Arthur's Pass is the highest pass over the Southern Alps. Long before surveyor Arthur Dudley Dobson found his way over the pass in 1864, it was known to Maori hunting parties as a route between east and west. The eastern side of Arthur's Pass National Park is characterised by wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast beech forests. The western side of the park, where wet weather is more common than dry, has deeply gorged rivers flowing through dense rainforest. Down the middle of the great divide'is an alpine dreamland of snow-covered peaks, glaciers and scree slopes.
Auckland serves as a gateway to all of New Zealand and has something to offer for everyone. One of the world's most livable and beautiful cities, Auckland boasts a sunny, warm and temperate climate, great beaches, a beautiful harbor, fantastic shopping, a vibrant nightlife and a diverse population that creates a colorful blend of European, Polynesian, and Maori cultures.
Set on a field of ancient volcanos, Auckland is a stunning city where you are always just a half hour from exquisite beaches, hiking trails, breathtaking islands and a full range of outdoor activities.
The Bay of Islands is a natural wonder consisting of 144 islands surrounded by some of the warmest waters in New Zealand where you can encounter bottlenose dolphins, whales, seals, penguins and a diversity of birdlife. This is the place for bird lovers to see the Blue Penguins as well as Grey Warblers, Tui, Pukeko, and the endangered New Zealand Dotterel. You can begin your vacation with a visit to the awe-inspiring Hole in the Rock, or a boat adventure ride on the Excitor or go to the culturally and historically rich Hokianga. Travel further north and experience the thrill of driving along Ninety Mile Beach, sand boarding down the giant sand dunes and standing on the windswept tip of New Zealand, while watching the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean collide. Don't miss the ancient Giant Kauri Trees of the Waipou Forest, especially the extraordinary 2,000 year-old, 167 ft high Tane Mahuta, with its amazing 45ft trunk circumference!
Blenheim is situated in the Marlborough region of New Zealand on the north east corner of the South Island, due west of Wellington city. For centuries it has offered safe harbour to travellers sailing to the spectacular South Island: first the Maori traders and war parties; then explorers like Captain James Cook and Dumont d'Urville; and now, to visitors seeking a retreat from city pressures, as they discover the unspoilt haven and foodie heaven that is Marlborough today. Blenheim's attractions include its wine industry, the Marlborough Sounds, gourmet foods and adventure activities.
Christchurch City is a cosmopolitan place with exciting festivals, theatre, modern art galleries and great shopping. This city is full of delights, from the beautiful neo-gothic Arts Centre, to the historic tram which loops the city centre, to the Christchurch Gondola and unique attractions like the International Antarctic Centre. Known internationally for its award winning gardens, Christchurch is also a place for events and festivals. Whatever the season, you'll find a non-stop programme of entertainment with events like the Festival of Romance, the International Buskers Festival, winter Arts Festival, and Showtime Canterbury in November.
The Coromandel Peninsula is famous for its natural beauty - misty rainforests and pristine golden beaches, it is blessed with hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to slow down, relax and unwind. Having a wide range of trails to explore, from short coastal walkways to multi-day treks, the region will delight you at every turn. You can go for a swim, take a boat cruise, be fascinated by the amazing seascapes of Coromandel's marine reserves, or visit an artists studio. An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at Hot Water Beach - a long beautiful white beach located between Tairua and Whitianga, so you can sink yourself into a sandy thermal bath, and then dive into the cool waters of the bay.
Located the region of Otago in the South Island of New Zealand, Dunedin is considered one of the country's four main centres for historical and cultural reasons. There are former private residences worth visiting like Olveston, a Jacobean-style family home and Glenfalloch, surrounded by 12 hectares of woodland garden. Neo-Gothic Larnach Castle represents the finest of 19th century craftsmanship. A natural attraction on the Otago Peninsula is the abundant wildlife including: fur seals, endangered yellow-eyed penguin, cormorants and albatross. The Peninsula is also home to Otakou marae, one of the original sites of the local Kai Tahu Maori. As well as Otakou, the Kai Tahu, had major bases in the South Island at Kaikoura, Kaiapoi, Lake Ellesmere, Akaroa and Ruapuke Island.
The Fox Glacier is a 13 km long glacier located in Westland National Park, on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. This is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, with its terminal face an easy walk from Fox Glacier village/Weheka. Fox Glacier is an exciting land of discovery, and a major tourist attraction, about 1000 people daily visit it during high tourist season. Here you can put your footprints onto a high alpine snow field, walk deep into the towering rainforests, explore the blue ice caves of the glaciers, admire the mirror views from Lake Matheson and visit the Seals at Gillespies Beach. Enjoy what this magnificent untouched landscape has to offer.
Franz Josef is a small town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. The glacier's terminal face is 5km from the town and its accessibility makes it a major tourist attraction and the main reason to visit Franz Josef. This is one of the few glaciers in the world not receding because of global warming. The scenery changes every day on the glacier because it is constantly moving and new routes are always being made. If you budget permits you, try the scenic helicopter flight with the glacier landing, it will be unforgettable. If you're into hiking, there are full day and half day options and easy/ beginner climbs to difficult/more competent climber routes. If you're lucky you'll spot a 'kea' or alpine parrot.
The wildest side of New Zealand, the West Coast has an impressive landscape of brooding mountains, icy glaciers and surreal coastal formations. Greymouth, the largest town in this region, is a peaceful place: the residents are friendly and the city has a unique flavor of both English culture as well as some Maori. It is both rich in history and steeped in Maori heritage. South of Greymouth, nearby Shantytown offers a fascinating insight into the gold rush days of the 1880's, re-creating the atmosphere of the era. There is a steam locomotive offering rides. Also, Greymouth is the terminus town for the TranzAlpine rail journey. This spectacular journey across the Southern Alps from Christchurch is considered to be one of the world's great rail journeys. Don't miss: the Art Gallery, Monteith's Brewing Company and the History House!
New Zealand's largest inland city, situated on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is the centre of the Waikato Region, one of New Zealand's richest agricultural region. Being in the hub of central North Island, visitors have easy access to iconic attractions such as Waitomo Caves, the Hobbiton film set, Raglan's surf coast and the historic Te Aroha Mineral Pools and much more. Hamilton offers plenty of opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy themselves including indoor and outdoor attractions and tours. Admire the raw natural beauty, an underground wonderland of limestone caves and rolling farmland. You go on a kayak trip to Raglan or Karapiro, with Kayak Paradise and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the waterways.
Situated midway between Christchurch and Picton, on the rugged east coast of New Zealand's South Island, Kaikoura boasts a unique combination of ocean and mountains offering to its visitors breathtaking coastal alpine scenery. Whether you are looking for relaxation, eco-tourism oriented activities like whale watching, dolphin swimming walks; or you simply look for art, history and culture, or fine wines and cuisine, Kaikoura offers it all. Experience some of the best reef diving in the country, or kayaking around the ruggedly beautiful Peninsula. For those who enjoy walking, the Kaikoura area offers walks for all tastes and levels of fitness, ranging from thirty minutes duration, to half and full day tracks and more energetic tramps and climbs.
Lake Tekapo is a village located at the southern end of the lake of the same name in the inland South Island of New Zealand. The lake is a popular tourist destination, and several resort hotels are located at the township. The lake`s outflow into the Tekapo River is close to the village. Stay overnight to fully enjoy a sunset free of day-trippers and the wondrously clear night skies.
Located in the heart of New Zealand's Alpine country, at 3754 meters, New Zealand's highest peak was named Mt Cook after the British explorer Captain James Cook. Although it encompasses 23 peaks over 3000 meters high Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is very accessible. State Highway 80 leads to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village which is situated beside scenic Lake Pukaki and provides a comfortable base for alpine activities. At Mt Cook Village you can experience life at its best: enjoy safaris, boating on the glacier lakes, horse treks, fishing, scenic flights with snow landings and numerous walks and hikes. During the winter guided ski experiences onto New Zealand's longest glacier, the Tasman, is a popular activity and a unique Mount Cook wedding location! Mountaineers regard the area to be the best climbing region in Australasia.
Napier is a popular tourist city, famous worldwide for its unique concentration of 1930s Art Deco architecture. Thousands of tourists visit Napier every February for the Art Deco Weekend event, a celebration of its Art Deco heritage and history. The city also has one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the country, a statue on Marine Parade called Pania of the Reef. Other tourist attractions in Napier include The Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery which features information on both the 1931 earthquake and Napier's redesign as an Art Deco city, the National Aquarium and the Soundshell. Other notable tourist events attracting many visiters include the region's annual Wine & Food Festival (named Harvest Hawke's Bay), and Mission Concert at the Mission Estate Winery in the near by town of Taradale.
Located on the shore of Tasman Bay, Nelson is a popular tourist destination, an irresistible blend of lifestyle and stunning landscape. It has a vibrant local music and arts scene hosting popular events such as the Nelson Arts Festival and the annual Wearable Art Awards. Nelson Provincial Museum showcases the Nelson region's history holding over 1.4 million treasures collected during the past 160 years in a modern building. Nelson has a variety of public parks and reserves such as Abel Tasman National Park, Kahurangi National Park and Nelson Lakes National Park. The compact Natureland Zoological Park close to Tahunanui Beach is popular with young children, where they can closely approach wallabies, monkeys, meerkats, llamas and alpacas, Kune Kune pigs, otters, and peacocks. There are also turtles, tropical fish and a walk through aviary.
Nestled at the head of the Marlborough Sounds, some of the most beautiful waterways in the world, and located in one of the sunniest parts of New Zealand, Picton is a great holiday destination. It's the perfect base to explore the Marlborough Sounds and surrounding areas home to one of the largest collections of New Zealand marine life: seahorses, preserved giant squid, sharks, rays, octopus, crayfish, cod, snapper, rocky shore display, life-size Orca and Hectors dolphin models. A wide range of outdoor activities like fishing, walking, tramping, kayaking and cycling is popular with overseas tourists and locals. While in the township, don't forget to enjoy the gardens on the foreshore, or learn about Queen Charlotte Sound's whaling past at Picton Museum.
Queenstown is the centre for adventure tourism in New Zealand. The town is built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu and has spectactular views of nearby mountains. Queenstown provides a wide variety of sports including skiing, jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain biking and tramping. In winter Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country, and the world for that matter, travelling to ski here. Locally, Queenstown has a reputation as one of New Zealand's wine and cuisine centers. and also has a vibrant nightlife.
Known as a spa town and major tourist resort since the 1800's, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. There are a number of geysers, notably the Pohutu geyser at Whakarewarewa, and hot mud pools located in the city, which owe their presence to the Rotorua caldera. Don't miss the opportunity to visit a traditional Maori Marae. Rotorua is also home to botanical gardens and some interesting historic buildings. Government Gardens, close to the lakeshore are also well worth visiting. Another of Rotorua's attractions is the mountain biking. Whakarewarewa (also known as the "Redwoods") Forest has been described as 'the Disneyland of mountain biking' and has some of the best mountain bike trails in New Zealand. Rotorua hosted the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, in August 2006.
Situated in the volcanic heart of the North Island and surrounded by bush clad mountains and a breathtaking landscape lay the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere - Lake Taupo, fascinating geothermal areas and the famous Huka Falls. Lake Taupo's geothermal attractions include geysers, steaming craters, boiling mud pools and some of the largest silica terraces in the world. Other special experiences include the walk to Huka Falls and a game of golf at Wairakei. With 47 rivers and streams flowing into the lake, this area is renowned for trout fishing and kayaking. The water is stunningly blue, the air fresh and unpolluted, the towns are bustling with cafes and exclusive shopping - scenic delights greet visitors at every turn.
Nestled on the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau, at the borders of Fiordland National Park the town of Te Anau is the gateway to a wilderness area famous for breathtaking sceneries and beautiful eco locations. Fiordland Wildlife Park is home to many species of birds, notably the endangered Takahe. Known as the Walking Capital of the World, Te Anau is located close to the main southern walking tracks, including the Milford, Hollyford and Kepler Tracks. Tourists can choose from a wide variety of activities including scenic flights, launch cruises, sea kayaking, underwater diving, cycling, fishing and more. The unique Te Anau Glowworm Caves are another main feature of Te Anau. Just a twenty minutes drive from Te Anau you will rich the picturesque Lake Manapouri.
The Tongariro National Park encircles the volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Giving you the opportunity to discover the secrets of the volcanic wilderness and to experience where adventure happens, National Park Village is an ideal base for your summer and winter explorers. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, completed by about 70,000 hikers every summer, features breathtaking volcanic scenery and fine views of Lake Taupo and Mt Taranaki. Overnight challenges include the four-day Northern Circuit and the six-day Round the Mountain track - one of New Zealand's Great Walks. The park also offers many shorter walks to waterfalls and fascinating volcanic features - including the crater of Ruapehu. In the winter National Park Village is the ideal base to Ski Whakapapa and Turoa Ski fields on Mt Ruapehu, you can hire your ski gear, purchase your mountain pass, and have a selection of accommodation options.
Lake Wanaka is the perfect setting for an unhurried weekend getaway, an action packed outdoor adventure, a leisurely family holiday and a photographer`s dream. There`s no shortage of activities for all ages on land, on water or in the air. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. With its beautiful lake and mountain views, Wanaka has become a popular tourist resort.
Surrounded by a natural amphitheatre of wooded hills, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, the country's second largest urban area. Wellington features a variety of architectural styles ranging from 19th century wooden cottages, such as Katherine Mansfield Birthplace in Thorndon, some streamlined Art Deco structures such as the old Wellington Free Ambulance headquarters, to the curves and vibrant colours of post-modern architecture in the CBD. Both the National Library of New Zealand, located on Molesworth Street, and the Te Puni Kôkiri building on Lambton Quay are aesthetically unique. Wellington is home to Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the Colonial Cottage, Old Saint Paul's, and the Law School (largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere) and the Wellington City Art Gallery.
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