Few destinations make for a dramatic vacation getaway quite like new Zealand. what really makes this country so special is how easy it is to get out and actually enjoy it. whether it’s surfing, jet-boating, bungee jumping, whale watching, snowboarding, kayaking, wine-tasting or just hanging out on beach — there’s  a whole lot of adventure to be  had throughout this dramatic and gorgeous place.

Add to that, rich maori cultural experiences, outdoor music festivals, energetic cities and amazing wildlife — all packed within a beautiful place where the journey is just as much fun as the destination — and you’re looking at some serious fun.

Along with great food, New Zealand is a premier new-world wine country, producing award-winning red and white wines that reflect clean air, sunshine and sustainable wine practices.

Wine enthusiast will want to experience the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, a self-drive tour of three wine regions. Regional operators also offer gourmet food and wine tours, and vineyard cycle tours. The pleasing  wine regions include West Auckland, Gisborne, Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay on the North Island; and Marlborough, Central Otago, and Canterbury on the South Island.

An appreciation for Maori culture is evident all throughout New Zealand. The official language of the country is Maori; it is taught in schools, used in government and heard on radio and television. In fact, visitors are encouraged to learn and participate in traditional Maori customs which center around food and dance.

Outdoor Adventure

Every country has its own way of saying hello. Hawaiians place leis around your neck, the French kiss you on both cheeks, the Germans like to shake hands. New Zealander’s on the other hand want to know your handicap at golf. New Zealand is a golfer’s paradise having more courses per capita than anywhere else in the world. It’s estimated that there’s one course for every 7,728 people, many remaining unattended and have honor boxes to collect payment.

With over 400 golf courses and facilities to choose from, the country’s range of golf courses is diverse with backdrops such as snowy mountain ranges, stunning lakes, cliff-top ocean view, geothermal springs and rolling hills.

From traditional rural fairways in local farmlands to the internationally recognized luxury courses at Cape Kidnappers (Hawke’s Bay), Clearwater (Christchurch), The Hills (Queenstown) and Kauri Cliffs (Northland), the possibilities for golfers are endless.

New Zealand remains one of the most affordable places in the world to play a round. Clubs such as the Arikikapakapa (know locally as the Whaka) in Rotorua or the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, located near Wellington, are the New Zealand equivalent to being at Augusta or St. Andrews, but without the stuffiness. 

The New Zealand outdoors also offers loads of hikes and walks suitable for people of all fitness levels. Nine walking destinations have been designated “Great Walks” by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. These walks include Milford Track (New Zealand’s most famous “Great Walk”), Routeburn Track, The Kepler, Stewart Island’s Rakiura Track, Tongariro National Park, Whanganui Journey and Lake Waikaremoana.

And New Zealand’s movie-like landscapes aren’t just fantasy; they truly beg to be explored! Years since the release of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, fans continue to travel to New Zealand to experience the mountains,
lakes, rivers and plains that formed the magical landscape of Middle-Earth.

The Art of Feeling Good

In an increasingly busy world, more and more people want to escape the everyday and relax — and New Zealand has many spas and retreats on offer to help visitors do just that.

While many overseas spas are entirely manufactured, New Zealand is a natural spa destination with a difference. Its spa services enhance the assets of the natural environment making bathing in natural hot springs a key attraction. Images of Hanmer Springs in the South Island, with people enjoying hot springs surrounded by snowtopped mountains, epitomize the natural advantage New Zealand has in providing  a holistic spa experience.

World-Class Wining and Dining

Food and wine are an essential ingredient to every New Zealand experience, whether it’s fine dining or casual outdoor meals.

Drawing inspiration from Europe, Asia and Polynesia, New Zealand’s cuisine is often described as Pacific Rim by its very nature. In fact, many of the country’s best chefs infuse their foods with unique local herbs and plants that add traditional flavors to contemporary dishes. Expect to indulge in plenty of seafood like green-lipped mussels, crayfish, oysters and fresh fish, award-wining cheeses and of course the county’s famous lamb. You should also expect a laid-back, friendly atmosphere no matter where you eat — Kiwis love to keep it casual.

Vineyards span every region, chefs put playful local twists on fine cuisine and festivals serve up taste sensations with a side of local music. When it comes to sampling the country’s world-class wines, Martinborough, Marlborough, Hawke’s bay and Central Otago are signature wine regions. Explore your pick of 120 vineyards by driving the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. For a really through wine tour, add West Auckland, Gisborne, and Canterbury to your itinerary.

Most wineries are open for tastings, and many of them have fine restaurants. There are plenty of tours too — and each is a great way to take in the full spectrum of local flavors. New Zealand’s internationally-acclaimed varieties  include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, and Bordeaux, so get ready  to sample away!

Getting There

Just a 12-hour flight from the West Coast of the U.S., traveling to New Zealand has never been easier or more comfortable. And there are many great ways in which you can make your way around the multiisland country — whether via chauffeurdriven car, your own rental car, a guided tour or an opulent cruise. 

Cruising is also a fantastic way to witness many of the country’s “must see” spots up close while traveling in absolute comfort and elegance. There are many diverse itineraries that take voyagers on scenic expeditions to places throughout New Zealand and Australia.

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