Is there a country that offers more of a travelling paradox than New Zealand?
In terms of surface area, it’s a pretty small couple of islands, but it’s so diverse in terms of what it offers its visitors that you feel like you could spend years there and never see everything there is to see!
One of the greatest pleasures of travelling is the flexibility you have to get off the beaten track and find those fantasy out-of-the-way spots that nobody else knows about. New Zealand has these in abundance with everything from wide open farming plains and spectacular mountain ranges to cool green forests and sun-kissed coastal retreats.
New Zealand has rivers, lakes and waterfalls in abundance, and tourists flock in their droves to sail on them. One of the best secluded areas to get your nautical fix away from everyone else is Doubtful Sound, a fjord down the road from the more famous but much smaller Milford Sound.
For an unforgettable demonstration of the contrasting sides of nature, check out the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers on the South Island, which have cut through rainforest over millions of years to dramatic effect. A lake, which was formerly a hill until it was levelled and drilled into the ground by mining companies.
For hiking, kayaking and biking, there are few better places than the Marlborough Sounds in the northeast of the island – with multiple trails, accommodation options and fantastic weather, get in touch with Mother Nature under your own steam and at your own pace.
If you’re a train enthusiast, no trip to New Zealand would be complete without a trip on the Trans-Alpine, a twice-daily journey which goes through the Canterbury plains, up through Arthur’s Pass and through the Southern Alps. The train has a special viewing car so you won’t miss one bit of dazzling scenery.
Culinary aficionados will get a kick out of the unusual food and drink offered at the annual Wild Foods Festival, which takes place every March in the town of Hokitika – from worm sushi to genuine moonshine, this place has it all!
New Zealand flights are available from a variety of UK airlines. The earlier you book, the cheaper they will be. With so much to see and do throughout New Zealand, though, you might have a job working out when to catch your return flight!
Caroline Holloway enjoys discovering new off the bitten track destinations especially when it comes to beautiful countries like New Zealand. She still gets amazed how many destinations are hidden away from an average tourist.