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New Zealand

New Zealand travel guide

New Zealand, with its high peaks, volcanic grumbling, weird wildlife, raging waters and high-octane thrills, is the ultimate outdoor playground

Remote, rugged and absolutely remarkable, New Zealand is top of many travellers’ wishlists. If it wowed you on the big screen in Lord of the Rings, New Zealand will knock you with the force of an All Blacks prop forward when you actually visit.

The two main islands – North and South – have different characters. North Island is warmer, with more rolling hills, beautiful beaches and some seriously sulphurous volcanic goings-on: visit Rotorua for the best thermal bath or Tongariro National Park to see still-active craters in an otherworldly landscape.

Dramatic South Island has the highest peaks, and glacier-carved fiords – a trip to Fiordland will show Mother Nature at her most artistic. Southerly Stewart Island (the best place to spot kiwis) and a few other outlaying atolls make up this nation – so best make your New Zealand visit a lengthy one…

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Climb Mount Cook, South Island, New Zealand’s highest peak and Edmund Hillary’s Everest training ground
  2. Search for elusive kiwis on a night walk on Stewart Island
  3. Fly or drive to the magical Milford Sound for cruises with dolphins, black coral diving and a gateway to wonderful walking
  4. Join a Maori guide to explore the beautiful coast and bush around Auckland
  5. Self drive South Island  – from adventure capital Queenstown to the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, Kaikoura’s whale-watching and chilled-out Christchurch
  6. Sea kayak across Marlborough Sound
  7. Drink wine and enjoy Art Deco cool around Napier, North Island

Wanderlust tips

You must not bring food into the country and any pre-used camping equipment/hiking boots etc must be declared at customs and, if necessary, cleaned before you’re permitted to enter.

Roads in New Zealand are quiet and generally good – it is easy to speed without realising it; obey the limit and watch out for sharp bends.

There are no poisonous critters in New Zealand so bushwalks are safe – just be sure to tell someone where you’re going if tramping alone.

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