New Zealand is that country to the south east of Australia. Because both these countries are close together on the other side of the Pacific from the west coast of North America, they are often combined into one visit which is a shame. They are entirely different from each other and even within each country the landscape changes dramatically as you travel. Try avoiding this two-country combination unless you have quite a bit of time to spend traveling. In this article we will concentrate only on New Zealand. Here are eight reasons why you need to visit this country.
Reason 1: The Countryside
New Zealand stretches over 2 main islands, North & South, and encompasses about 600 smaller islands. Because of its length of about 1600 km. (990 miles) from tip to tip, its diversity is great. There are lush green pastures and rolling hills dotted with sheep, rain forests, and active volcanoes and geysers. Along its 9,300 miles of coastline, it sports beautiful beaches and breath-taking fjords depending on where you are. It is like a journey to several countries with dramatically different landscapes, but you are visiting only one.
Reason 2. No Worries Travel
There’s little to worry about in your journeys around the country. Act with caution as you would anywhere including at home. You don’t have to drink bottled water, or look askance at street vendors, or pass by public washrooms. New Zealand is safe and clean. Out in the country if you are hiking or biking, there is no dangerous wildlife or snakes. Public transport is available, easy to use, and again, clean. If you must travel from the north to the south, flights are available and under two hours. If you rent a car, one thing to remember and it might take getting used to, is the driving is on the left.
Reason 3: Its People
Believe it or not, this country was one of the last settled places on earth. It wasn’t until the 13th century that Polynesians made a landfall. The Maori culture is their legacy. Colonization by Europeans began in the 17th century. Today New Zealand is part of the British Commonwealth and the official languages are English and Maori. Known as “Kiwis”, New Zealanders are friendly, outgoing, and sporty people in general which makes it a delight to interact with them on your visit. They will always make you feel welcome.
Reason 4. Accommodations
Unless you are visiting on a cruise, you have a variety of accommodation options from luxury hotels to hostels. And then there are the unusual places to lay your head. Stay in a glass house near Christchurch with fabulous vistas and a view of the Southern night sky. Be brave and spend the night in a haunted castle on the Otago Peninsula. Retreat to the Mother Goose rhymes of your childhood and sleep in a boot in Nelson. Or be a cowboy one night and sleep in a covered wagon. It’s great fun for the adventurous at heart.
Reason 5. Eat, Drink & be Merry!
With rich pastures for cattle and lamb, over 500 vineyards, and extensive access to the sea, there is no end to the rich, natural array of foods with which New Zealand chefs create their culinary offerings. Be sure to taste local dishes with your daily dining. Award-winning restaurants are not unusual.
Reason 6. The City-Life.
Wellington, the capital city on Cook Strait, on the North Island is a must-see. Here you can stroll the waterfront promenade, sun on the beach, or visit the Botanic Gardens above the city. Of course, you will get there by its famous red cable car. The city is compact so you can easily stroll about visiting its restaurants, quaint cafes, and shops for which it is known. Auckland, also on North island, is another great city to visit with its two harbors, the Sky Tower, an extinct volcano in its park, fabulous restaurants, and more. Queenstown on the South Island is a great jumping off point for exploring and adventure sports.
Reason 7. The Adventure.
If you love sports and action adventure travel, New Zealand is a must. You can hike or bike or kayak. If that’s too tame try bungee jumping (it started here!), sailing, river jetting, or skydiving to name a few sports. Less stressful outdoor activities such as fishing or swimming with dolphins are also available.
Reason 8. Variety of Experiences.
All manner of experiences are on offer here from farm visits to vineyard tours to gondola rides with meals. To enjoy as many activities during your visit as you can, just about every activity mentioned in this article (and many unmentioned) can involve being whisked to and from by helicopter. And then there are sight seeing tours from the vantage point of a helicopter tour. If you are a Tolkien fan, no visit to New Zealand would be complete without visiting the various settings of the movies, and having your photo taken, or taking a selfie, in front of a hobbit house.
As you can see there is much a visit to New Zealand can encompass. A travel professional will design a custom tour for you taking into account the activities you enjoy and those you would like to experience as well as arranging your transportation and accommodations, all with your budget in mind. Ready-made tour and cruising options are also available, so you are spoiled for choice. This is a country you don’t want to miss.
Miles of Coastline (image: Pixabay)