New Zealand tailor-made holidays
When Peter Jackson was searching for the perfect setting to realise J.R.R Tolkien's fantasy adventures for the big screen, New Zealand was the obvious choice.
Endless scenes of snow-capped mountains and ice-age glaciers, craggy coastlines and footprint-free beaches, mirror-still lakes in duck-egg blue and emerald green, steaming volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, virgin forests and plunging fjords; if nature had a design studio, full of her most stupendous ideas, it would be New Zealand.
The country certainly provides a canvas for adrenaline-charged pursuits like jet boating and bungee jumping, but you needn't view New Zealand as some kind of assault course.
Wine lovers will be enthralled by the vineyards of Hawke's Bay and Marlborough; foodies will whoop as they tuck into fist-sized oysters, green-lipped mussels and melt-in-the-mouth lamb; cultural connoisseurs can revel in a rich Maori heritage; and creatures of comfort will find luxury lodges and geothermal spas.
And with 30% of the country set aside as national parks, reserves and special heritage sites, it's no surprise that such awesome scenery is also home to a bedazzling array of wildlife.
Offshore you'll find seals and breaching sperm whales; you can swim with dolphins at Kaikoura and Paihia, or spot penguins and albatross on the Otago Peninsula. Most endearing of all is the flightless kiwi, still spotted in the wild in large numbers on spectacular Stewart Island.
It's possible to see most of the main sights in just a couple of weeks, but for a really good look without racing through your tick-list, we recommend anywhere between three and eight weeks ... short of actually emigrating that is.
At a glance
Flying time from UK
GMT +12 (+11 in summer)
New Zealand dollar (NZ$)
Where to go in New Zealand
New Zealand's capital Wellington is a quarter of the size of Auckland, yet has gained a reputation for being one of the country's most sparkling cities, despite its small-town feel.
The south-eastern corner of the South Island is perhaps the least explored part of the country. Its largest settlement is Dunedin, an attractive and welcoming place with strong Scottish roots.
You're never far from the water in Auckland, a city that has more recreational boats per capita than any other city in the world, earning it the name the ‘City of Sails'.
When to go
Average temperature (℃)
Average rainfall (mm)
New Zealand experiences a moderate, maritime climate, though there are some differences in temperature and rainfall between north and south, east and west. The South Island experiences a more temperate climate than the North and is generally cooler - summer highs (December to February) reach the low 20s, whilst during the winter months (June to August) temperatures can drop to freezing or below. Snow is as likely to fall in lower regions as it is in the UK - once or twice a year - but the Southern Alps receive a good layer of snow throughout the winter, perfect for winter sports. They also act as a rain barrier to the eastern side of the island as westerly prevailing winds suck up moisture …
Top itineraries in New Zealand
Only New Zealand crams so much scenery into so little space, and this tailor-made self-drive takes in the best of it. Discover Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Rotorua, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Cook Strait, Abel Tasman and more as you navigate through this beautiful country.
Covering many of New Zealand's highlights, this 25-day self-drive starts in Auckland in the North Island, New Zealand's City of Sails and ends in the South Island at the picturesque lakeside town of Queenstown in the heart of the Southern Alps.
From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.
Top places to stay in New Zealand
Set amidst a beautiful forest just outside the town of Rotorua, just two hours drive from Auckland on New Zealand's picturesque North Island, Treetops Lodge and Estate is a haven of peace and tranquility, surrounded by sparkling streams and 800 year old trees.
Set on a peninsula just outside the town of Rotorua on New Zealand's North Island. Originally built in 1980 as a luxury fishing lodge, Solitaire Lodge enjoys commanding views over beautiful Lake Tarawera and offers guests a stylish and relaxing base from which to explore the many natural and cultur…
Just 35 minutes from Auckland in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf, Delamore Lodge on beautiful Waiheke Island offers an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in one of the North Island's most picturesque locations.
Built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, Otahuna Lodge is a stylish and elegant Victorian mansion set with beautiful manicured gardens on the outskirts of Christchurch on New Zealand's stunning South Island. Just minutes from the city, this luxury lodge offers peace, quiet and tranquility, refined pers…
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