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New Zealand is a delight to the senses. Lying far away in the South Pacific its two islands offer an incredible diversity of landscapes and attractions, from snow-capped mountains and deep fjords to rainforests and bubbling geo-thermal pools. It’s a country that’s friendly and safe where many things seem reassuringly familiar.
Known as the adventure capital of the world it boasts year-round recreations, with white water rafting, fishing, helicopter tours and whale watching; from sailing in the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in the far north to skiing uncrowded alpine slopes in the deep south.
New Zealand is similar in size to Great Britain. The population, though, is only four million (one-third the size of Greater London), more than a quarter of whom live in the city of Auckland. The people are relaxed, the ancient Maori culture is fascinating, the food and wine are sublime and the fabulous lodges and hideaways lead the world in terms of luxury and location. A simply unparalleled multi-centre touring destination.
The seasons are in reverse to those of the UK and not as extreme. The hottest months are between December and April and the coolest month is August. North Island is sub tropical with mild winters. South Island is temperate, with winter snow ideal for skiing and long sunshine hours in the summer months.
New Zealand is renown for its epicurean delights. The country prides itself on its fine cuisine prepared from fresh local produce. Any wine drinkers will be more than aware of the progress the vintners have made over the last decade. Visits to vineyards can easily be incorporated into any itinerary. For those who like wildlife and wilderness, visits to Kaikoura to whale watch and swim with dolphins or to the geo-thermal wonderland of Rotorua are a must.
New Zealand also has many great beaches – the Bay of Islands and the Abel Tasman National Park are just two prime examples. Extraordinary experiences await on South Island, with a flight to Milford Sound or the thrill of a jet boat ride along the Shotover River being amongst the highlights. New Zealand leads the way in new ways to get the heart pumping, from the highest bungee jumps to wildest of river rapids. We offer two ideal ways of seeing the country; by self-drive as this will enable you to stop at the many places of interest between the various destinations or with a personal guide on a custom made itinerary.
It is believed the first men to sight New Zealand were Polynesians around 950AD. They then returned home to tell of their findings. Around 1350 AD seven great migratory canoes sailed from Hawaiki to New Zealand. They called the country Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, and quickly adapted to the cooler climate and spread throughout the country. Here they developed a culture quite distinct from the rest of the Pacific since the long distances and treacherous ocean conditions discouraged return voyages.
Ancient Maori traditions and art forms have become precious to the modern Maori. It is for this reason that traditional art forms such as the carved walking sticks, greenstone necklaces and bone carvings are treated with respect, as they carry the spirit of the original owners.
GMT + 12 hrs.
New Zealand dollars. Traveller’s cheque exchange, credit card use and ATMs are widespread.
Daily flights from London Heathrow with Air New Zealand. Flying time approx. 26 hrs including a stop in Los Angeles.