A slice of true paradise, the Bay of Islands on the northeastern coast of New Zealand's North Island is a subtropical escape from the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities. Encompassing 144 islands, which are scattered through the vibrant blue waters, it is a haven for those who love to explore by sea.
Often referred to as an aquatic playground, you will be able to enjoy nautical activities such as sailing, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking and boating. The water is teeming with a wide array of wildlife, such as fish, dolphins and more fascinating creatures. Whether you want to gently meander around the intricate rock formations or want an exhilarating boat ride, the possibilities are endless.
If you prefer to stay on dry land, it will come as no surprise that this area has an array of incredible walks that sweep around the coastline, where you will be able to enjoy seemingly endless views across the water. Of course, you can take a gentle stroll in plenty of places, such as Mimiwhangata Conservation Park. Here, you will find spectacular sandy beaches and mysterious coves that are just waiting to be explored.
The Eagles Nest
serves as a perfect base for exploring this part of New Zealand, and as the name suggests, it is perched high up on the coastline, which provides its guests with outstanding views across the Bay of Islands.
No trip to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to one of the most magical places in the world. Whether you are an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchise or have never seen the films, you will still be able to appreciate how much time and effort went into creating this set.
It won't take you long to realise that this attraction is one of a kind, and you will be immersed in the imagination of J. R. R. Tolkien. During the two-hour tour, you will learn about special filming tricks that helped portray the hobbits and dwarfs next to towering wizards and elves. There are plenty of incredible places to take photos, and you will be astounded by the sheer amount of detail that goes into every little thing. Once you have completed the tour, you will end up in the iconic Green Dragon Inn. This building has been fully reconstructed, so it appears exactly as it does in the films. You should enjoy your beverage in front of the roaring fire or the beer garden, as you can enjoy views across the village.
When visiting a country, it is important to explore the historical culture, and New Zealand isn't short of this. The country has a rich and fascinating history, which reflects a unique mix of Maori and European cultures.
Incorporating some time into your trip to delve into the culture and history should not be missed during your trip, and there is no better place to do this than a Maori Village. Near Rotorua on the North Island, you will find Te Pa Tu, and here, you will be able to enjoy cultural ceremonies and demonstrations and learn about the history and culture that New Zealand holds so dear.
Solitaire Lodge will ensure you are in the perfect place to explore everything on the North Island, such as Rotorua, fascinating geothermal landmarks and have the chance to learn more about the region's Maori history. This lodge has offers outstanding views over Lake Tarawera and the magnificent volcano and will really show you why New Zealand is famed for its beautiful landscapes.
A location that is mixed with significant meaning and some magnificent wildlife, Kaikoura could be one of the most special towns in New Zealand. Nestled along the coast of the South Island, there is so much to discover here, especially when it comes to the incredible marine wildlife.
It is no secret that whales are an elusive animal and can be a rare sighting, but in Kaikoura, you have a 95% chance of seeing sperm whales, dolphins, orcas, humpback whales and more. If you want the best chance to spot them, a boat tour is highly recommended. However, if you want to see them from the safety of the sky, then a helicopter tour will give you one of the best views. This way, you will be able to see how big these animals really are, whilst enjoying the panoramic views panoramic views of mountains and the spectacular coastline.
Hidden away in the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island
, you will find one of the most spectacular places in the country, Fiordland National Park. Here, you will find Doubtful and Milford Sound, both incredible examples of untouched nature, and both are just waiting to be explored.
Being the only one accessed by the road, Milford Sound is one of the most popular places for adventurers seeking out the real beauty of nature. Even though it rains approximately 182 days a year in this area, and it is one of the wettest places in the world, it isn't hard to see why it is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. Home to hundreds of cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests and mountains that disappear into the clouds, you really don't get much better than this. You can explore the landscape by foot, water or the sky with several special tours on offer.
Doubtful Sound is another panorama of pure awe, a striking landscape of ancient, glacially carved valleys. With no road here, the experience of getting to Doubtful Sound can be an adventure in itself, making it even more special. It is only accessible to visitors by a tour excursion departing from Manapouri.
READ MORE: Best Hikes in New Zealand
Outlining the western side of the South Island, you will discover New Zealand's Southern Alps. This is such a remarkable part of the country, with mountains disappearing into the clouds and snow-capped peaks. The diverse landscape you will find here is unbelievable and welcomes all its visitors with its sparkling rivers and icy glaciers; it is an outdoor enthusiasts' paradise.
Fox Glacier is known for being one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, but unfortunately, it is also one of the fastest retreating glaciers. Due to this, you are no longer allowed to climb the ice but can still marvel at its sheer beauty. There is a great range of walks where you will be able to set eyes on the glacier itself, as well as meandering through lush rainforests and around crystal-clear lakes. This really is a place you can spend a whole day exploring and come across so many different types of landscape.
is full of wonder and awe, and there really is so much to explore when visiting this incredible part of the world; you would need a lifetime to explore every mile. It really does serve as a holiday destination where you will have some unforgettable experiences that you will remember for years to come.
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