New Zealand

Floating in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand, with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, beckons travellers from around the globe. Comprising two main islands, imaginatively named the North and South Islands, this island nation boasts diverse natural wonders, from pristine beaches and lush forests to rugged mountains and geothermal hotspots.

New Zealand’s indigenous Maori culture infuses every aspect of society, from language and art to traditional ceremonies and cuisine. Visitors can immerse themselves in Maori heritage through cultural experiences like haka performances and marae visits. Rotorua is arguably the best place to take this in.

Outdoor enthusiasts find paradise in New Zealand’s boundless adventure opportunities, including hiking the famous Milford Track, skiing in Queenstown, or surfing on the West Coast’s wild beaches.

With its clean, green image and commitment to conservation, New Zealand is not just a destination—it’s a sanctuary for those seeking solace in nature’s embrace.

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  • History and Culture

    New Zealand’s history is a tapestry woven with the threads of Maori heritage and European colonisation. The Maori, Polynesian voyagers who arrived around the 13th century, brought their rich culture, language, and traditions to these shores. Their connection to the land, or “whenua,” remains profound.

    In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand. However, it was British navigator Captain James Cook who charted the islands and established British interest in the late 18th century.

    The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 marked a pivotal moment, where Maori chiefs ceded sovereignty to the British Crown in exchange for protection and rights to their lands. Yet, interpretations and implementations of the treaty have been contentious, leading to ongoing debates and reconciliation efforts.

    Today, New Zealand is a vibrant multicultural society, cherishing both Maori and European heritage. Its cultural scene reflects this fusion, from traditional Maori arts and performances to contemporary expressions in music, film, and literature. Rugby, a sport beloved by both Maori and Pakeha (European) New Zealanders, stands as a unifying force, embodying the nation’s competitive spirit and camaraderie.

  • Unbelievable beaches

    New Zealand’s coastline stretches for over 15,000 kilometres, offering an abundance of stunning beaches catering to every taste, whether you seek secluded coves, surf breaks, or golden sands.

    On the North Island, the Coromandel Peninsula boasts some of the country’s most iconic beaches. Cathedral Cove, with its picturesque rock arch, and Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own hot pool in the sand, are must-visit destinations.

    In the Bay of Islands, the quaint town of Paihia beckons with its scenic waterfront and vibrant atmosphere, while nearby Russell exudes charm with its historic buildings and picturesque harbour.

    On the South Island, Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches bordered by lush native bush. Anchorage and Bark Bay are popular spots for kayaking, while Totaranui offers camping right by the water’s edge.

    For surf enthusiasts, Raglan on the North Island’s west coast is a mecca, renowned for its long, consistent left-hand breaks. Piha Beach near Auckland is another famous surf spot, framed by dramatic cliffs and black sand.

    No matter where you go in New Zealand, you’re never far from a beach—each one offering its own unique charm and opportunity for relaxation and adventure alike.

  • Nature and wildlife

    New Zealand’s natural wonders are as diverse as they are breathtaking, offering an unparalleled playground for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Fiordland National Park, home to the iconic Milford Sound, enchants visitors with its towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and serene fiords carved by ancient glaciers.

    On the South Island’s West Coast, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers captivate with their icy expanses that seemingly defy gravity as they descend into temperate rainforests—an extraordinary sight found in few places on Earth.

    In the North Island, the geothermal wonders of Rotorua showcase the Earth’s raw power, with bubbling mud pools, steaming geysers, and colourful silica terraces. Nearby, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing offers hikers a trek through otherworldly landscapes, passing by active volcanoes and emerald lakes.

    Offshore, the marine reserves of the Poor Knights Islands and the Bay of Islands teem with life, offering opportunities for diving and snorkelling amidst vibrant coral reefs, playful dolphins, and graceful stingrays.

    New Zealand’s unique biodiversity extends to its native wildlife, including the iconic kiwi bird, found in protected sanctuaries such as Zealandia in Wellington and the Otorohanga Kiwi House in the Waikato region. Additionally, the remote subantarctic islands, like the Auckland Islands and the Snares, provide vital habitats for rare seabirds like the yellow-eyed penguin and the royal albatross.

  • Adventure and experiences

    Adventure beckons around every corner in New Zealand, where adrenaline junkies can satisfy their cravings amidst stunning natural landscapes.

    Queenstown, dubbed the “Adventure Capital of the World,” offers a plethora of heart-pounding activities. Daredevils can bungee jump off the historic Kawarau Bridge, skydive over Lake Wakatipu, or tackle the challenging rapids of the Shotover River on a thrilling jet boat ride.

    For those seeking aerial thrills, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers on the South Island provide a stunning backdrop for heli-skiing and glacier landings. Meanwhile, the Remarkables mountain range near Queenstown boasts world-class skiing and snowboarding terrain.

    Rotorua’s geothermal wonders aren’t just for sightseeing; they also provide the perfect setting for unique adventures. Visitors can zorb down grassy slopes in giant inflatable balls or mountain bike through the Whakarewarewa Forest, where geothermal vents dot the landscape.

    For water enthusiasts, the Bay of Islands offers kayaking amidst pristine islands and marine life, while the Coromandel Peninsula entices with its hidden coves and world-renowned surf breaks like Whangamata and Whangapoua.

    New Zealand’s diverse landscapes cater to all adventure tastes, ensuring an unforgettable experience for thrill-seekers of all levels.

Flag of New Zealand
  • Capital city: Wellington
  • Language: English, Maori, NZ Sign Language
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • Time Difference: UTC +12
  • Flight Time: 24h to Auckland via Singapore/HK from London
  • Visa: NZeTA before travel
  • Peak Season: November to March

Did you know?

NZ was the last place humans moved to, only landing there approximately 800 years ago – that’s tens of thousands of years later than most regions of the world.

New Zealand Climate Guide

Bay of Islands