New Zealand for the Independent Traveller
Photo: Scott Venning
Two large islands make up most of New Zealand, a country
separated from Australia by just 2,000 kilometres of Tasman Sea.
The larger South Island is divided lengthwise by the Southern Alps,
and the less mountainous North Island is dotted with active
volcanoes. Dramatic landscapes and a mild climate make New Zealand
an ideal holiday destination.
Dubbed the "City of Sails," Auckland's many harbours are likened
to a maritime painting with hundreds of boats dotting the horizon.
The largest city is also a frequent host to the America's Cup.
Visitors work up an appetite indulging in a range of water sports
and then feast on fresh seafood, locally-raised meats and unusual,
yet delicious indigenous vegetables. Don't leave the North Island
without a stop at Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Kiwi Adventure
and the awe-inspiring natural volcanic environment of Wai-O-Tapu
Thermal Wonderland. The Auckland Museum houses excellent exhibits
covering the history of the native Maori culture.
Photo: Miles Holden
The South Island is a nature-lovers paradise, as it comprises
everything from mountains and plains to glaciers and fiords. A
jaw-dropping background of magnificent cliffs, peaks and waterfalls
banks Milford Sound, a narrow fiord off the Tasman Sea. Akaroa
sightseers revel in dolphin- and penguin-spotting boat cruises.
Sports enthusiasts see Mt. Cook and the Tasman glacier as admirable
conquests. Activity-seekers make a beeline for Queensland, where
they get their fill of jet boating, kayaking, bungee jumping,
canyoning and a seemingly endless list of possibilities before
setting off for another New Zealand adventure.
Time: GMT +12 hrs
Currency: New Zealand dollar (NZD)