Are you thinking about your next vacation? Fancy going somewhere
exotic? You need look no further than New Zealand. Perhaps you
enjoy dining out, maybe you love hiking, perhaps you are an
adventure junkie or maybe you just like to laze around on the
beach. New Zealand has it all.
New Zealand consists of two major islands. They are very
different in terms of scenery and both islands are packed with a
variety of holiday options.
The North Island has two major cities, Auckland which is the
largest city in New Zealand by far with a population of 1.2
million people. Still not that large a city by most countries
standards but it is very spread out land wise. Auckland is
located in the northern part of the North Island and is the main
gateway for travellers coming in to the country. The other major
city is Wellington which is located at the southern tip of the
North Island. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and there
is an efficient ferry service providing the connection between
the North and South Island.
The major holiday areas are as follows but don't be confined to
these areas as there is a lot more on offer.
Bay of Islands: Located around 160 miles or 260 km north of
Auckland, this region consists of 144 islands and bays. This
area has a very temperate climate and is well equipped for
visitors. There are many accommodation options and plenty of
things to do to keep you occupied. Many of the activities are
focussed around the water as wherever you are, you will be
surrounded by water containing an abundant marine life. If you
are a keen fisherman, you will be in heaven.
Auckland: Approximately one third of the whole population of New
Zealand lives in the greater Auckland area. If you enjoy
shopping, beaches or sailing, you could spend your whole time in
Auckland. Auckland has often been voted the best lifestyle city
in the world with its cosmopolitan city and beautiful harbour
and beaches close by. As with any big city there are multitudes
of top quality restaurants, cultural activities great shopping
and as it has a beautiful harbour, lots of water activities.
Rotorua: Rotorua is a unique area of New Zealand. Located about
2Þ hours drive from Auckland, it is an area which has a very
strong Maori history and many of the cultural activities focus
around this history. A very distinctive smell of sulphur
assaults the nostrils as you drive into Rotorua but you soon get
used to it and don't smell it any more. You will also notice
steam escaping into the air which results from the geothermal
activity in and all around the city. Rotorua has a longstanding
reputation as a spa city and has recently undergone a
renaissance offering a wide variety of treatments. Rotorua has
accommodation ranging from basic through to deluxe and plenty of
Taupo: Taupo is located approximately an hours drive from
Rotorua in the middle of the North Island. It is also a thermal
area complete with geysers and mud pools. The town is built
around the famous Lake Taupo, the shape of which was created by
an enormous volcanic eruption. The lake is very famous for trout
fishing. Any trout caught which weighs under 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
is considered to be a waste of time! Taupo is well set up for
tourists and offers hot thermal pools, adventure activities,
good shopping and great cafes and restaurants.
Hawkes Bay: The Hawkes Bay is a beautiful area located on the
East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The area consists
of 2 major cities, Napier and Hastings. Napier is a very
interesting city as it has the highest concentration of Art Deco
buildings of anywhere in the world after being virtually
destroyed by an enormous earthquake in 1931. Hawkes Bay is also
a major wine growing area, being one of the hottest and sunniest
areas of New Zealand. There are around 40 wineries offering a
wide variety of red and whites. Many of the wineries have cellar
doors and restaurants so there is plenty of opportunity to try
the local wines.
Wairarapa: The Wairarapa up until about 20 odd years ago was a
sleepy area which appeared to be caught in a time warp. Not any
more! It is now a major wine producing region within New Zealand
and produces some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir
in the world. Pinot Noir is a notoriously difficult grape to
grow but the Wairarapa climate suits this grape. There are more
than 50 wineries in the area with a great range of restaurants
and accommodation. All of this within an hour of Wellington.
Wellington: As mentioned earlier, Wellington is the capital of
New Zealand. It has a reputation of being very windy which it
certainly can be, but on a clear day, there is nowhere nicer.
There is not a lot of flat land in Wellington so almost
everywhere you go, you are treated to fabulous views of the
harbour and city. There are more than 300 cafes and restaurants
in the city, the highest concentration per capita of almost
anywhere in the world. Wellington is rich in culture and the
arts and has a bursting calendar of events as well as many
interesting museums and galleries to visit. Shopping is also
excellent in Wellington catering to all whether you consider
yourself to be funky, intellectual or just plain indulgent. Many
tourists overlook Wellington which is a pity as it offers so
much within a very compact area.
About the author:
Sue Taylor has written several articles about traveling in New
Zealand. She and her husband Grant have travelled extensively
and have developed several travel websites. See
www.taylortraveltales.com for further information.