NEW ZEALAND: “Perfect. Not inexpensive, but definitely worth every penny. When I think of New Zealand, it’s what I imagine heaven to look like! The most beautiful place and people in the world…wish we could live there”, Nicole Falkowitz said after a perfect honeymoon.
Auckland. Imagine a cosmopolitan city where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, with hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture, and a passion for outstanding food and wine, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland.
Only a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, WaihekeIsland is a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves, and beaches. Make it a day trip from the city or stay in one of the island’s many boutique accommodations.
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course, Northland
Explore this subtropical aquatic playground north of Auckland. Swim with dolphins, take a cruise, relax on golden beaches, play a round of golf, and visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of the nation.
Don’t miss a tour of the idyllic film set in Waikato, the location of the Shire in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, an easy day’s excursion from Hamilton.
Dubbed the “coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet, Wellington sparkles with an eclectic list of must-dos. Explore inner-city beaches, stroll around the harbor and surrounding hills, soak up the vibrant cultural scene, and wine and dine in a city that has more cafes, restaurants, and bars per capita than New York City.
AbelTasmanNational Park, Nelson
New Zealand’s sunniest region is home to the AbelTasmanNational Park, where you can hike, kayak, or just enjoy this coastal paradise. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is one of the country’s nine Great Walks that allow you to truly absorb the splendor of New Zealand.
An hour’s drive from Christchurch, the charming town of Akaroa will have you entranced with its historical buildings, magnificent harbor, and fine food. At this former French settlement, the locals today are Hector’s dolphins: some of the smallest, rarest, and friendliest dolphins in the world.
The Catlins, Otago
Rich with Scottish heritage and architecture, this southern city is nestled in tree-clad hills at the head of a spectacular harbor. Dunedin is the gateway to the Otago region, famous for its rare wildlife colonies, magnificent Pinot Noir, and some of the best hiking and cycling trails.
Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions, which has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine. Grab a wine-trail map and cycle between vineyards.
This stunning four-season lake-and-alpine resort town is scenic. Surrounded by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal-clear LakeWakatipu, Queenstown is jeweled with epic adventure and relaxation from ski slope to spa.
Milford Sound, Fiordland
Queenstown is the gateway to the Fiordland region, home to the remarkable Milford and Doubtful sounds, with their dramatic fjords, cascading waterfalls, and snowcapped peaks. Cruise, kayak, or take a scenic flight to witness this beauty up close.
Pictures by Rob Svisted, Chris Cameron, Wellington Tourism, Lake Wanaka Tourism, Chris Sisarich og David Wall.