New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, just south of Australia. The country is not part of Australia and has never been (many people make that error), but it has been its own country since the late 19th century. Before then, the country was actually considered to be part of the United Kingdom, and was under the laws and jurisdiction of the crown. New Zealand is actually a number of smaller islands, with two main islands (the North Island, also called Te Ika-a-Māui by the natives, and the South Island, also called Te Waipounamu) that comprise most of the land area of the country.
The Coromandel’s charms are no secret — tens of thousands flock here from the North Island’s urban centres and beyond every summer. Yet it remains just far enough from the madding crowds, as the intermittent weakness of phone signal and the car radio’s scratchiness can attest.
The peninsula is full of diddy towns, but you can add an extra zero to the populations of many during high summer. Between these townships, there’s white, craggy coastline, green, velvety conifers and creamy, dreamy sands. A mix of pony-tailed painters, affluent Aucklanders and laid-back locals use it as their hideaway and, as a result, the pace of life needn’t rise above a trot.
The Abel Tasman National Park:
The Abel Tasman National Park hugs a coastline of extraordinary beauty, its golden sandy beaches and clear turquoise water making it one of the most popular (and accessible) national parks in New Zealand. You can explore by foot, walking into the Park from Marahau, Canaan Downs or Wainui Bay; by sea, taking a cruise to one of the many beaches along the Coastal Track or sea-kayak from various beaches; or by air, flying into the airstrip at Awaroa Bay.
SKYCITY Auckland is a destination like no other in New Zealand. It’s an exciting hub with dining, gaming, adrenaline activities and the iconic Sky Tower.
If you’re visiting Auckland for just one day then a trip up the Sky Tower which stands above all other high rise buildings high is a must. View the city from 328 metres high above street level and take in the beautiful views, up to 80 kilometres in every direction. Spot the key landmarks, a number of volcanoes and historical locations within the greater Auckland area.
Napier Art Deco:
Napier’s Art Deco town centre is unique. Rivalled only by Miami beachfront’s Streamline Moderne, it is the most comprehensive Art Deco styled town in the world. In 1931 a 7.8 on the Richter scale earthquake hit just 15km north of Napier. Lasting two and a half minutes, it destroyed much of the town, and the ensuing fires levelled the rest of the town centre. Development anywhere in the world at this time was rare due to the Great Depression, however Napier was all but wiped of the map and had to be rebuilt from scratch. By the end of the 1930s, Napier was the newest city on the planet.
Fascination with cinema, Hollywood and exotic imagery from Africa and South America mixed with expressions of new and exciting transport engineering; railway, steamships, cars and airplanes, is what gives Art Deco its distinct look. Other period styles such as Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical were also tested and mixed in. Notable Architect J. A. Louis Hay also experimented with the palette of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style.
Kaikoura is a base for wildlife experiences of all kinds – it’s also a great place to eat crayfish (in the Maori language ‘kai’ means food, ‘koura’ means crayfish). An easy two-hour drive north of Christchurch, Kaikoura makes for a great day trip or a fun stop on your way to Marlborough.
Kaikoura’s environment is truly spectacular – the village is caught between the rugged Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean. In winter the mountains are covered with snow, adding to the drama of the landscape.
Kaikoura’s special talent is marine mammal encounters – whales, fur seals and dolphins live permanently in the coastal waters. Whale watching trips leave the town several times a day and the local seal colony is always entertaining. There are plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops to explore.
Franz Josef Glacier:
Franz Josef Glacier was first explored in 1865 by geologist Julius von Haast, who named it after the Austrian emperor. The glacier is five kilometres from the town of the same name, and a 1.5 hour walk will take you to within 750m of its terminal face.
If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a guided ice walk or a heli-hike. Aerial sightseeing is another option.
There’s a range of natural attractions in close proximity to Franz Josef Glacier Village. Lose yourself in the rainforests, waterfalls, and lakes.
In the town you’ll find plenty of places to stay and eat, or relax at the glacier hot pools or explore the wildlife centre. At nearby Lake Mapourika, you can take a kayak tour or rent a stand-up paddle board.
The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland centers on walking outdoors – but what a walk! The park is New Zealand’s most colorful and diverse geothermal attraction; visitors follow demarcated tracks through a stunning variety of volcanic phenomena. You’ll see fantastic, naturally colored hot-and-cold pools, the world famous Champagne Pool, the amazing Lady Knox Geyser and the massive craters that are the hallmark of the Rotorua region’s volcanic heritage.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing:
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual World Heritage Site. The Tongariro National Park is rich in both cultural identity and dramatic, awe-inspiring natural scenery. Unique landforms, including the volcanic peaks of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu ensure the Tongariro Alpine Crossing is considered a world-renowned trek.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a one-way through hike along a 19.4-kilometer (12-mile) track. Transportation can be arranged to and from both ends of the track (more transportation information below). Tongariro Alpine Crossing can be hiked in either direction, but it is recommend that you start from Mangatepopo Car Park at the southwest end of the track and finish at Ketetahi Car Park at the northeast end of the track. Hiking this direction, you will ascend 765 meters (2,510 feet) over the first 8.3 kilometers and then descend 1,125 meters (3,690 feet) over the final 11.1 kilometers, including a steep slope of loose rock that would be tiring to hike up in the opposite direction. Starting from the higher southwest end of the track, you’ll be treated to a seemingly endless string of impressive head-on views.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands offers the visitor so many things to do with lots of activities, short walks, tours and attractions to choose from.
One of New Zealand’s great holiday destinations..stunningly beautiful and historically significant and enjoyed by domestic and international visitors alike.
The range of things to see and do in the Bay of Islands varies from the indulgent to the relaxed to the adrenalin pumping activities. Relax with a massage, body or beauty treatment, enjoy locally caught seafood at one of the many cafe’s or restaurants, or catch your own with one of the local Bay of Islands fishing charters, take a scenic flight over the Bay of Islands, cruise to the Hole in the Rock, view and swim with dolphins, try parasailing to 1200 feet, go sailing through the 144 islands or experience an overnight cruise in the Bay. Take the time to explore the regions historical past of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and experience a Maori cultural show…. the Bay of Islands offers so many things to do to suit all visitors.
Milford sound has a long and interesting history, from early Maori habitation to the first European explorers. Milford Sound was recognised by early colonists as a very special place and it been visited by curious explorers for over 200 years. Nineteenth century botanists have found rare plant life and the earliest photographers have documented it’s natural wonders. Please read through some of the pages we’ve created for you to learn more about this amazing place!
You can travel to Milford Sound in our custom-built glass roofed coaches so you won’t miss views of the mountains, glaciers and rainforest … yep, you’ll need the camera on the coach. Or for a different perspective of Milford Sound, take a scenic flight from Queenstown.