Epic holidays to New Zealand
Holidays in New Zealand can be as laid back or as adventurous as you wish, and come in the form of group tours, independent itineraries, self-drive road trips and more. Here, you’ll find green and pleasant pastures, mile-upon-mile of crinkle-cut coastline and dramatic volcanic landscapes.
Magic is always just around the corner, with the magnificent Milford Sound and the glowing Waitomo Caves just a couple of the richly diverse natural highlights. Delve a little deeper and you’ll discover the historic threads of indigenous Māori heritage as well as European architecture in the cities of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
From gushing geysers around the Waiotapu area on North Island to extra special South Island treats, such as helicopter rides over Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, there’s nothing that beats a holiday in New Zealand for good old-fashioned adventures, down under.
North Island is home to around four million Kiwis, which is roughly three quarters of the country’s overall population. It’s also where you’ll find some of New Zealand’s manmade highlights with the cities of Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton all worth visiting on your travels. The sun kissed slopes overlooking Hawke’s Bay on the east coast are also well regarded with the coastal city of Napier the entrance to one of North Island’s best loved wine regions. Head inland and it’s the spluttering mud pools and geysers of Tongariro National Park that provide the natural highlights alongside NZ’s largest lake, Taupo. From Māori culture in Rotorua and English era architecture in Aukland to the film set tours of Hobbiton and the glow worm filled caves of Waitomo – if you’re looking for highlights on your New Zealand holidays, head to North Island and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
South Island is where the rest of New Zealand lives. Although it’s the larger of the two islands, the majority of the land here has national park protection. Natural landmarks such as the Southern Alps conjure up the highlights with the snow-capped summit of Aoraki/Mount Cook soaring to 3,724m. Head to the west coast and the shimmering Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers steal the show whilst Fjordland National Park, in the southwest, stretches all the way to Milford and Doubtful Sounds. Scenic thrill seekers should certainly consider the option of a helicopter flight along this stretch of coastline although the green hillsides and white sand beaches of Abel Tasman National Park will certainly be just as eagerly anticipated. From the verdant vineyards of Marlborough and the British era heritage of Christchurch and Dunedin to the southernmost tip of Stewart Island, it’s no surprise that a tour of South and North islands has to be at the top of everyone’s New Zealand wish list.
The flight time from the UK to Aukland is just over 22 hours.
British citizens don’t require a visa for New Zealand if staying for less than six months. They will, however, need an NZeTA (New Zealand electronic Travel Authority) which can be obtained online. For more information on entry requirements to New Zealand, please visit the GOV.UK website or, alternatively, visit CIBT Visas for more information.
New Zealand’s weather can be as unpredictable as the rich and varied landscapes. In the main, it’s warmer in the north with mild Antipodean winters and hot and humid summers. Average summer temperatures range from 20 to 30°C although some of the higher mountains on South Island are permanently topped with snow. Expect rain whichever time of year you visit, that’s what makes New Zealand such a green and pleasant land to live in.
New Zealand is just the 12 hours ahead of the UK.
English is the language most commonly spoken in New Zealand although Māori also has equal status as the country’s official language.
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