In today’s fast-paced world, where multi-tasking is the norm and we’re always connected — to each other and to the latest everything, ‘back to nature’ is simply refreshing. New Zealand is the epitome of unspoiled natural beauty, and the perfect place to reset.
Best time to visit
For skiers and snowboarders, winter is the time to visit New Zealand. The season runs from June to October, and the nine ski fields across the north and south islands offer everything from gentle beginner slopes to heli-skiing. At the end of a long day tearing up the slopes, indulge in a well-earned après-ski experience.
For travellers looking to make the trip in the warmer months, avoid the peak tourist season (December to February) and plan your holiday for autumn (March to May). With its breathtaking scenery, New Zealand is made for outdoor activities: camping, hiking, adventure sports and road trips.
North Island or South Island?
The North Island is home to picturesque Auckland, which boasts spectacular harbour views and harbourside dining. It’s also where you’ll find Rotorua, with its geysers, natural hot springs, boiling mud pools and celebration of Maori culture and traditions. For something unique, stay in Rotorua itself; backyards are dotted with geysers and the smell of sulphur is thick in the air. The country’s capital city, Wellington, is located on this island.
Not to be outdone, the South Island has beautiful Queenstown, around which snow-capped mountains sit alongside lush, green plains. It’s also where you go to visit Fiordland and stunning Milford Sound, and the world-famous Marlborough wine region.
Auckland Sky Tower (and SkyWalk and SkyJump for the adventurous). Ride a glass-fronted lift 328 metres upwards to the viewing platform of the Sky Tower. If this leaves you looking for a bigger thrill, try the SkyWalk: a narrow walkway around the outside of the tower, a safety harness all that’s between you and the city 192 metres below, and a guide encouraging you to hang over the edge and wave to diners in the tower’s restaurant. Still have adrenalin to burn? You can bungee jump off the Sky Tower, which is the tallest building in New Zealand.
Milford Sound. A cruise on beautiful Milford Sound can be enjoyed in any weather, which is fortunate as it rains here around 182 days each year. During the rain, numerous waterfalls (both permanent and temporary) come to life, some as tall as 1000 metres. Should you arrive on a sunny day, you’ll be treated to dizzyingly tall cliffs and the impressive view of Mitre Peak, standing proudly 1692 metres above sea level.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit unofficial tours. There are a number of tours that will take JRR Tolkein fans to locations used to film The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. For those not overly keen on organised tours, you can always buy a map and explore the areas yourself.
Hire a car (or camper van) and drive yourself. It’s easy to drive in New Zealand — outside of the major cities there isn’t much traffic (the country’s population is 4 million), and the routes are well signed. There are numerous camping grounds and rest stops located around both islands, and the distance between most towns and accommodation is a comfortable day’s drive (New Zealand is roughly the size of Great Britain and Japan). Exploring the islands this way means you can travel at your own pace, which is why we came here in the first place, right?