I recently traveled to New Zealand. I had a fantastic time, and will be telling you all about my trip in a series of articles coming up. Although there are many reasons to visit New Zealand, here are my 'Top 10', which I hope will inspire you to travel to Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud.
Imagine the world in one country, and you will have an idea of all the natural wonders that New Zealand has to offer. Think snow-capped peaks soaring over 12,000 feet into the sky, sand dunes, dramatic fjords, gushing geysers, active volcanoes, impenetrable rain forests, glowworm caves, sandy beaches, countless islands, seas teeming with marine wildlife, and the greenest countryside you ever saw – and that’s just for starters.
Because of the New Zealand’s rugged terrain, the helicopter is the workhorse of the country. For visitors, helicopters provide breathtaking flights, shorter distances, opportunities to visit remote locations impossible to reach otherwise, and one incredible “only in New Zealand” experience after another.Think heli-hiking, heli-fishing, heli-golfing, heli-picnics, heli-sightseeing, and just about every heli-adventure you can conceive of.
New Zealand is roughly the size of California, so the longest domestic flight for most visitors (Auckland-Queenstown) is under two hours. Roads, airports, and infrastructure are in great condition, which means getting from A to B is not difficult. Air New Zealand offers nonstop flights from 5 North American gateways into Auckland – including new service from Chicago – as well as an excellent network of domestic flights. There are no poisonous snakes or scary critters to worry about.There is no security when boarding a domestic flight in New Zealand. You can drink the water right from the tap. Public bathrooms are spotless. Trains, buses, ferries, and planes run on time. Just relax and enjoy your time in New Zealand.
No matter what active pursuit or adventure you dream of, chances are you will find it in New Zealand -- not to mention discovering new ways to get a rush of adrenalin you did not know existed. This is the country that invented Bungy Jumping, jet boats, and zorbing – which is rolling downhill inside a giant plastic ball. (I am not making this up!) New Zealand is known for its world-class fishing, hiking, sailing, kayaking, golfing, biking, whale-watching, and opportunities to swim with dolphins and seals, to name just a few options.
New Zealand’s indigenous culture is vibrant and accessible to all visitors. Experience a traditional Maori feast, with traditional songs and dances. Visit one of the country’s superb collections of Maori culture in Auckland or Wellington. Learn some Maori words during your stay. Discover New Zealand’s past at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the North Island. Marvel at Maori ceremonial war canoes. Whatever you do, enrich your stay adding a dose of Maori culture to your itinerary.
The lodges, hotels, and unique places to stay in New Zealand take holidays to the next level. Stay in a luxury tree house set 30 feet from the ground, your own terraced villa facing Lake Wakatipu, a private apartment overlooking Marlborough Sounds, or a suite with spectacular lake views. New Zealand has a number of celebrated lodges, including Treetops, Blanket Bay, Kauri Cliffs, and Huka Lodge – exceeding expectations for nearly 100 years. Wherever you stay, you will experience Kiwi hospitality and feel at home the moment you arrive.
In recent years, New Zealand’s cuisine and wines have won awards and recognition the world over. Contemporary chefs are giving new meaning to 'farm to table’ dining with innovative Pacific menus, including fresh paua, terakihi or mussels, served with locally grown produce. Don’t miss New Zealand’s excellent wines, from one of the country’s 500+ vineyards.
Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and other cities in New Zealand have much to offer travelers in search of great dining, beautiful settings, craft-beer bars, arts and culture, and a wide range of outdoor adventures within easy access.
Warm, friendly, self-effacing, outgoing, down-to-earth, sports-crazy, informal, New Zealanders make you feel at home right away and are fun to be with. Long after you return from your trip, it’s the New Zealanders you met along the way that will stay top of mind.
One USD equals about 1.50 New Zealand Dollars, as of today. A strong US Dollar means this is a great time for Americans to visit New Zealand.