Photo: Kelly Tyndall
1. The Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is made up of more than 150 islands dotting the inlets and bays surrounding the small towns of Paihia, Russell, and Waitangi. You’ll see the diverse landscape of hills with frolicking sheep, white sand beaches, and quaint little towns.
2. Waikato and Waitomo
The major attraction in the area are the famous Waitomo Caves with their glow worm grotto and limestone caverns. Exploring the underground network of caves is exhilarating and the glow worms are breathtaking. Once in a life time experience!
The centre of New Zealand’s thermal region, featuring geysers, steaming lakes and streams, mud pools, multi-colored silica terraces, and hot mineral pools known for their curative properties. Taking time in Rotorua to relax and spoil yourself with a spa experience is a highlight not to be missed. Your muscles will thank you!
4. Tongariro National Park
In the park, Mount Ruapehu (9,177 feet) is the highest peak in the North Island and also a live volcano! It is a breathtaking view. Walk along the footsteps of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ characters and get lost in the majestic scenerary.
Wellington is known as the restaurant capital of New Zealand. Many of its great cafes, funky bars, and ethnic-inspired restaurants are within walking distance of each other. After lots of “natural” scenery in other areas of NZ, you will enjoy Wellington’s paved sidewalks! New Zealand boasts they have the best coffee and Wellington does not disappoint.
The Pancake Rocks are most spectacular in the Putai area. They were formed 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landed on the seabed about 2 km below the surface. The Rocks are home to hundreds of sea lions! You can even watch the babies play while the adults sleep on the warm rocks.
The Marlborough Sounds, made up of sheltered waterways, meanders for more than 600 miles (966 km) around secluded coves and pristine beaches, with many spots accessible only by boat. Experience dolphins swimming by your boat, taste the most fabulous wine, and hike a beautiful trail- what more can you ask for?
Nelson’s mild climate is ideal for horticulture. Nelson is a large fruit growing region in New Zealand and supplies the nation’s tobacco and hops. One of the best places for delicious micro brewed beer and fish and chips. Luckily it is easy to work off calories in Nelson as you are surrounded with hike and bike trails, beautiful beaches and yoga studios.
Queenstown lies at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range. It is the South Island’s most popular resort and the base for excursions into the surrounding mountains and nearby fiords, including Milford Sound. It boasts the highest Bungee jump in the world and is great for adrenaline junkies. The view at the peak of The Remarkables lives up to its name!
Covering nearly three million acres, wet, wild, rugged and remote, Fiordland is one of the largest national parks in the world. A World Heritage Site, this is nature on a grand scale. Protected by its isolation, some of New Zealand’s rarest birds are found here, as well as some of the country’s best-known hiking tracks. Milford sound is a MUST in New Zealand. Blue penguins, seals, and massive fjords. Majestic to say the least.