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Brought to you by Tourism New Zealand
Amazing new experiences are just one flight away.
New Zealand is a destination where everything’s close - dramatic natural scenery that will dazzle you with movie set good looks, adventures around every corner, and a warm, genuine hospitality that stays with you long after your flight home.
Where it’s safe, friendly and easy to get around. Where you can wake up in a vibrant city, take in soaring mountain peaks, lush green valleys and inviting pastures – then drift asleep to the song of the ocean.
Whether you’re escaping to an uncrowded beach or immersed in the soothing waters of a hidden thermal spring – you’ll find an incredible choice of things to do. Adrenaline seekers and nature lovers can leap head first into outdoor adventures, the curious can connect with the unique Māori culture, and the hardworking can find total seclusion and pure relaxation. Food lovers can savor fresh, locally sourced produce, matched with delicious world-class wines.
Say farewell, and leave feeling like one of the whānau (family) carrying a lifetime of incredible memories to share.
Valid passport needed for entry
Māori and English
New Zealand dollar
If you love wine, you’ll adore Te Whau on Waiheke Island. You can enjoy a winery tour with tastings of award-winning red wines, and then make yourself comfortable in the restaurant. Critics get hugely excited about Te Whaus food, which has resulted in a long list of awards. Te Whau is a wow in every way.
The geothermal magic of Rotorua is an easy drive from Auckland and Te Puia is the perfect starting point for local explorations. You can discover geysers, boiling mud, hot springs and Maori culture in one extraordinary location. The experience is even better with a Maori guide. You'll hear amazing stories that have been handed down through generations.
When you're biking the Queenstown Trail, enticing food and wine opportunities pop up at regular intervals. Pause for a while to enjoy a wine and a platter of delicious local produce. It's exactly what you need to fuel the next leg of your Southern Lakes cycling adventure.
Carved by glaciers over thousands of years, Fiordland is a world of deep waters, tall peaks and waterfalls. Milford Sound can be explored by cruise boat or sea kayak. There’s also a network of walking tracks in the area, including the world famous Milford Track. Most visitors use the lake town of Te Anau as a base for explorations.
New Zealanders sometimes refer to their country as "God Zone," a rather prideful twist on the phrase "God's Own." But if you like gorgeous scenery and gutsy people, you'll agree with them. New Zealand is blessed with some of the most varied and dramatic terrain in the world—from glaciers, fjords and beaches to mountains, meadows and rain forests, known to New Zealanders as "native bush." If you're so inclined, you can admire the breathtaking scenery while skiing, surfing, horseback riding, mountain climbing, hiking (which the locals call "tramping") or kayaking.
And if those pursuits aren't exciting enough, you can try some of the adventures the Kiwis (as New Zealanders are called) have invented: You can bungee jump off cliffs or bridges; paddle through white-water rapids; rocket through narrow caverns on jet boats; or strap yourself inside a giant plastic ball and roll down a hillside.
If you prefer more leisurely activities, you can still enjoy New Zealand's natural wonders by strolling on its pristine beaches, sailing along its picturesque coastline or fishing in its crystal clear rivers and lakes.
Many historians designate 800-1350 as a likely time frame for the Maori (pronounced MAU-ree) settlement of New Zealand. The Maori called their new home Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud), and their oral history recounts how they took a large fleet of canoes from a place called Hawaiiki (perhaps a set of islands in French Polynesia) to sail to what is now New Zealand. For hundreds of years, Maori life went untouched by the outside world. They had spectacularly elaborate body and face tattoos and maintained a culture of fishing, hunting and gathering. Rival tribes warred with one another, and the battles often resulted in the losers being eaten or enslaved by the victors.
The next epoch in the islands' history opened in 1642, when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted the land and called it "Niuew Zeeland." He charted part of the coastline but left without officially claiming it after some of his men were killed by Maori. Some 130 years later, Capt. James Cook claimed the islands for the British crown. He circumnavigated both main islands, which he mapped with an accuracy that is still admired (and used) today.
Once European settlement began in earnest, the introduction of muskets and other weapons to the Maori led to fierce intertribal wars, which—in addition to new European diseases—nearly wiped out their population. Calm ensued by the 1830s, however, and in 1840, a conditional alliance between the Maori and the British, called the Treaty of Waitangi, acknowledged British sovereignty in exchange for some Maori land rights. Despite being signed by more than 500 Maori chiefs, it was a controversial document. It was only after several subsequent decades of bloody war over these land rights that an easier coexistence—which persists to this day—evolved.
From the 1860s to the 1880s, gold fever drew thousands of prospectors to New Zealand. About the same time, large sheep farms began to be established on land cleared from the native forests. The country became autonomous in 1907 and is today an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
There are 33.9 million sheep in New Zealand, a major reduction from the peak of nearly 70 million in 1981.
Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, and his Sherpa fellow climber, Tenzing Norgay, were the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
Fiordland National Park stretches out for nearly 3 million acres/1.2 million hectares.
The flightless, herbivorous moa is New Zealand's most famous extinct bird. There were several types, with the largest reaching heights of 14 ft/3.5 m and weighing more than 450 lbs/200 kg. Their flesh was an important part of the Maori diet; they were killed off by over-hunting long before Europeans arrived.
Manukau City to the south of Auckland has about 160 ethnic groups based there.
The All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby team, is revered worldwide for its skill and the intimidating Maori haka, a warrior dance used to begin each match. In 2011, the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup at the tournament held in New Zealand.
According to Maori legend, New Zealand's North Island was a great fish hooked by Maui, a heroic demi-god figure who appears in many Maori legends. The South Island was his canoe and Stewart Island his anchor. Therefore the North Island's name in Maori is Te Ika a Maui, the fish of Maui, and Stewart Island Te Puka o te Waka a Maui, the anchor stone of the canoe of Maui. And while the South Island is thought of as Maui's waka, or canoe, its name is Te Wai Ponamu, the waters of Ponamu (or greenstone) in acknowledgment of places on the island where the deep-green stone, valued for weapons, tools and ornaments, was sourced.
Our favorite place name in New Zealand is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, a coastal hill 60 mi/95 km south of Napier, on the North Island. The name is shortened to Taumata in conversation. It means, "The brow of a hill where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as the Land Eater, played his flute to his lover."
The kiwi is a flightless native bird about the size of a large chicken and, relative to its body size, lays the largest egg of any bird—up to 20% of its body weight. There are six varieties of kiwi; females are always larger and more aggressive than the males. They are active at night, sniffing out worms using tiny nostrils at the end of their long beaks.
New Zealand's Antipodes Islands (from the Greek anti—opposite—and podes—feet) are so named because, on a globe, they are almost precisely opposite England.
When people say kia ora (pronouned kee-a or-a), they are offering an informal greeting in Maori that can be used instead of hello.
New Zealand's "living dinosaur," the Tuatara lizard, has a third eye, an organ under its skin in the middle of the head, which is sensitive to light.
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