Embark on a journey where you can retrace
the footsteps of the Fellowship, enjoy epic adventures of your own and experience legends
come to life. From its active volcanoes, deep glacier lakes,
unique wildlife and dazzling fjords, one thing’s for sure, in this nation of Kiwis there will
never be a dull moment. Steady yourself as TourRadar’s Ultimate
Travel Guide reveals everything you need to know about this truly remote island paradise. So travellers, are you ready? Welcome to New Zealand. Let’s start with the basics. This beautiful island nation is home to just
over 4 and a half million people, many of whom go by the self-appointed nickname “Kiwi.” This slang is derived from the country’s
national symbol: a flightless bird called, you guessed it, the kiwi. The country itself is formed by two main landmasses
– the North Island and the South Island, as well as about 600 other smaller islands. New Zealand as a whole is quite modest in
size, similar in land mass to Japan. Wellington is the Capital City of New Zealand
and also the southernmost capital city in the world while Auckland, the original capital
city, is the largest Polynesian city and goes by the name “the city of sails.” Which makes sense when you consider Auckland
has more boats per capita than any other place in the world! What else does New Zealand have more of than
the entire planet? Sheep! Hopefully you’re a fan of these furry farm
animals because there are about seven to every resident, which works out to nearly 30 million
sheep. Your mum won’t have to worry about you throughout
your kiwi adventure either because New Zealand has remained firmly in the top 10 safest countries
to call home for several years running. They’re also comfortably progressive, having
been the first major nation to allow all citizens the right to vote, regardless of gender. There are three official languages in New
Zealand: English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language but you’ll be able to get by just
fine with English. Now whether you’re looking to uncover the
Maori way of life, hit the slopes or sample delicious wine – there’s plenty of diverse
adventures to enjoy – so let’s take a closer look. New Zealand is renowned for it’s world-class
hiking trails. Breathtaking views await you in Fiordland
National Park, which includes four major tracks – Milford, Kepler, Routeburn and Hollyford. While Milford is perhaps the most famous,
hikers of each track can expect to enjoy views of forested valleys, diverse birdlife, turquoise
waters, expansive lakes and truly spectacular mountain scenery. For Lord of the Rings fans, a visit to Tongariro
National Park, where you can behold the jagged volcanic rock and eerily barren landscape,
should be a considered a must. Hopefully the moody weather cooperates during
your visit and you’ll be granted a view of Mt. Ngauruhoe, otherwise known as Mount
Doom. Hiking the entire Alpine Crossing takes about
7 hours and includes lava fields, tussock meadows and the neon turquoise, geothermally
heated waters of the Emerald Lakes. If beaches are more your thing, New Zealand
has a hike for that too! Along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, travellers
can enjoy more than 40kms of golden sand beaches, subtropical bush line and granite cliffs,
accented by clear azure waters and frolicking fur seals. Keep in mind that several tidal inlets mean
that you’ll be required to time your crossings with low-tide, so plan accordingly. Along New Zealand’s Otago coast you can
see the mysterious Moeraki Boulders, beachfront stones formed from ancient sea sediments. An equally mesmerizing and seemingly perplexing
sight would be the famous Waitomo Caves with their legendary blue glowworms. Thrill-seekers can abseil down into this lost
world, which takes about 20 minutes and provides impressive views of spagatites and gigantic
flowstone formations on the way down. Once you’ve lost yourself in the isolation
and majesty of nature, grab a few of your fellow travel companions and go jet boating
through Queenstown’s Shotover River, or tackle the currents of Tutea Falls along the
Kaituna River in Rotorua, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. Of course there’s also ziplining, bungee
jumping, and skydiving. Each offer unique and exhilarating views of
places like Rotorua, Auckland Harbour, and Queenstown respectively – though you can enjoy
any one of these thrill-seeking experiences pretty much anywhere throughout the country. If you want to take things a tad slower, hit
up one of New Zealand’s countless golf courses. Enjoy the stunning greens that can be found
in Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington. For the snow bunnies, strap on your skis and
fly to the top of Queenstown’s mountains to enjoy a refreshingly exciting ski down
world-renowned peaks and valleys. Within 20 minutes from downtown Queenstown,
you’ll be at the foot of Coronet Peak and within 35, The Remarkables, a range that lives
up to its name and is a must for any snowboarder or skier out there. Once the weather warms up you can catch the
surf on the curving Bay of Plenty or along the untouched beaches of Gisborne. And if you really want to show off your surfing
skills then head to Whangamata, situated on the southeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula
in the North Island. After all, it’s only the surfing capital
of the country! But maybe you are just looking to kick back
and enjoy that well-earned break? That’s certainly alright and you picked
the right destination to escape to. You can catch a kapa haka performance of the
Maori people, indigenous New Zealanders, and enjoy chants and choral singing to graceful
songs and ferocious war dances. Consider visiting Maori meetings grounds,
called marae, and take part in a powhiri, a traditional welcoming ceremony. Or if you wish to get literary, take a tour
of Hobbiton in , Waikato and see JR Tolkien’s epic story brought to life with a wander through
the heart of The Shire. You can stop by the Green Dragon Inn or visit
the Bag End. But what time of year does one journey to
Middle Earth? Fall? Spring? Winter? Well just to be clear, there’s never a bad
time to travel to a place like New Zealand though travellers should be ready for weather
that can change unexpectedly, regardless of the time of year. However most places throughout the country
receive over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year and because of the low levels of air pollution,
the sunlight is especially radiant! While the far north has subtropical weather
during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C
(14°F) in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures
year round. The average New Zealand temperature decreases
as you travel south. New Zealand’s Summer runs from December
to February and should be considered the peak travel season, it’s also considered the
perfect time for enjoying activities like hiking, scenic driving, winery tours, and
surfing. If you’re lucky, you can catch a wave alongside
dolphins off the country’s long coastline. Autumn settles in from March to May and the
views of fall foliage are truly something to behold. Winter lasts from June to August, and this
is when you can expect the ski season to begin to flourish. Spring temperatures are enjoyed from September
through November and offer a beautiful combination of spring blossoms and snow-capped mountains. Once you’ve satisfied your desire to explore
it’s time to sit down and enjoy some delicious local cuisine. And just what is waiting for you at the dining
table? Let’s find out… New Zealand’s cuisine draws on Polynesia,
Asian and European inspiration and the results are staggeringly delicious. A typical kiwi breakfast consists of cereal,
toast and either a cup of coffee, tea, juice or milk. On weekends, when more time is available to
prepare a cooked breakfast, locals sit down to plates of scrambled eggs, bacon, cooked
tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. After a long morning outdoors, you’ll need
to enjoy a quick hot pie to reenergize. These tasty small pastries come in a variety
of flavours and are typically filled with mince and cheese, bacon, egg and even steak. Once the evening rolls around, enjoy servings
of roast lamb, mutton and of course battered fish and chips. Due to New Zealand’s long coast line the
selection of seafood is quite diverse: succulent oysters, mussels, shellfish, king salmon,
snapper, scallops and whitebait – a true Kiwi delicacy. The most common way to enjoy these small baby
fish are as whitebait fritters, essentially an omelet prepared only with egg white mixed
with the delicious whitebait. If you’re looking for a refreshing dessert
to top off your day of indulging your taste buds then help yourself to pavlova, a meringue-based
dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. But what should you wash down all these tasty
foods with? Of course you can enjoy your share of refreshing
beers and ciders, but New Zealand is mainly renowned for its many exquisite wines. Sommeliers praise the country’s take on
sauvignon blanc as being the best in the world. Other wines highly regarded include Cabernet/Merlot
blends and Pinot Noir to name a few. Mhmmm, spectacular. Once you’ve allowed your thirst to be both
quenched and delighted by New Zealand’s unique libations, it’ll be time to begin
mapping out your next adventure through this oceanic paradise. We hope these tips ensure that your next great
Kiwi adventure will be a truly inspiring one. If you still can’t get enough then check
out Days to Come for more inspiration and travel tips. If you’re ready to experience the country
for yourself, simply visit tourradar.com today. As they say in New Zealand, Kia Ora! Until next time! TourRadar – booking tours made easy.