Not the country’s capital, but with 1.4 million people Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and has lots to offer from adrenalin sports to relaxing hikes, from vibrant night clubs to sophisticated cafes and international cuisine. Enjoy the views and a glass of wine from the Sky Tower observation deck, walk across volcanic islands or swim at one of the most stunning beaches in the country.
Just a 40-minute boat ride from Auckland you will find a haven for wine lovers, beach goers and food connoisseurs. Waiheke is perfect for a weekend getaway to indulge, relax and forget about the worries of the world.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Listed as New Zealand’s best one day hike, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing leads through some of the most breath-taking scenery on earth. Tongariro National Park in the heart of the North Island was the first place in the world to become a World Heritage Site due to its spiritual and cultural significance for the local indigenous people. The main features are three still active volcanoes with eruptions as recent as 2012. One of them is Mt Ngauruhoe, better knows as Mount Doom from the “Lord of the Rings”-Trilogy.
The northern most tip of the country, in the indigenous language called Te Rerenga Wairua, is of utmost spiritual significance to Māori people. It is here the spirits of the deceased start their final journey back to Hawaiki, the ancestral homeland of the natives. The lighthouse is one of the most photographed landmarks in New Zealand, and the site where Tasman Sea meets Pacific Ocean is rather spectacular.
Known for its geothermal activity and Māori history, Rotorua is a cultural hub in the central North Island. Watch a geyser erupt, visit bubbling mud pools and soak up the smell of sulphur lingering in the air. You can also explore the mystery of the sunken terraces, seek the thrill of adventure sports or wander through gigantic Redwoods.
Pristine white beaches with crystal clear waters, lush rainforests and unspoiled wilderness. The Coromandel attracts millions of visitors each year who wander the shoreline of the picture-perfect Cathedral Cove, dig their very own spa at Hot Water Beach or experience the spectacular scenery along the coastal walkway.
The filming of “The Lord of the Rings” has long ago finished, but Hobbiton still remains in the heart of New Zealand. Leave the 20th century behind and step into the Shire, where 44 Hobbit Holes still stand today, waiting to be explored.
The Wild South Coast is known for its ruggedness, small picturesque villages and delicious wines. Martinborough is the centre of the local wine industry with various vineyards open for tasting. Or if you prefer solitude head down to Cape Palliser and experience the tiny fishing village of Ngawi that has more bulldozer parked along the beach than people living there.
Half way between Auckland and Wellington, Mount Taranaki dominates the region on the central west coast. Whether it’s covered in snow, hiding behind clouds or standing tall in front of a clear blue sky, the volcanic cone is an iconic sight to be seen.