New Zealand; few people come here without being captivated and without a sense of envy towards the people lucky enough to call it home. Though generally somewhat in the shadow of its larger, more boisterous neighbour Australia, it is full of quiet, natural charm and has an extremely high quality of life.
It has some incredibly beautiful natural landscapes, and accordingly there is a huge rural tourism scene here in which farmstays and agritourism play their part. It is also one of the world’s best places for adventure sports which prove popular with locals and tourists alike.
New Zealand’s North Island is the smaller of the two but the most populous, though there is plenty of space and plenty of opportunity to be left alone. It also has a great variety of things to do and see; From its increasingly sophisticated cities, Auckland in particular, to its great outdoors with so many different landscapes to enjoy.
The sub tropical rain forests of the Northland and Bay of Islands, the geysers and thermal springs of volcanic Rotorua, the sulfur city, and the hauntingly beautiful solitude of Eastland being just some examples.
South Island New Zealand, Te Wai Pounamu or Water of Greenstone to the Maoris is a rough and rugged untamed jewel. Larger than the North Island but with a lot less people it has space to offer in abundance and that space holds some of the worlds most spectacular and atmospheric landscapes.
Though there is strong competition from the North Island it has probably got New Zealand’s best scenery with everything from towering mountains and glaciers to primeval forests and the cleanest of beaches.
It’s hard to choose one region over another though all down the west coast is quite spectacular. The region around Kalkoura though in the north east with its snow capped mountains looking out towards the Southern Ocean or the Arthur’s Pass National Park in the high rugged Alps have jaw dropping scenery too. And so much of the Island has a wonderful last frontier feel, the great fjordlands of the far south west particularly, and not forgetting the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, with New Zealand’s highest mountain dominating the landscape.
Outdoor sports here are very popular as you might imagine, everything from skiing and rafting to one of New Zealand’s oddest cultural exports; bungee jumping.
It’s not all wild and untamed though, it has some rich farming land and the region of Marlborough, around Blenheim particularly for example, produces some of New Zealand’s best wine.