New Zealand is made up of two major islands and approximately 600 minor islands in the South Pacific Ocean, around 900 miles to the east of the huge landmass of Australia. It has a total area of just over 100,000 square miles, but within that are some of the most amazing sites of natural beauty on this planet, as well as exciting and cosmopolitan cities. New Zealand is enjoying a tourism boom, but with so much to see it’s easy to miss some of its highlights. If you’re thinking of visiting the country also known as Aotearoa, check out our guide to three destinations that you really must see.
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy of films are among the most successful ever made, garnering huge box office receipts as well as critical praise. They were directed by legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson and being a New Zealander himself, he knew exactly where to go for stunning scenery with mesmerising appeal. New Zealand provides the backdrop for much of the movies’ action, and it is this miss more than anything else that brings tourists here. If you’re a Lord Of The Rings fan, you’ll find more than 23 locations that will look familiar, from the Remarkables which doubled as Dimrill Dale, to Mount Ngauruhoe, which you may know better as Mount Doom itself.
The fjords of Scandinavia are rightly renowned for their beauty and majesty, but the Fjordland National Park on New Zealand’s South Island is even more breath-taking. Surrounded by glaciers, there are actually three fjords known as Milford Sound, Dusky Sound, and Doubtful Sound. Whilst many people enjoy kayaking on the waters, and all the equipment you need is readily available for hire, others prefer to hike the paths around the area, such as the popular Milford Track. New Zealand campervan hire can be a perfect way to explore this region, as you can take your bed and belongings with you and explore the national park at your leisure.
One of the great things about New Zealand is that its spectacular locations are spread right around the country, but if you’re visiting the North Island, you really must see the Bay of Islands. This has become a haven for water sports enthusiasts, especially those who love sailing or yachting. It’s an area of outstanding beauty that consists of more than 144 tiny islands, many of which have charming old-fashioned towns or golden beached coves. You’re also sure to see penguin colonies here, and you may even see a whale or two swimming by.
New Zealand’s great cities of Auckland and Wellington are well worth visiting, but it’s the unparalleled natural beauty of its countryside that makes so many tourists return here again and again. Whether you want to see famous film locations, hike around ancient fjords, or go whale watching amid the incredible Bay of Islands, New Zealand is a country that has something for everybody, whatever their age.