New Zealand is so far away. but is so familiar. A country divided geographically into two distinct halves by the Cook Strait, both the North Island and the South Island are a holiday destination in their own right. You could visit one or both.. there is no doubt in our minds that you’ll come home wanting to go back.
The North Island is where the beaches are but you don’t come to New Zealand for beaches.. this is all about exploring and discovering. Auckland is the largest city and your likely point of entry. Auckland doesn’t feel like a large city and it is warm and friendly and easy to get around. North from Auckland is the Bay of Islands which is exactly that only more beautiful than you can imagine. Likewise the Coromandel Peninsula to the South-East. Further south and you’ll come across Rotorua, famed for its bubbling volcanic rock pools, thermal springs, and geysers. Napier is famed for its art-deco architecture, and Hawkes Bay for its wine, and then you reach Wellington, the nations capital, and last city on the North Island before crossing to the South on the 3-hour ferry.
South Island begins at the north end, rolling hills and wonderful wine-growing regions, but things soon change. Beyond the whale watching town of Kaikoura, heading south, the scenery changes to the imposing mountain peaks of the Southern Alps. Where there are mountains you’ll find crystal clear lakes, giant glaciers, and deep fjords. Beautiful Queenstown sits at the heart of all this majesty and is a great base from which to explore Mount Cook, Fox Glacier, and Milford Sound. Finally, half way up the eastern coast is Christchurch, the second largest and most English of New Zealand’s cities.
Millington Travel has staff who have been there and explored New Zealand so you can be sure of expert advice based on first-hand knowledge. We think New Zealand is best explored by car or Motorhome, giving yu the freedom to wander as you please, but that’s just our opinion. If you prefer someone else to take the wheel, there is sure to be a coach tour to the suit, whatever your interests and budget. In addition, much of the country can be explored by rail, where journeys don’t come much more spectacular than the Tranz-Alpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.
Our Top Ten places to go on a New Zealand Holiday
- Rotorua. Experience the wonder of steaming mineral lakes, bubbling mud pools and bursting geysers as well as the rich Maori culture of this attractive town.
- Milford Sound. Flanked by towering peaks. A cruise on this deep fjord is a must. Even the road to the town has earned World Heritage status for its stunning beauty.
- Blenheim. In the heart of the Marlborough wine growing region, this is the place to pick up a fabulous bottle of sauvignon blanc to take home.
- Kaikoura Whale Watching Sperm whales occupy the coastal regions off Kaikoura year round so you’ll have a fantastic chance to view these majestic mammals.
- Hanmer Springs. A thermal nature reserve, where you can take a dip in one of the many naturally heated pools at any time of year.
- Dunedin. the ‘Scottish’ city of the South, with wonderful gardens, classical architecture, and a vibrant cafe and arts scene.
- Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers. All glaciers are amazing but few are as accessible and fewer still in the southern hemisphere advance so close to the ocean.
- Queenstown. Location location location! Is there a town anywhere in such a dramatic setting, on Lake Wakatipu and backed by the Remarkables mountain range.
- Coromandel Peninsula. Two dramatically different coastlines form this region jutting north into the Pacific. Pretty coastal townships and hidden bays feel remote despite their proximity to Auckland.
- Wellington. A beautiful harbor city and the nation’s capital. Modern buildings sit alongside painted wooden Victorian houses, backed by mountains. Warm, friendly and wonderful.
When to go?
New Zealand’s weather is like the UK’s but the seasons are reversed. The best time to visit is from December to March when days are longer and warmer, and nights are milder. New Zealand never gets extremely hot, but during our summer months from May to October, it can get cold, especially South Island where snow is common. Whenever you go, pack an umbrella ready for the inevitable shower.