New Zealand is without a doubt, the most scenic country anywhere in the world. The privilege to travel or tour throughout both the north and the south islands is one that is enjoyed by many and never forgotten. Most tourists to New Zealand return time and time again to enjoy its fantastic attractions, warm and welcoming atmosphere and its wonderful people. New Zealand is one of the most exothermally active regions in the world and has many active volcanoes. It is located on the Pacific Rim of Fire which is the fault line where massive tectonic plates move against each other in the South Pacific region. It is a country which is young geographically and both islands have a central spine of high mountains, valleys caused by ancient glaciers and now rich agricultural regions and many of the most beautiful lakes imaginable. All of this makes an organised tour of New Zealand one of the most popular ways to see this magnificent country's attractions
The coastline is wild and windswept and the coastal scenery is amazing. It lies mostly in low latitudes, which means that the further south you go, the more extreme the weather can become and during the winter months, heavy snowfalls are commonplace. This combined with the elevation of its mountain ranges have combined to produce one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations in the world. The people of New Zealand are of two main racial types. The Maori people are the original inhabitants and they migrated to New Zealand around a thousand years ago from the Polynesian islands. They covered vast oceans in huge double canoes and had mastered the art of celestial navigation to guide them on their voyages. European settlers began to arrive in the early 1800’s after the discovery of New Zealand by Captain James Cook. Sailing ships brought early settlers, who set up farming and grazing communities throughout the country. The treaty of Waitangi is the historical document that was agreed to by both the Maori people and the European settlers and its signing by both set up one of the few joint administrations that gave rights to both sides to guarantee the stable government of the country.
There are two main islands in New Zealand and they are geographically named. The North Island is the place that has the greatest population. Auckland, in the north, is the largest city and the place where most international tourists arrive from their overseas destinations. The city of Wellington lies in the south and it is the nation’s capital. On the North Island are many places of spectacular beauty and interest. In the far north is the magnificent Bay of Islands region. This is where the treaty of Waitangi was signed and the region comprises a beautiful bay and many fantastic islands that create a region that attracts yachtsmen, fishermen and tourists who come to see the wonderful scenery.
On the west coast are the ancient Kauri forest of New Zealand and you can still see the second largest tree in the world here, known to the Maori as “Tane Mahuta”. South of Auckland is a tourist paradise. In the center of the Waikato region is the Rotorua and Taupo region that is the place to see the geysers and pools of boiling mud in the heart of the most active volcanic region in the world. The Tongoriro National park is home to three active volcanoes and Mount Ruapehu is home to one of the few skiing resorts in the world that is situated on the slopes of an active volcano. On the east coast are the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay regions and these are famous for their fishing, beaches and wine growing regions. The city of Hamilton lies on the west coast and it is the fourth largest city in New Zealand and not far from the spectacular Waitomo caves region. In the south are the agricultural regions around Palmerston North and the historic wine growing regions around Martinbourough.
The South Island is more mountainous than the north. A central spine of high mountains runs the full length of the island and it includes Mount Cook, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain. Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and is the main point of entry for tourists. It is the base for the many New Zealand campervan and motorhome hire companies that operate through New Zealand and also has a large accommodation industry. Most visitors to the South Island start their holiday here and then explore outwards to see the rest of the islands attractions. To the north of Christchurch is the Marlboro wine growing region and the city of Nelson.
Travelling south along the east coast will take you through Kaikoura where you can go whale watching and see sperm whales which feed along this section of coastline. The town of Hanmer Springs is a popular tourist destination and provides both natural therapeutic health spas and excellent NZ skiing holidays. To the south of Christchurch you can tour through Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill and even take the ferry across to Stewart Island if you wish. The central part of the South Island is the alpine sports lovers paradise. The road through Arthurs Pass has numerous ski fields along its length and it runs parallel to the Alpine rail link from Christchurch to Greymouth on New Zealand’s west coast, and this is one of the most spectacular rail journeys on the planet. You can do the return journey from Christchurch as a day trip if you wish. You can go skiing from Christchurch to Mount Hutt or several other smaller fields.
The main ski fields and the center of adventure tourism is the town of Queenstown. Set in amagnificent valley below the snow capped ramparts of the southern alps, Queenstown lies on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and has many Queenstown accommodation options to choose from. The town of Wanaka is about one hours drive from Queenstown and between the two of them are the most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations in New Zealand. Ski resorts like Treble Cone, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are known around the world among the snow and alpine sports loving fraternities. In the south west corner of the South Island are some of the countries most important tourist attractions. The Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers attract thousands of camera buffs to trek or take helicopter flights across this spectacular region and further south, places like Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are criss-crossed by cruise boats that navigate through these magnificent water ways.
If you havn’t made the time to visit this magnificent nation, you should start to plan your next holiday to New Zealand as soon as you possibly can. You can visit this beautiful country with an organized tour or venture out by your self by hiring a car, campervan or motorhome, the choice is yours. If you are a New Zealander coming to Australia for a holiday, let us arrange your south east Queensland holiday apartments for your stay.