Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand

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Experience New Zealand

By name, New Zealand's North and South islands may seem uninspired. In reality, their diverse, jaw-dropping landscapes are anything but. From Golden Bay's sugary sands to the bubbling mud pools of Rotorua, NZ is crammed with show-stopping scenery. Think creeping glaciers, forest-covered peaks, inky-blue fiords, active volcanoes, snowy alps, one-pub country towns and shimmering harbour cities.

Eat and drink

Gourmets: cook up a gastro-tour on your New Zealand holiday, from zippy olive oils at Matakana Farmers' Market to fat Southern Glory oysters on Stewart Island. Tour Martinborough’s wineries to sip silky pinot noir. Sink your nose into a caramel-flavoured pint of boutique pale ale in Marlborough. Not challenging enough? Brave a possum pie at Hokitika Wildfoods Festival. Or barbequed huhu grubs. They taste, by all accounts, just like peanut butter.

Back to nature

After flights to New Zealand you'll find entire mountain ranges at your disposal, absolutely gratis! Join fellow intrepids at the base of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing for a seven-hour trek over this awe-inspiring World Heritage landscape. But check the forecast and carry weather-proof mountain gear regardless. Explore beech forests lining long, glacial valleys in the Southern Alps, hike golden beaches and ferny forests in Abel Tasman National Park, or simply bask in the sub-tropical waters of the Bay of Islands.

Get cultured

Relive Captain Cook’s 1769 discovery of Tuuranga-nui near Gisborne in Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. This Wellington museum house thousands of artefacts, including those left behind by the very first Moriori and Otago gold miners. Lord of The Rings devotees can geek out on the Matamata set used for the Hobbits’ Shire, or lock horns in MacKensie Country, where many of the epic battle scenes were filmed.

Fast facts

Where? South. Way down south. The official 'Gateway to Antarctica' is also, however, just a hop, skip and jump from tropical Fiji.

Population: Of the 4.4 million people in New Zealand, more than one million live in Auckland.

Key dates: October 23, 2011. Even if you know nothing about sport, you can’t fly to rugby-mad New Zealand without at least knowing the day the All Blacks won their second Rugby World Cup.

Did you know? Pre-human New Zealand was land predator-free but mankind made short work of our flightless birds. Another reason the staunch kiwi (bird) deserves your respect.

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