Walk the ancient forests and glacier-carved mountains of this island nation and you’ll soon discover why movie directors and outdoors enthusiasts love "Aotearoa".
With snow-capped peaks, primeval forests, and active volcanoes, New Zealand’s stunning natural diversity has played a staring role in movies like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s not just movie directors who are drawn here; outdoors enthusiasts also come in droves to trek mountains, ski glaciers, abseil into limestone caves and experience white-knuckle rides down river rapids. With Maori society dating back over 700 years, and English settlement almost 200, Aotearoa, as New Zealand is traditionally known, is a place of diverse cultural riches too.
At the top of the North Island, discover the “City of Sails”, Auckland, then lose yourself in the fabulous Bay of Islands. Just to the south, the geysers and bubbling mud pools of Rotorua await. Visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village to learn how the Maori coexist with the unpredictable nature of the landscape. Near the North Island’s center, hike through herb fields and forests near the active volcanoes of Tongariro National Park.
New Zealand’s political and cultural capital Wellington, sits at the southern tip of the North Island. Ride the Wellington Cable Car, tour the city’s museums and galleries, and order a short black in Cuba Street, the city's bohemian enclave.
From Wellington, it’s just a short ferry ride to the South Island. Explore the glaciers and lakes of the Mount Cook region or take a TranzAlpine rail journey though Arthurs Pass. If you’re into mountain biking or skiing, carve up the slopes around Queenstown, or saddle up for a multi-day adventure along the Otago Rail Trail. New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping, so leap off the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, or take a jet-boat ride through the swirling waters below. For a change of pace, paddle a sea kayak across the pure waters and silence of Milford Sound.
Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is a three-hour flight from Australia. Its major cities have direct connections to over 20 major cities worldwide.