Regions in New Zealand
New Zealand is a very diverse country with many areas worth seeing, but at a high level it is easier to divide it into its two main islands and the smaller offshore islands.
- North Island
Gentle, with landscapes ranging from sandy beaches, farmland and rolling forests to active volcanic peaks with bubbling mud ponds.
- South Island
Spectacular mountains and fjords, large beech forests, beautiful beaches, large glaciers, a mecca for motorcyclists.
- Stewart Island
Covered by native forests and rich in birdlife, most of the island forms a national park.
- Chatham Islands
Remote eastern islands, traditional homeland of the Moriori people.
- Sub-Antarctic Islands
Very remote, uninhabited and little frequented, you can now observe the sub-Antarctic fauna and flora on cruises.
Cities in New Zealand
- Wellington – the nation’s capital, with Parliament and the Beehive building and the wonderful free Te Papa Museum.
- Auckland – the city of sail with its ports on the east and west coasts, by far the largest city with 1.4 million inhabitants and everything a big city has to offer.
- Christchurch – the Garden City, the largest city on the South Island, is in the process of rebuilding after the devastating earthquake in February 2011.
- Dunedin – South Edinburgh, proud of its Scottish heritage, chocolate factory, southern albatross colony and beautiful walking trails, just a short drive from the central business district.
- Hamilton – lush green centre of the rich and fertile Waikato on the banks of the mighty Waikato River south of Auckland, home of rugby mascot Mooloo
- Napier – one of the best concentrations of Art Deco architecture in the world, famous as a wine region and close to the Cape Gannet breeding colony and nature reserve.
- Nelson – a thriving arts culture, diverse cuisine with an emphasis on local produce, a craft brewery, with the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand and surrounded by beautiful coastal and mountain landscapes, three national parks, stunning vineyards and orchards.
- Queenstown – the adrenaline and adventure capital of the world where you can ski, skydive, bungee jump, jet boat and have fun.
- Rotorua – famous for Māori culture and geothermal activities including geysers, fascinating pools of boiling mud and beautiful pools and hot springs.
Other destinations in New Zealand
New Zealand is rich in national parks, rural areas and other remote places worth visiting. Here are some of the best.
- Abel Tasman National Park – golden sandy beaches, kayaking and Abel Tasman Coastal Trail
- Mount Cook d’Aoraki National Park – lots of hiking opportunities and New Zealand’s highest mountain
- Bay of Islands – a beautiful place on the North Island of historical significance
- The Coromandel Peninsula – a rugged coastline with many beaches and hiking opportunities just an hour and a half from Auckland
- Hawke’s Bay – hillside vineyards and art deco architecture in Napier
- Milford Sound – beautiful fjord in Fiordland National Park
- Taupo – Trout fishing and adventure activities in the centre of the North Island
- Tongariro National Park – three volcanoes, two ski fields and one of the country’s most popular hikes
- Westland National Park – home of the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers