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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7. The Local Culture
8. The Sparse Population
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.
- Read More: New Zealand Weather and Climate Information
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!
- Read More: Health and Safety in New Zealand
Images Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand