealand is often incorrectly viewed as the smaller sibling of Australia, it offers a vastly different, unique experience for travellers and makes for a fantastic holiday destination.

Currency: The New Zealand dollar is the country’s currency and currently equates to 48p.

Climate: Weather here varies depending on location, with the north of the country enjoying subtropical weather in summer and southern regions seeing much colder forecasts.

Customs and etiquette: English is the most common language in New Zealand, but Maori is used by some of the population, too. This has seen the two merge in some towns and cities, with both vocabularies influencing each other.

Auckland

Auckland Skyline

As one of the top tourist destinations in New Zealand, Auckland is overflowing with amazing attractions. Whether you want to visit a winery and see where some of the world’s top drinks are made, encounter sharks in the wild or simply enjoy the stunning scenery, you will find something to keep you entertained.

The city is steeped in rich history and was named the capital of New Zealand in 1840 after being colonised by European settlers. It later lost the capital status to Wellington, but remains the largest city in the country and is a favourite among tourists across the world.

Nature lovers will be sure to enjoy the Tiritiri Matangi Reserve, which is home to a stunning variety of birds and is one of the most exciting conservation projects in the country. Some of the globe’s rarest animals live here, including the flightless Takahe.

In the city centre, amazing attractions such as the Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Museum await. The Sky Tower provides some truly breathtaking views of the city, while Viaduct Harbour is an amazing place to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.

Must see: Cornwall Park is a fantastic place to relax and soak in the city’s peaceful atmosphere.

Shop: One of the best malls in New Zealand is the Sylvia Shopping Centre and it is in Auckland, boasting more than 200 stalls and a host of dining and entertainment options.

Getting around: Buses are the most commonly used form of transport in Auckland and are operated by MAXX. The services are reliable, inexpensive and frequent.

Wellington

Wellington Harbour, New Zealand

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is a thriving metropolis full of exceptional things to do and has some of the country’s most fascinating museums for tourists to explore.

The Wellington Cable Car is one of the iconic attractions in the city and transports passengers from Lambton Quay to Kelburn, where there is a fantastic vantage point to see the city’s stunning landscape.

Much like Auckland, Wellington boasts some fantastic wildlife, such as the Zealandia sanctuary in Karori. The area, which is made up of 225 hectares and is home to a range of wildlife, is being designed to look identical to before humans roamed the world.

Must see: Mount Victoria offers some of the most breathtaking views in the world and makes for a great walk.

Shop: The Old Bank Arcade provides a host of amazing boutique shops, which is perfect for tourists looking for some late night shopping.

Getting around: The cable car is one of the most popular forms of transport in Wellington, but it has very limited capacity. Buses, trains and ferries are all common for visitors and Metlink offers an easy journey planner for travellers.

Rotorua

Geysers at whakarewarewa, New Zealand

The cultural centre for indigenous Maori population, Rotorua, is set close to the lake of the same name and has stunning geysers, exploding mud pools and hot springs.

Its unique attractions and laid-back atmosphere make it highly popular for travellers. While Rotorua may not have the big city appeal of Auckland, it presents a relaxed culture and a perfect place for those looking for a relaxing retreat.

The Redwoods in Whakarewarewa Forest are another big attraction for visitors, offering exotic tree species, incredible panoramic views and stunning lake views. There are more than 5,600 hectares of forest awaiting travellers, making the area perfect for fans of the outdoors.

The Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are another amazing treat for visitors and are the ideal place to relax and soak up the magnificent wildlife.

Must see: The Tamaki Maori Village gives travellers a great insight to the Maori culture and its ancient traditions.

Shopping: The Central Mall Precinct is the place to be for shoppers with many national chains to choose from.

Getting around: With many great attractions situated close to each other, it is easy to explore the city by foot, but those wanting to travel more quickly should use the local CityRide services.

Christchurch

Christchurch tramway, New Zealand

Located on the east coast of the country, Christchurch has a strong reputation for amazing scenery and thought-provoking museums. If you want to explore the great outdoors or find out more about New Zealand’s history, this is the perfect city for you.

Among the top attractions in Christchurch is its world-renowned Botanic Gardens, where travellers can explore a site full of beautiful exotic plants, enjoy a picnic and simply get away from it all.

The TranzAlpine Train is another exceptional option for visitors, giving them fantastic views of the beautiful New Zealand scenery and a truly unforgettable journey.

Must see: Hagley Park is an amazing destination for a relaxing afternoon walk.

Shopping: The Saxon Square Shopping Centre is full of popular brands and independent shops, offering plenty of variety for visitors.

Getting around: Buses are the easiest way to travel around Christchurch, with five colour-coded routes running through the city.

Dunedin

Larnach castle dunedin

As New Zealand’s oldest city, Dunedin boasts a rich history and has a strong Scottish background after early settlers from the country were welcomed.

It is popular with tourists thanks to its outstanding landscape and laid-back atmosphere, which make it a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of some of the country’s larger destinations.

The Otago Peninsula is one of the top destinations in the city and provides some truly majestic walking routes, including some over sand dunes and others across the stunning coastline.

Must see: Otago Museum is full of insightful artefacts and gives visitors a detailed look at the city’s storied past.

Shopping: The most popular shopping area in Dunedin is around the George and Princes Streets.

Getting around: Bus is the most popular way to travel around the city, with Go Bus Transport and Ritchies Transport running the main routes.

Queenstown

Queenstown gondola

Activities such as canyon swings, sky dives and speed boat tours are particularly popular here thanks to the city’s sublime coastal location. If thrill-seeking isn’t quite for you, there’s still plenty to see here, with some of the most treasured trails in the world that offer unbelievable views of the New Zealand landscape.

When you’ve had a day of exploring, you can settle down in one of the many excellent restaurants in the city centre, including Taco Medic, where tourists can enjoy some of the best tacos in the country.

The Ivan Clarke Gallery is also a fantastic option for visitors looking to explore some of the best contemporary art in the country.

Must see: The Glenorchy-Queenstown Road is a must for visitors interested in taking in the amazing New Zealand scenery.

Shopping: Remarkables Park Town Centre is the best place to visit for those looking forward to exploring the top high street brands.

Getting around: The best way to travel around Queenstown is by using the public bus network.

Whangarei

Amos chapple Kauri cliffs Northland

As the northernmost city in New Zealand, Whangarei benefits from a picturesque coastal location and is the Northland Region’s capital. With plenty of amazing parks and stunning scenery, it is a truly sublime holiday destination.

Art fans will find much to enjoy at the city’s Art Museum, while the art Deco restaurant offers a sophisticated take on New Zealand dining. Fans of the outdoors are simply spoilt for choice across the city, including the mesmerising Whangarei Falls.

For the best possible view of the amazing destination, Mt Manaia is the place to be and offers magical views of the northern coast.

Must see: The Adventure Forest is the perfect place for some family fun and includes a number of picturesque walking routes.

Shopping: The Strand Shopping Centre is the most popular place to visit to purchase the latest brands.

Getting around: The CityLink bus service is the best way for visitors to explore Whangarei.

Bay of Plenty

Mount Maunganui Bay of Plenty

With a magical volcanic landscape, amazing beach resorts and traditional Maori villages, Bay of Plenty is a stunning departure from the country’s mainstream culture.

Mount Maunganui is one of the most popular attractions in the bay and is the perfect place for unforgettable views of sunset and sunrise. The Waiotapu geothermal reserve is another must-visit location and allows visitors to enjoy spectacular geysers.

After a day of walking, the Polynesian Spa at Bay of Plenty is the perfect place to put your feet up and make the most of the laid-back atmosphere.

Must see: The Government Gardens need to be seen to be believed, with a wide variety of colourful plants and a wonderfully laid-back vibe.

Shopping: Bayfair Shopping Centre has 100 retailers ranging from fashion to departmental stores and health and beauty.

Getting around: The best way to travel around Bay of Plenty is by using the Bay Hoppers, which cover all major shopping and tourist destinations.

Hamilton

Bridal veil waterfall

Home of The Shire from the incredible Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies, Hamilton attracts thousands of tourists from across the world.

The Hobbiton Movie Set is just east of Hamilton in Matamata and features the Hobbit village created especially for the trilogy. At the complex, you can get a fantastic understanding of how the film’s unforgettable scenes were brought to life and marvel at one of the world’s most eye-catching film sets.

Away from Middle Earth, Hamilton has plenty to offer, including the Classics Museum, where a wide variety of vintage cars are stored. Another great attraction is Lake Domain, providing the perfect place for a peaceful retreat away from regular life.

Must see: The Waikato Stadium, home of the Chiefs, is a fantastic option for sports fans

Shopping: The Regent Shopping Centre provides a great mix of high-street brands and boutique stores.

Getting around: Bus is the number one way to get around in Hamilton, with InterCity providing the main services. 

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