The country also has history, culture and, not least, winelands producing excellent wines. They contrast in not only terrain and physical features but also in character and attractions. The North Island is volcanic and thermal. The South Island is two thirds mountains and one third plains. The North Island offers lush sub-tropical vegetation, exotic flora and fauna, beaches and attractive small friendly towns.
The Polynesians from whom the Maoris are descended, settled here many centuries ago. The South Island has spectacular scenery consisting of sweeping plains, snow-covered mountains and rugged coasts and abounds in natural breath-taking landscapes all to be experienced on New Zealand tours. The Southern Alps mountain chain which runs through the centre, divides the South Island. For enthusiasts of outdoor pursuits and activities on a New Zealand vacation, one can find in abundance any of the following — hiking, swimming, snorkeling, rafting, jet boating, skydiving, paragliding and hang gliding, parasailing, sailing, bungee jumping, climbing, hunting, fishing, caving, skiing and hot air ballooning.
As mentioned, the two major islands are very different and have unique features. The city sits on a volcanic field and the nearby Rangitoto Island is an unpopulated land mass formed by volcanic activity.
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Auckland is fortunate to have a beautiful harbour which provides some attractive beaches some located in the suburbs of Kohimarama, Devonport and Mission Bay to name a few. The harbour is also home to the Auckland Bridge which connects the centre of the city with its northern suburbs and is the gateway to the far north of the island. A landmark is the Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere which provides excellent panoramic views of Auckland and just one of the many photo opportunities available while on your New Zealand vacation.
The harbour area teems with life both in the daytime and the evening with its many cafes, restaurants and bars and other entertainments. A popular pastime is to take a harbour cruise for a different visual perspective of Auckland.
The city has several green areas and parks. The best known is the Auckland Domain, the oldest and one of the largest here with its remains of a volcanic crater. Wellington is the national capital and is a very attractive city renowned for its natural beauty and also for its arts and culture. It is ringed by mountains and rolling hills and has a rugged coastline.
A vibrant city, it offers trendy cafes, restaurants, boutiques and several art galleries. To discover the city, take the cable car to Mount Victoria or Mount Kaukau to enjoy a panoramic view of Wellington and its surroundings. Rotorua is the centre of most of the geothermal activity in New Zealand. It is known as a thermal wonderland due to its many gushing hot springs and geysers and because of these natural phenonmen, Rotorua is usually included on a New Zealand vacation. Also in Rotorua are other attractions such as the Rainbow Springs National Park, beautiful landscaped gardens featuring fish and birds including the flightless Kiwi bird and the Agrodome with its exhibition of rural New Zealand life including sheep shearing demonstrations.
Nearby are the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves with their interesting limestone formations. The subtropical Bay of Islands is a very pretty region made up of around islands and a wonderful destination to both relax and explore on New Zealand tours — a good place to see dolphins, whales and penguins. The main centre is Pahia with its superb beaches and the site of the Waitangi Treaty signed in to unite the country. Russell is a short ferry ride from Pahia and is a charming township with an interesting history.
It is also home to the cities of Napier and Hastings which offer unusual architecture.
An earthquake destroyed much of the unique Art Deco buildings here in but they have now been restored to their original structures. The South Island boasts many choices to confirm its overwhelming natural beauty that makes up this region. Stroll along the banks of the tree-lined Avon River and observe the neo-gothic architecture. Largely rebuilt after the devastating recent earthquake, the city has not lost its charm.
The North Island of New Zealand
One can take a cable car up to the Port Hills for a panoramic view of both Christchurch and the port of Lyttelton on the coast. Apart from its natural beauty, it is also a centre for many sporting activities. It also has a lively nightlife. One iconic excursion is to take a cruise on a restored steamship on Lake Wakatipu. Not too far from Queenstown is the Fjordland National Park with its sheer rock walls rising straight out of the sea. The best known natural attraction is Milford Sound, an amazingly dramatic and striking fjord and a must inclusion on all New Zealand tours. One can take a cruise on the Sound watching seals, dolphins and penguins while sailing past flowing and cascading waterfalls.
Te Anau is a small town which is the gateway to the Fjordland National Park nestled on the edge of a lake and the perfect location for setting off on hikes or walks or simply relax and take in the surrounding beauty. The city of Dunedin in the south of the island is known as the Edinburgh of the South due to its Scottish heritage.
Stately architecture and steep streets give the city its character. It is also home to the largest and oldest university in New Zealand. The Marlborough Region on the north coast is the gateway to the South Island and is where the ferries arrive from the North Island. It is an important wine producing region and is known for its wine festivals.
It is also a great place to watch dolphins and to go sailing. All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers. Profile Join. Travel feed: Log in Join Recently viewed Bookings Inbox. New Zealand Vacation Packages. To New Zealand.
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