Explore New Zealand

New Zealand Travel Guide

New Zealand, 'Land of the Long White Cloud', is a small, sparsely populated country consisting of two major islands, North and South Island, and a scattering of smaller ones. Despite its small size it is crammed with magnificent natural beauty and has an incredible amount to offer; the only complaint travellers have is that they haven't allowed enough time in the country. Fresh air, breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities are the main attractions of New Zealand, with a tremendously friendly, honest and helpful population, colloquially nicknamed after their country's distinct symbol, the unusual but amiable flightless kiwi bird.

The two islands have surprisingly different characters. The North Island has dramatic volcanic landscapes and highly active thermal areas, long stretches of beautiful beaches and excellent sailing, ancient indigenous forests and a strong Maori cultural influence. The South Island has a slower pace of life dominated by a magnificent spine of mountains, the snow-covered Southern Alps, and the spectacular scenery of the southern waterways of the fjord lands, with glaciers, deep lakes and verdant forests.

The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 was New Zealand's founding document, an attempt to settle disputes between the European settlers and the Maoris, conceding the country to British rule while guaranteeing the Maori people possession of their land and cultural identity. Today, integration has been replaced by a policy of upholding two different cultures alongside each other. Their shared love of sport, most notably the revered national sport of rugby union, and their enthusiasm for adventure and the outdoors is the unifying factor among the whole population.

New Zealand offers a huge variety of action-packed and laid back activities, from bungee jumping to skiing, swimming with dolphins, scenic flights and boat cruises on the fjords, as well as several world famous walking trails with unrivalled scenery. Alternatively visitors can immerse themselves in culture at the museums and galleries of the country's main cities - Auckland and the capital Wellington in the North, and Christchurch in the south.

New Zealand is an easy and compact place in which to travel and its spectacularly dramatic landscape alone, famous for its setting for the 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy, makes the long trip to these southern islands more than worthwhile.

All foreign passengers to New Zealand must hold return/onward tickets, the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the country (usually NZD 1,000 per month, or NZD 400 if accommodation has been prepaid). Note that all visitors must obtain a permit to enter Tokelau from the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office in Apia, at least two weeks prior to travel. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Auckland Museum

Address: Domain Drive, The Domain, Parnell Auckland

Situated on The Domain, an extensive central city parkland on one of Auckland's extinct volcanic hills, the Auckland Museum overlooks the city and the attractive Waitemata Harbour. It is one of the most visited attractions in the city, housing a remarkable collection of Maori and Pacific Island artefacts and cultural displays. Originally built as a World War I Memorial in 1929, the building was dedicated to the memory of New Zealand victims in both World War I and II. The 'New Zealand at War' exhibition has since been joined by extensive displays about the people and the country, its cultures, art and natural history. There is a Children's Discovery Centre on the middle floor. For many, a highlight of a visit to the museum, is the Maori cultural performance of song and dance, performed three times daily, providing an entertaining insight into Maori mythology and history.

Hauraki Gulf Islands

Address: Auckland

The Hauraki Gulf is studded with numerous islands such as Rangitoto, Waiheke, and Great Barrier Island and those close to the mainland make a good day trip. Some are recreation retreats and others are conservation islands with restricted access for the protection of rare bird, animal, and plant life. Waiheke is the most popular of the gulf islands, with picturesque bays and white sandy beaches, rolling farmlands, and hills cloaked with vineyards and fine wineries. The town enjoys the slow and relaxed pace of island life, along with chic little restaurants and cafes, and is home to many art galleries and craft shops.

The nearest island to the city is the uninhabited Rangitoto, a large volcanic cone with an unusual landscape of black distorted lava shapes that governs the view over the harbour. It is possible to hike up to the crater rim and explore the lava caves on the slopes. Each island has a different character with different things to do, whether it is to explore natural geological features or to enjoy the isolation, relax on white beaches, or wander about the galleries and cafes. Some visitors prefer simply to sail around the islands on a yacht or ferry cruise and enjoy the scenery from on board.

Auckland Sky Tower

Address: Sky City Complex, Victoria and Federal Streets Auckland

At 1,076 feet (328m), Auckland's Sky Tower is the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere and has unforgettable views over the city, the harbour and the gulf islands. It is part of the Sky City Entertainment Complex, with a casino, theatre, hotel, and conference centre. Visitors to the tower can splash out on dinner in the revolving restaurant, or admire the view from one of the four circular observation decks, reached by a glass lift. There is an outdoor deck, glass floor panels, an audio visual guide, and a number of touch computer screens providing geographical information. The Sky Deck is the highest viewing level with spectacular 360-degree views.

Bay of Islands

Address: Auckland

The Bay of Islands is famous for its beautiful coastal scenery and is one of North Island's major attractions. The bay is interspersed with numerous little coves, inlets and sandy beaches, and the historical townships of Paihia, Waitangi and Russell are the central hubs of the area. From there, an unbelievable array of activities and tours can be arranged. Sailing and boat cruises around the islands are the main attraction, but the natural surroundings and warm waters of the bay make it an ideal place for kayaking, swimming, diving, and fishing. The bay is also of historical significance as the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between the European settlers and Maori chiefs in 1840.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Reserve

Address: The site is 17 miles (27km) south of Rotorua on SH5 (Rotorua Taupo Highway); 201 Waiotapu Loop Road. North Island

Wai-O-Tapu, meaning 'Sacred Waters', is a diverse and colourful geothermal sightseeing experience. The area has been active for more than 100,000 years and features thick pools of boiling mud that bubble and belch, geysers, sulphuric mineral terraces, and steaming pools that create a kaleidoscope of colour. Walkways around the area allow visitors to admire the display of some of the most incredible earth forces in the world. Some of the best features include the spectacular Champagne Pool, a large steaming and bubbling pool fringed by red and yellow ochre deposits; the evil looking Devil's Bath, with a high concentration of arsenic creating the vivid green colour of the water; and the erupting Lady Knox Geyser that shoots steam up to 64 feet (20m) into the air in a majestic daily display at around 10:15am.

Te Papa Museum

Address: Cable Street, Waterfront Wellington

Te Papa is Wellington's leading attraction and one of the world's largest national museums. It is a tribute to all that is New Zealand; its people and history, natural environment, arts, and culture. Interactive technology and superb displays bring the story to life. Motion simulators allow visitors to witness the explosive creation of pre-historic New Zealand, or to experience a virtual reality bungee jump. There is also an interactive section on volcanoes and earthquakes where the effects of an earthquake can be felt from inside a house and a volcanic eruption viewed on screen. Other attractions include a range of magnificent exhibitions featuring some of the country's most important Maori treasures, a modern 'marae' or Maori meeting house, and an informative display on the Treaty of Waitangi, between the Maori chiefs and European settlers in 1840. The natural world is also explored, featuring all the natural inhabitants of the country.

Wellington Cable Car

Address: Cable Car Lane, 280 Lambton Quay Wellington

The cable car is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wellington. It takes people to the lookout at Kelburn, where there is a beautiful view over the city and across the harbour. Visitors can either take a return journey or walk back down through the beautifully landscaped Botanic Gardens. At the top terminus there is the small Cable Car Museum explaining its history.

Christchurch Tramway

Address: Christchurch

Trams were part of the city's transport system until 1954 and today these heritage trams have been beautifully restored, offering visitors a unique experience that takes one on a two-mile (3km) loop of many of the city's best features and main attractions. The drivers offer insight on the history, architecture, activities, and points of interest. Visitors can hop on and off at any of the stops to further explore the attractions at leisure. The most interesting sights include the Aquarium of Discovery, punting on the Avon River, the exquisite Botanic Gardens on the banks of the river, New Regent Street with its pretty Spanish mission-style architecture, the magnificent Gothic buildings of the Arts Centre, and Canterbury Museum, with an excellent Antarctic exhibition. The Christchurch Tramway was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and was closed for repairs for some time, but reopened for service in November 2013.

Christchurch Gondola

Address: Gondola Base Station, Heathcote Valley Christchurch

The spectacular ride takes visitors to the top of the crater rim of Christchurch's extinct volcano on the outskirts of the city, unfolding magnificent views over the Canterbury Plains and towards the Southern Alps, and the sweep of Pegasus Bay and Lyttelton Harbour, as it rises to 1,460 feet (445m) above sea level. At the summit the Gondola Complex features the Time Tunnel Heritage Show with a walk-through exhibition and video relaying the history and geological evolution of the Canterbury region as well as Maori mythology. From the summit it is possible to walk back down through the Port Hills to Sumner Beach. The Gondola was damaged in the 2011 earthquake but is now once again open for business.

Mount Cook National Park

Address: Christchurch

Mount Cook National Park is known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook. Its Maori name, 'Aoraki' means 'cloud piercer' and at 12,218 feet (3,724m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. A third of the park is covered in permanent ice and snow and the mighty Tasman Glacier is the longest glacier outside of the polar regions. Glacial melt gives the lakes their beautiful milky, turquoise colour and there are many walks in the area to take in the dramatic beauty. Mount Cook has always been the focus of climbing and mountaineering, most notably the expeditions of Sir Edmund Hillary, who went on to be the first man to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest.

Skyline Gondola

Address: Brecon Street Queenstown

The Queenstown Gondola takes visitors up to Bob's Peak above the town, and has incredible views over Queenstown, the lake, and the Remarkables Range. At the top of the gondola is the Luge offering three-wheel cart rides for all different ages and abilities, or there are numerous walks on the mountain with beautiful views of the area. At the bottom terminal is the Kiwi and Birdlife Park featuring nocturnal kiwi houses and other endangered species of New Zealand.

Arrowtown

Address: 20 minutes from Queenstown Queenstown

Arrowtown sits at the edge of the Otago Goldfields and was one of New Zealand's biggest gold towns in its day. It still has reminders of the gold rush days with little miners' cottages along the tree lined streets, historic wooden buildings, and 19th century-style shops, preserved as they were during the gold rush. There are the interesting remains of a Chinese settlement, with interpretive signs, nestled along the banks of Bush Creek where gold was panned. The Chinese diggers often worked through the remains of previous miner's claims in search of undetected fine gold and were subjected to much prejudice by the other diggers. The Visitors Centre contains the excellent Lake District Museum that has a small display on local history and gold mining.

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

Nowhere else in the world, outside the polar regions, can one see glaciers so close to the sea. They extend more than eight miles (13km) from the highest peaks of precipitous mountains to the valley floor and are surrounded by rainforest. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are the most famous. Those, and the two small townships near to each, are good bases from which to explore the area. They also offer an expensive range of accommodation and cafes, and have good Visitors Centre with displays on the formation of the glaciers, the ice movement, and the history of the region. The giant screen at Franz Josef shows the brilliant film on Glacier Country, 'Flowing West'. The glaciers are moving at an average rate of three feet (1m) a day, but the Frans Josef can move up to an incredible 16 feet (5m) in one day. A wide range of companies offer guided trips to explore the spectacular ice formations, taking visitors beyond the looming terminal face of the glacier and up onto the mighty rivers of ice, through the carved passageways and channels. There are scenic flights among New Zealand's highest peaks and over the glaciers with snow landings, a great way to appreciate the magnitude and splendour of the area and guided heli-hike excursions, a chance to combine a flight with ice walking.

Fjordland National Park

Address: Fjordland

Hemmed in by towering granite cliffs and dominated by Mitre Peak, the calm deep waters reflect ice-covered mountain tops, waterfalls plummet from the cliff tops to the water below, and Bottlenose dolphins play in the foaming wakes of the boats. Its grandeur was carved out during the ice ages and a close up or aerial view of the awesome scenery is a must. A variety of boat cruises or popular kayaking trips are offered and these provide opportunities to see the fur seals, crested penguins and dolphins that inhabit the sound, while scenic flights give a unique perspective on the area.

The 14-mile (22km) long fjord of Milford Sound is the most famous attraction in the Fjordland National Park. The road to Milford Sound is one of the finest alpine drives in the world with many points of interest along the way and view points to admire the sheer scale of the dramatic landscape. Travelling towards the Sound, the road approaches a seemingly impenetrable wall of rock, and the tiny entrance of Homer Tunnel, unlit and roughly hewn out of the cliff face, suddenly appears as the way through, emerging again at the top of the stunning Cleddau Canyon before dropping into the valley below. Milford is synonymous with rain, and although the mountaintops might not be visible through the clouds, the streams of water and waterfalls coursing down the sheer rocky cliffs is a magnificent sight not otherwise seen in dry weather. Tiny biting sandflies are the menace of the Fjordlands, although optimists say the rain tends to keep them away. Whether raining or fine it is impossible to ignore the powerful sense of beauty and grandeur that the landscape evokes.

Akaroa

Address: Christchurch

Situated on a peninsula just 45 miles (75km) south of Christchurch, Akaroa is a historic colonial settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. The Maori name Akaroa means 'long harbour' and the small French-influenced town sits on the shore of a long finger of water that extends into the interior of the land. It is Canterbury's oldest village and its French character, due to the first European settlers, is evident in the street names, quaint historical architecture, and French inspired cuisine. The pretty town and its lovely bays and harbour offer an enormous range of activities for tourists. With its beautiful colonial architecture, cafes. and restaurants, Akaroa is an easy place to spend a relaxing day, and for the more active the surrounding area offers fantastic walking trails, sea kayaking and sailing. Akaroa Harbour is also the only place in the world where visitors can swim with the world's smallest and rarest dolphin, the Hector's or New Zealand dolphin. The drive to Akaroa from Christchurch takes around one and a half hours, and takes in some spectacular scenery.

Lake Wanaka

Address: Queenstown

Lake Wanaka was voted as one of the world's top 10 most romantic destinations. It is a picture-perfect alpine lake located in the Otago region of the South Island. It is New Zealand's fourth-largest lake and certainly one of its most beautiful. The lake is popular for boating, fishing, and swimming and the temperate climate ensures that this is a year-round destination. The nearby Harris Mountains provide ample opportunity for skiing in winter as well.

Taranaki

Address: North Island

Located between Wellington and Auckland, Taranaki has for a long time been largely overlooked by tourists in New Zealand. It is only recently that visitors have discovered the charms of the westernmost province in New Zealand, with its lush gardens, rolling hills of dairy farms, scenic parks, and world-class surf spots. The biggest city in Taranaki is New Plymouth, a busy port on the Tasman Sea rated by the United Nations as one of the best small cities in the world.

Great Barrier Island

Situated 62 miles (100km) off the coast of northeast New Zealand, Great Barrier Island is a paradise of unspoiled wilderness and beautiful vistas found nowhere else in the world. While mining and logging were once thriving industries, the bulk of the island has been given over to nature reserves and the local ecosystem has thrived. Birdwatchers will be particularly thrilled to see rare creatures like Brown Teal Ducks, Black Petrel seabirds, and North Island Kaka Parrots. The real attraction of Great Barrier Island lies in the multitude of outdoor activities however, including scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, surfing, fishing, hiking, quad biking, mountain biking, and golf. The population of Great Barrier Island is only around 850, but there are still some good restaurants and lodges for visitors to enjoy.

Hamilton

Address: Auckland

Hamilton is a pretty town 80 miles (128km) south of Auckland. Its proximity to the bigger city means it is often overlooked by tourists in New Zealand, however as an excursion from Auckland, Hamilton has some worthwhile sights to offer. There are several hot springs around Hamilton, and the city is full of gardens, parks and river walks. Not far out of Hamilton is Matamata, home to the Hobbiton Movie Set, the 'Hobbit village' created for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Guided 'film and farm' tours are offered for fans of the movies.

Rotorua

Address: North Island

The holiday retreat of Rotorua has the most energetic thermal activity in New Zealand. It is a town permeated with the smell of sulphur and surrounded by towering volcanoes. Steam rises from between the pavement cracks and along pathways. There are a number of hot springs and thermal baths, the basis for its fast-growing fame as 'Nature's Spa of the South Pacific'.

Situated on the Volcanic Plateau of Central North Island, the continuous volcanic activity has formed the landscape around Rotorua and the main attractions are based around its natural resources, the 12 crater lakes and numerous geothermal features. The crystal lakes offer holiday activities such as trout fishing and water sports, and nearby geothermal fields feature bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers, and steaming rivers.

Rotorua is also the Maori cultural heartland and visitors on holiday can experience the spirit of their culture in one of the many performances featuring stories relayed through song and dance, and a 'hangi' feast, the traditional Maori method of cooking in an earthen pit.

Te Anau

Address: Fjordland

Set on the fringes of the Fjordland's celebrated wilderness is the attractive holiday resort town of Te Anau. The town rests on the shores of the beautiful lake of the same name with spectacular views of mountain peaks all around. It is the hub of the region and an excellent base from which to explore the Fjordland area. Te Anau has achieved the reputation of being the 'Sightseeing and Walking Capital of the World' having easy access to some of the most splendid Great Walks and scenery.

Te Anau is also in close proximity to the fjords of Doubtful Sound, the deepest and most stunning, and Milford Sound, the most famous and more easily accessible. Lake Te Anau is the second largest in New Zealand and holiday visitors are attracted by the wide variety of water sports available. The town also has a wonderful resource centre with information on tramping and other excursions, as well as offering aerial sightseeing or organising trips to the main attractions in the area. The beautiful Lake Manapouri, dotted with 35 pretty islands, is just nine miles (14km) away.

Milford Track

Address: Fjordland

The Milford Track is considered to be the finest walk in the world. It is a four-day hike ending at Milford Sound that has been attracting tourists and locals for over 100 years. Following glaciated valleys and crossing an alpine pass it traverses some fabulous scenery, past towering snow-clad peaks, along rivers and waterfalls, over grassy plateaux, and through dense rainforests. The number of hikers is limited and accommodation is provided in comfortable mountain huts along the way.

Mount Victoria

Address: Lookout Road, Wellington Wellington

Mount Victoria, locally abbreviated to Mt Vic, is a prominent hill to the east of the centre of Wellington and its associated suburb. To the south of it is a spur, Mount Albert, and the two are linked by a ridge. The suburb of Mount Victoria is a mixture of residential and commercial activity on the western flank of the ridge above the southern end of the Wellington CBD. Mt Vic boasts beautiful views of the city and the suburb is well populated by artisanal cafes and eateries that add to the local feel of the walk. A bonus point of interest for fanatasy fans is that Mount Victoria was the location where numerous scenes for the film version of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was shot. Note: wear a sturdy pair of walking shoes, as the climb is very steep in parts and may be unexpectedly challenging if visitors come unprepared.

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Address: Auckland

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary and one of New Zealand's most important and exciting conservation projects. It is located 18 miles (30km) north east of central Auckland and just 2.5 miles (4km) from the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A hundred and twenty years of farming had seen this 220-hectare island stripped of almost all its native bush but between 1984 and 1994, volunteers planted between 250,000 and 300,000 trees. The Island is now sixty percent forested with the remaining forty percent left as grassland for species preferring open habitat.

Visitors can access the island by a regular ferry service, which leaves from Auckland and Gulf Harbour. The Ferry runs from Wednesdays through to Sundays each week, though it may be cancelled at short notice due to weather or other circumstances. When on the island, visitors can enjoy a guided walk, explore the beaches or simply admire the natural beauty of the place. Note: the ferry leaves the Island at 3.30pm sharp, and it is important to be back at the wharf by 3.15pm so that boarding and departure can take place without delay.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is undoubtedly the most prominent sport in Queenstown, and it takes place from four of the world's most scenic bungee sites. Visitors can choose to throw themselves off a bridge or a gondola, or there are milder options that include cable swinging or the Bungee Rocket that shoots people into the air while strapped into a cage-like device on the end of a bungee cord. The first commercial bungee jump site in the world is on the historic Kawarau Suspension Bridge, situated 140 feet (43m) above the river, with viewing platforms for spectators. The urban option is Hackett's Ledge, situated at the top of the gondola, and it is open even at night. The second highest is the Pipeline Bungee, operating from a suspension bridge across Skippers Canyon on the site of the 1864 gold-sluicing pipeline. The engineering masterpiece is the highest bungee jump, and the world's first gondola jump, a pod suspended terrifyingly 440 feet (134m) above the riverbed, spanning a remote gorge. A glass-bottomed cable car takes the jumpers out to the gondola.

Hiking (Tramping)

The area around Queenstown offers some excellent hiking, known locally as tramping. Some of the country's excellent multi-day hiking trails start from nearby, including the spectacular Routebourne Track, one of the best in the country for its variety of countryside and scenery. The Rees-Dart Track is a rugged circular track, while the Greenstone Caples Track is a less challenging option. All the tramps have well maintained paths and comfortable mountain hut accommodation.

Jet Boating

It's no wonder that hurtling up and down the rivers around Queenstown in jet boats is a very popular activity. The Shotover River surges through Skippers Canyon, the narrowest and deepest section and trips include heart stopping 360-degree spins, last minute turns away from the canyon edges, and high speed boating on either the Shotover or the Kawarau Rivers. It is an exhilarating experience that continues to draw the crowds.

Golf

The scenery alone is worth walking 18 holes for, but New Zealand also has great golf along the way. The country is only now becoming a popular golf holiday destination, and its anonymity is to the great advantage of those who visit. Many of the country's courses don't require an advanced booking, and despite cheap greens fees, visitors strike golf gold at the top courses. In the north, Kauri Cliffs Golf Club fringes the picturesque New Zealand coastline. Its fairways stretch along the seashore and striking cliffs. Inland, Wairakey International Golf Course is a richly forested and difficult course. The density is contrasted to Cape Kidnappers. Here expansive views follow fairways created atop ridge lines with holes that start and finish at the water's edge.

While the North Island's courses are made picturesque by coastline, the South's are made equally impressive along the base of snow-crowned mountains. Top courses such as Terrace Downs, Clearwater, and Millbrook have views of the Southern Alps. While many quality municipal courses dot any area around cityscape the best courses are often quite removed. Staying in their resorts is worth it for the scenery alone and custom tours can link golfers to resorts all around the country. For shorter stays it is a good idea to tour only one island at a time.

Fishing

Many of the travellers who visit the faraway land of New Zealand are in search of one thing and one thing only: some of the best trout fishing in the world. Both the North and South Islands offer their fair share of world-class fishing spots. A first stop for many is the world renowned Lake Taupo and its tributaries on the North Island, which is rated one of the world's premier trout fishing destinations with some of the fattest and feistiest trout, best fished with dry, nymph, and streamer flies. The best time to fish Taupo is between October and April as there is something suited to all levels of ability and style. Other great fishing spots in the area include Lakes Kuratau, Otamangakau, and Rotoaira which all provide high quality fly fishing and are less crowded than Lake Taupo. Head east towards Rotorua and the aptly named Bay of Plenty, also renowned for saltwater fly, big game fishing, and yellowtail kingfish. At Rotorua, fishermen will be forgiven for thinking they have discovered trout heaven in the small clear streams awash with massive trophy trout. Anglers should note that the catch and release of all wild fish is encouraged. Further south, Rangitikei District is also a popular spot for brown and rainbow trout, while Hawkes Bay on the east coast is the perfect place to stalk these elusive fish. Head to the South Island to where some fantastic brown trout fishing abounds in the Mataura River, while the Mount Cook - Mackenzie region is also a popular region. Head west to trek along the shores of the Waitaki River in the south-east to the Tekapo catchment further north where some of the world's most experienced guides will share their wealth of knowledge, guaranteeing one of the most memorable and unique fishing trips in any travelling angler's life.

Skiing

New Zealand may not be the first destination that springs to mind when one thinks of holidays in the snow, carving down the slopes, and catching a snow tan but, much to many people's surprise, there is a great ski scene. The Southern Alps are a range of mountains 342 miles (550 km) long, and the ski season runs from mid-June to October. There's plenty of snow fun to be had for all levels of ability. Beginners and children should head straight for resorts like Roundhill in the Mackenzie area on the South Island, Tukino on Mount Ruapehu on the North Island, or North Canterbury's Mount Lyford for beginner and intermediate-friendly slopes.

Head to Queenstown to marvel at the Remarkables' three sunny bowls and enjoy the north-facing sunny slopes for a great day on the slopes, while Coronet Peak is where the locals head for a good time. Wanaka, a lakeside town that serves four world-class ski and snowboard resorts is also worth a visit, or for some of the longest and most exhilarating runs in New Zealand, take a trip to Treble Cone where non-stop fun and adventure abounds, while experienced skiers will love the heli-ski option to play on the remote slopes and glaciers that most never get to see.

Bodrum Restaurant and Bar

Address: 3058 Great North Road, New Lynn. Auckland

Food Type: Turkish

Bodrum is arguably one of the best Turkish restaurants in Auckland. It was created in late 2015 by Turkish restaurateur duo, Alex Isik and Nigar Ivgen. People visit for the fall-off-the-bone lamb, and stay for the Turkish Delight and coffee. Bookings recommended.

Punjab Palace

Address: 71 Great South Road, Papakura. Auckland

Food Type: Indian

Punjab Palace is one of Auckland's many Indian restaurants. What sets Punjab Palace apart is their extensive menu and the pride and personal involvement that the owners take in the day to day running of this great restaurant. With piping hot curries, perfectly cooked naan and meat dishes done to perfection, Punjab Palace serves food fit for royalty. Try the Mango Chicken for something different, or the Lamb Rogen Josh for some of India's finest spices and New Zealand's best lamb. Bring along a bottle of wine and enjoy a great Indian feast. Bookings essential.

Saison: The French Cafe

Address: 210 Symonds St., Eden Terrace Auckland

Food Type: French

For French cuisine at its best visit Saison. This French restaurant serves up an exciting array of stylish dishes. Using seasonal vegetables and only the best meat available Saison will tantalise your taste buds in all the right ways. Saison has a great wine selection including local and international wines. The tasting menu comes highly recommended. Reservations essential.

Industry Zen

Address: 104D Customs Street Auckland

Food Type: Japanese

Auckland has a large selection of Japanese restaurants and sushi bars, but Industry Zen is a cut above the rest. With authentic Japanese decor and traditional Japanese meals this restaurant will transport you to Japan for the evening. Industry Zen is definitely one of the best sushi restaurants in Auckland and is often fully booked. Their sushi is made to perfection and the sushi wraps are a hit. Industry Zen also serves a decadent selection of Japanese tapas including crumbed rock oysters, fried squid legs and traditional Japanese Gyoza. The green tea ice-cream is the perfect way to end your meal. Bookings essential.

One Tree Grill

Address: 9 Pah Road, Epsom Auckland

Food Type: Steakhouse

One Tree Grill Restaurant is an upmarket dining experience which serves up traditional Pacific Rim cuisine and boasts a very impressive array of wines from the region and abroad. The restaurant prides itself in it professional service and quality food, making every dining experience a unique and special evening out for its customers. The food is beautifully presented and tastes equally as delicious. Although rather a bit more expensive than other options in the area, the quality certainly lives up to the price point. Bookings are essential.

There are no health risks associated with travel to New Zealand. New Zealand's accident compensation scheme (ACC) covers emergency treatment for visitors, but health insurance is recommended to cover any additional charges and for those not entitled to free emergency treatment. Those intending to participate in adventure activities, such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, etc should ensure that their travel insurance covers these types of activities.

Quarantine procedures mean that strict bio-security regulations are in place at immigration points into New Zealand. It is illegal to import most foodstuffs, and care should be taken when importing wood products, golf clubs and shoes (which may have soil and dirt attached), and items made from animal skin. The immigration arrivals card has full details.

Gratuities are not expected in New Zealand and service charges are not applied to bills, but it is acceptable to tip at your discretion.

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