New Zealand is a country of rare beauty, with all of its diverse physical, cultural, and artistic landscapes located close to each other. There’s much to see and do in the Land of the Long White Cloud, this is Flight Centre’s pick of the bunch.
1. Cruise the Bay of Islands
Charter a yacht, join a daily cruise or hire a sea kayak and enter a maritime adventure playground with an abundance of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more.
2. View Milford Sound
Described as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during successive ice ages. At its deepest point, it plunges to a depth of 265 metres. Take a day trip on a launch or organise an overnight stay on a charter boat. Scenic flights, sea kayaking safaris and diving excursions can also be arranged.
3. See Lake Tekapo by air
Lake Tekapo is a photographer’s dream, with snow-topped mountains, turquoise blue lakes and grassy hills. Air Safaris will take you over the majestic Southern Alps where you can view New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt Cook.
4. Get adventurous in Queenstown
The resort town of Queenstown’s lake and mountain landscape is suited to almost any kind of adventure. Activities include snow sports, bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting.
5. Tour the glowworm caves at Waitomo
World-renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves have majestic and ornate cave decorations, a deep limestone shaft and the magnificent Cathedral Cavern, where New Zealand’s own opera star Kiri Te Kanawa once performed.
6. Enjoy a Maori concert and feast
Throughout New Zealand, there are many opportunities to learn ancient Maori history. Listen to local stories, watch an exciting Maori performance and feast on traditional cuisine.
7. Take a guided trip onto Fox Glacier,
At 13 kilometres, Fox Glacier is the longest of the awe-inspiring New Zealand West Coast glaciers. At its head, soaring peaks of over 3000 metres dominate the vista. Trained guides can take you onto the glacier itself to discover this incredible world of ice.
8. Take the Overlander rail journey.
The Overlander is a train journey through the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, travelling between Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand's arts and culture capital.
Pass the Central North Island ski towns, Mount Ruapehu, the Raurimu Spiral and stunning river gorges.
9. Visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve
The Whakarewarewa Valley is a natural wonder. Here, drama unfolds daily as geysers erupt, mud pools bubble, steam hisses and warm water rains down. Some 500 pools and at least 65 geyser vents, each with their own name, are found on this site, with the most famous, Pohutu, erupting up to 30 metres high.
10. Walk the Routeburn Track
This 32-kilometre route winds through the stunning Fiordland National Park, through forested valleys rich with birdlife, waterfalls, turquoise-blue rivers, deep lakes and spectacular mountain scenery. You can walk independently or as part of a guided group, usually over two to four days.
Flights to Auckland start from R12 750 and during January 2012 Flight Centre has Australia and New Zealand is on sale. Contact them on 0860 400 747 or www.flightcentre.co.za