New Zealand offers seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. The diversity of the country’s landscape features high peaks in the mountain ranges, to black and white sand beaches, and farmlands to sub-tropical rainforest. The country is home to a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life including a large number of unique bird species. The landscape of this breathtaking country has been the backdrop to several popular movies, including Avatar and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
This is a culturally diverse and fascinating country, with a population of approximately 4 million. The Maori people arrived in the country about 1,000 years ago, and first European to discover the country was a Dutchman, but the British made New Zealand part of their empire. Throughout New Zealand, visitors will find amazing Maori historic sites and beautiful colonial-era buildings. Because of the magnificent scenery, visitors to the country should see as much as they can, via walking/hiking tours, bicycling, and even more extreme sports such as river rafting and off-roading. It is hard to narrow the adventure options down and select only a few, but the choices below provide outstanding opportunities to see all that this stunningly beautiful country has to offer.
For bicylists, the New Zealand Cycle Trail (www.nzcycletrail.com) offers a choice of 23 different rides, which stretch across the North and South Islands. These rides will take cyclists through subtropical fern forests of the far North Island, along historic military and old coach roads, to breathtaking lake and mountain views, past wild beaches and through rainforests and lush wetlands. There will be something for everyone to enjoy on trails that are built with all levels of cyclists in mind.
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there are endless walking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the country’s natural beauty. There are thousands of miles of spectacular trails covering all kinds of terrain providing access to glaciers, fiords, subtropical forests, beaches, bays, mountains and volcanoes; all ready to explore. Interconnecting trails cover the length and breadth of New Zealand on Te Araroa (Maori for The Long Pathway). Many walking and hiking tour providers can plan the best options for travelers.
With thousands of miles of coastline, countless lakes and rivers - New Zealand is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. There is really no limit when it comes to water activities. Kayaking is the best way to explore the coastline and inland waterways. The ocean provides great sailing and fishing. Opportunities for diving abound, with accessible coastlines, marine reserves and hundreds of offshore islands. The more adventurous will find great surfing and wakeboarding along the miles of coastline.
New Zealand has developed a deserved reputation as an international skiing destination. The season runs from June to October, the landscapes and scenery are out of this world. Skiiers will find wide-open bowls and gentle slopes for first-time skiers, and off-piste skiing and heli-skiing for the more adventurous. Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa was recognized as New Zealand’s Best Ski Hotel by the World Travel Awards. The 220-room resort is the closest accommodation option to The Remarkables, one of the region’s most popular ski destinations with cloud-piercing peaks. Within 50 minutes, guests can also access the slopes of Coronet Peak, Cardrona, Snow Park or Snow Farm.
In addition to adventure, New Zealand has famous wineries, gourmet dining, arts and culture, and don’t forget to take in a game of Rugby. There really is something here for every type of traveler.
With years of experience, the staff at Travel2 (www.travel2-us.com) are experts at arranging travel to the South Pacific and offer vacation, honeymoon and cruise holiday packages to New Zealand. Gadventures (www.gadventures.com) offers several different tour packages with varying length and comfort levels, all offering adventure and the best that New Zealand has to offer. Downunder Answers (www.duatravel.com) employs seasoned destination specialists to customize vacations for independent travelers to New Zealand, providing unique and experiential holidays.
You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months following your departure from New Zealand. A visa is not required for US citizens for stays under 90 days. The country has a temperate climate - subtropical in the north, and colder in the alpine regions of the south. Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) provides direct air service from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Honolulu.
For more information, visit www.newzealand.com