Far-flung in the southwest Pacific, New Zealand consists of two main islands – the North and the South. Yet no matter where you travel here, you’re sure to be captivated by its stunning fjords, spectacular glaciers, subtropical forest and outstanding coastline. Add to that the country’s innovative cuisine, world-famous wineries, fascinating culture and friendly locals and you have your bucket-list trip.
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While both islands are blessed with a temperate climate year-round, as the saying goes: “Warm up in North Island and chill out in the South Island”. The sub-tropical North Island, where New Zealand’s political history began, features vast farmlands, geothermal wonders, white-sand beaches, boiling geysers and even the odd volcano. Furthest north you’ll find the beautiful Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga, where you can marvel at two oceans colliding (you can actually see the line between the two). The main cities of Auckland and Wellington are delightfully relaxed. Between them lies bubbling Rotorua, Hobbiton (for Lord of the Rings fans), pretty towns, vineyards and vast lakes.
The South Island offers snowy mountains, giant glaciers, frozen fjords, alpine living and scenery so vast that “jaw-dropping” will soon become your holiday buzzword. The Alps form the island’s backbone, stretching from Nelson National Park to Milford Sound. This island is one giant, beautiful playpark, serving up adrenaline-filled adventures alongside wildlife encounters and drives so epic that no distance back home will feel too long!
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When to go
With so much to see and do in New Zealand, there really isn’t a bad time to visit. Summer (December-February) brings with it long, balmy evenings and sunny days, so is a great time to make the most of the fantastic outdoor activities and beautiful beaches. Spring (September-November) and Autumn (March-May) bring milder weather but are still very pleasant times to visit, and the autumn colours are spectacular. If you are keen to go skiing, then Winter (June-August) is the best time to go as there should be snow in the South Island, and the mountainous regions of the southern tip of the North Island.
Flights: Air New Zealand operate from London via Los Angeles, whilst partnerships with other airlines (including Singapore Airlines) also enable you to take a stop over in Asia. In fact why not make it an around the world trip! We also love the concept of the Skycouch for a little more room in Economy, available on the Air New Zealand sectors of your journey. Other airlines operating to New Zealand include the BA and Qatar partnership via Doha and Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur. Expect to travel for about 26 hours.
FCDO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/new-zealand
Time Zone: GMT+12
New Zealand Dollar
Capital City: Wellington
Where to Stay in New Zealand
Heritage Queenstown - South Island
Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses - South Island
Grasmere Lodge - South Island
Fiordland Lodge - South Island
Bay of Many Coves - South Island
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers - North Island
SkyCity Hotel Auckland - North Island
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs - North Island