Introducing New Zealand
Lake Gunn, South Island © Jocelyn Kinghorn
New Zealand Travel Guide
Though the island nation is geographically small, the sweeping landscapes seem immense to awestruck visitors taking in the jagged mountain peaks, rolling hills, sparkling beaches, scenic fjords, raging rivers and pristine lakes that make up the stunning scenery of New Zealand.
New Zealand is an adventures paradise, with opportunities to try activities like scuba diving, hot air ballooning, rock climbing, and other extreme sports; especially in adrenaline-packed Queenstown, the 'extreme sport capital of the world'.
Yet the urban life and culture of New Zealand is just as fascinating, with the traditions of both Maori warriors and British settlers playing a part in everyday life. Major cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington have excellent restaurants and nightlife to entertain the most determined partiers, and fascinating museums and cultural attractions to satiate the NZD 20 billion tourism economy.
Located seemingly at the end of the world, the long flight to New Zealand is off-putting for many travellers, however the rich rewards of a holiday spent in the 'land of the long white cloud' are immeasurable.
Best time to visit New Zealand
The weather in New Zealand is fairly temperate all year round, though the south of the country gets cold in the winter. The western sides of the islands tend to be very rainy, while the eastern parts are shielded from ocean winds by the mountain ranges. Most locals and overseas tourists take a New Zealand holiday in December, January and February, crowding most beach destinations. The best time to visit New Zealand is in spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) when the temperatures are moderate. Read more on New Zealand's Climate and Weather.
What to see in New Zealand
-Take a tour of film sites from The Lord of the Rings.
-See the huge collection of Maori artefacts at the Auckland Museum.
-Watch the sun set from a yacht in the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
What to do in New Zealand
-Go kayaking in Milford Sound.
-Go hiking on the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Getting to New Zealand
Direct flights to New Zealand are impossible to find from the UK or the US, but connecting flights with stopovers in Bangkok, Singapore or Dubai are common from the UK; US flights to New Zealand usually stop in Hawaii. Get more information on New Zealand Airports.
Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff.
E Ipo (Prince Tui Teko) and Settle Down (Kimbra).
Whalerider (2002) and Eagle vs Shark (2007).
New Zealand wine.
HÄngi (meat cooked over heated rocks).
What to buy
Maori arts and crafts, carved jade and greenstone.
What to pack
Comfortable hiking boots; New Zealand's terrain can be challenging.
What's on in New Zealand
The Pasifika Festival celebrates Polynesian art and culture each spring. Chinese New Year is the inspiration for the fiery Auckland Lantern Festival. Some of the best comedians in the world gather each year in Auckland for the NZ Comedy Festival around the end of March. More information on Events in New Zealand.
Did you know?
-Wellington is the most southerly national capital in the world.
-To become a New Zealand citizen, you must swear an oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth.
A final word
New Zealand's rustic blend of Western and Polynesian culture combines with its stunning scenery to attract travellers to the end of the world.
Become our New Zealand Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our New Zealand travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to New Zealand or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.