1. Travel

Top 10 Reasons to Visit New Zealand

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New Zealand wasn't chosen as the location for filming “The Lord of the Rings” for nothing. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places on earth. Situated to the south east of Australia, it may seem like a long way to travel. However, your visit will be one of the most memorable trips you make in your life.

1. The Incredibly Diverse and Unspoilt Scenery

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Shan Shui/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Made up of two main islands and a host of smaller ones, New Zealand has an amazing range of breathtaking scenery, from subtropical forests, beaches and offshore islands in the north to glaciers, lakes, snow-covered mountains and large flat plains in the south. There are also fiords, volcanoes, hot springs and beautiful rolling green pastures – a diversity like no other on earth.

2. The People

"Kiwis," as the locals are called, are a very friendly bunch and very welcoming to visitors. A wide range of cultures is represented although, as an ex British colony, the European influence is still strong.

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3. Outdoor Adventures

Where else can you go surfing, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, tramping, sailing, swimming at the beach, parachuting, horse riding, caving – all within a one hundred mile radius? And even on the same day! Also, don't forget to try the bungy jump, invented and made famous right here.

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4. The Unique Wildlife

New Zealand split from the large land mass joining Australia and Antarctica about 85 million years ago, resulting in bird and plant species that are found nowhere else. Forests contain an abundance of interesting plant life from the towering ancient kauri trees to fronds of nikau palms. You might even see a kiwi – a small, flightless bird that has become the national symbol.

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5. The Ease of Travel

Self-drive heaven
Image Courtesy of New Zealand Tourism/Ben Crawford

With a great road network, there's nothing easier than hopping in a car or RV (known locally as a campervan) and heading off on an adventure. And if you need directions or advice on the local attractions, every town has an Information Centre specifically to help tourists. Fuel is much cheaper than in Europe too. There's also an excellent intercity bus network covering the entire country and distances between towns and attractions are not too great.

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6. The Wine

New Zealand wine is world famous for its quality – quite amazing when you consider it makes less than 1% of the world's total. There are a number of places where you can make a day of it visiting wineries and tasting their offerings, particularly in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, the two leading wine regions. There are also many top notch restaurants, particularly in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where the best of New Zealand's wines are showcased alongside world-class cuisine.

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7. The Local Culture

When Captain Cook arrived in 1769 he found the country populated by natives, called the Maori. It has since developed into a unique South Pacific blend of cultures where the Maori still play an important role. In the cities, particularly Auckland, you will also find the ethnic diversity reflected in a huge range of cafes and restaurants.

8. The Sparse Population

With a land area the size of Great Britain yet with just 4.5 million inhabitants, you don't need to go far to find complete solitude. Most of the population in concentrated in five main cities (Auckland being the largest with a third of the country's people), leaving plenty of open space in between.

9. The Climate

New Zealand has a temperate climate, without extremes of hot or cold. From the north (warmest) to the south (coldest), average daytime temperatures range from 12 to 25 °C (54 to 76 °F). The long warm summers are ideal for spending at one of the country's many great beaches. The winters are cold enough to provide ample snow in the south for skiers and snowboarders. Spring and autumn are beautiful seasons, often with and abundant rainfall which accounts for the country's lush green landscape.

10. Safety

You're very unlikely to experience crime in New Zealand. Even for solo women travellers, safety is not an issue. And if you venture off the beaten track into the wilderness, more good news – New Zealand has no nasty plants or creatures. In fact NZ is one of only two countries in the world which doesn't have snakes (the other is Ireland). So head on over to New Zealand. You will have an amazing time!

Images Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

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