Spotlight on New Zealand
New Zealand’s awesome landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife and pleasant climate make it a haven for outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind. New Zealand society is diverse, sophisticated, and multicultural, and the honesty, friendliness, and openness of “Kiwis” will impress you. The great advantage of New Zealand is all its diverse physical, cultural, and artistic landscapes are so close to each other. With over a thousand years of human settlement, New Zealanders have a unique and dynamic culture, with European, Maori, Pacific and Asian influences. It’s a culture that celebrates the many different lifestyles New Zealanders live, and the stories they have to tell. With vast open spaces filled with stunning rugged landscapes, gorgeous beaches, spectacular geothermal and volcanic activity, a temperate climate and fascinating animal and plant life, it is no surprise New Zealand’s natural environment is so attractive.
Auckland is regularly voted one of the best lifestyle cities in the world, with the cosmopolitan city centre complemented by great escapes within half an hour of downtown. Indulge in Auckland's shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine and experience some of the many attractions and adventure activities on offer. There is never a shortage of things to do in the City of Sails. Sights to see include Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Zoo, and Museum of Transport and Technology. Hauraki Gulf has numerous islands and good deep-sea fishing waters. A number of the islands in Hauraki Gulf are used in efforts to re-establish rare or endangered species of birds and insects. There is an extensive range of shops and complexes, cafes and restaurants but you are never far away from the many beaches in Auckland.
Waitomo, in the central North Island, is an area renowned for limestone caves, glowworms, adventure and fun, and is a place not to be missed. The name Waitomo comes from the Maori wai, water and tomo, hole or shaft. Activities centre around a small village called Waitomo Caves (or simply Waitomo) where the Museum of Caves is the focal point.
Rotorua - New Zealand's premier destination on the edge of beautiful Lake Rotorua offers visitors so much to see and do the trouble is deciding what to do. From a quiet stroll through the magnificent Redwood Forest to an adrenaline rafting plunge over one of the world's highest commercially rafted waterfalls or an entertaining view of life on the farm at one of our award winning farmshows - Rotorua has it all. Famous for awesome geological forces, Rotorua has hundreds of gentle plopping mud pools, powerful erupting geysers, and intriguing geothermal lakes. Maori Culture is another unique facet to Rotorua's popularity. For more action try hiking down Mt Ngongatah, fishing for trophy-sized trout on one of Rotorua's many lakes, tandem skydiving, horse trekking, or off-road driving. Or just sit back, watch the world go by and enjoy the fresh, clean, picturesque atmosphere from one of many sidewalk cafes and bars. To end the day, soak away ailments in one of many thermally heated natural mineral spas.
Christchurch was founded in 1850 by members of the Church of England, who wanted a little bit of heaven on earth. They succeeded, and today the city takes great pride in its spacious layout and distinctive English-style buildings in elegant grey stone. The River Avon winds through Christchurch, along parks and gardens that cover one-third of the city. Christchurch is the largest of the South Island cities and is a major international gateway to the country.
Wellington - Located at southwestern North Island, New Zealand’s capital city derives its character and charm from the wooded hills that curve like a green amphitheater around Wellington’s harbor. Commercial and government buildings rim the waterfront; nostalgic Victorian buildings mingle pleasantly with more modern structures and above the business district, dwellings precariously cling to steep slopes. Wellington was the first settlement organized by the London-based New Zealand Company. Other sights include Kelburn Cable Car, Museum of Wellington, City and Sea, and National Museum and Art Gallery (Te Papa).
Dunedin - One of New Zealand’s loveliest harbors is gracious, dignified Dunedin. The city boasts fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings complete with spires, gables and gargoyles. Its Scottish heritage is present in street names and the appeal of its handsome stone buildings. One of Dunedin’s most famous visitors, Mark Twain, wrote "The…Scots…stopped here on their way to heaven, thinking they had arrived." Dunedin boasts the country’s only kilt maker and whisky distillery as well as a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns in the heart of the city. Dunedin’s surroundings are renowned for their magnificent scenery and wildlife. The nearby beautiful Otago Peninsula provides a breeding habitat for such rare birds as the royal albatross and yellow-eyed penguin. The biggest attraction is probably the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head – which can only be visited as part of pre-arranged guided tour. Nowhere else on the globe do these birds breed so close to humans. Other sights to visit include Octagon Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Edwardian Railway Station, and Otago Museum.
Napier - The twin cities of Napier and Hastings, located within the region of Hawke's Bay on the East Coast of new Zealand's North Island, are quite unique. The area is blessed with a Californian-Mediterranean climate, boasting one of the highest sunshine averages in the country. The area is also dotted with colourful vineyards and orchards, with some of the most fertile farmland you will see. In 1931 a two and a half minute earthquake destroyed the city of Napier. Rebuilding began almost immediately in the architectural style of the time - Art Deco. Napier is now classed as the newest city in the world, offering a marvellous, world-renown, collection of Art Deco buildings. Among the attractions in the area are the Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers, the Hawke's Bay Aquarium, the Spanish Mission and Art Deco architecture, gardens and bush walks.
Queenstown hosts an outstanding collection of adrenaline inducing activities and spectacular scenery. From jumping from tall bridges or quiet fishing, this is New Zealand's number one adventure destination. Lake and river join towering mountain ranges to make Queenstown as popular in the winter as it is in the summer. At the heart of the action are cafes, the entire spectrum of accommodation, boutique shopping, restaurants and the visitor services expected in a small town with a big reputation.