Vary from lush, fertile pastures to magnificent mountain ranges that seem to emerge from the sea and remain snow capped even through the height of summer. Relax on golden sandy beaches or hike to the top of a volcano.
Flora & Fauna
Because it has been separated from mainland for 80 million years, there are many plants and animals here that are found nowhere else on earth, from flightless birds, primitive frogs to plants as old as dinosaurs. Wildlife colonies abound, from Bottlenose and Hector's dolphins to the yellow-eyed penguin, the world's rarest species.
Maori Culture & Art
A complex people of Pacific Island descent, the Maoris excel in wood, bone and stone carving. They pass on ancestral knowledge by oratory, chant, song and dance.
New Zealand has developed an incredible reputation since the 1980s for its white wines. Visitors can stop in at vineyards and taste the variety of wines produced on both the north and south islands. The focus of this industry is primarily in Nelson and Marlborough on the South Island.
The South Island
This part of New Zealand is renowned for unparalleled beauty from mountain ranges, lakes, rivers and fjords, to golden sandy beaches and vineyards. Mount Cook National Park is impressive with its extremely high peak surrounded by lush, tropical flora. Abel Tasman National Park is a favorite place to kayak the clear, turquoise waters or hike the trails above the sandy beaches. The "Sounds", Milford and Doubtful being the most popular are some of the best examples of untouched rain forest. You can trek or take a boat around these regions.
The North Island
The beautiful Bay of Islands in the northern part of the island are surrounded by warm, clear water and little coves, making it a great place for deep-sea fishing and diving. The boiling mud, hot springs and geysers of Rotorua are a great place to relax. If you prefer to be more active, visit during June-September to ski Mount Ruapehu. More of the Maori culture is found on the North Island than the South Island.