New Zealand (or Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud) is one of the most picturesque places on earth. A small island nation of just over 4.5 million people, New Zealand is geographically made up of two major Islands (North Island & South Island) and several smaller islands located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The two islands are divided by 22 kilometres stretch of water called the Cook Strait. New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

New Zealand South Island Cities AND Popular Destinations

South Island is the larger of the two major Islands of New Zealand and is renowned for its stunning landscapes, high altitude mountains, glaciers & turquoise blue lakes. The Southern Alps is a home to Aoraki/ Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand at a height of 3724 metres.

Christchurch is the largest city of South Island and is often referred to as the ‘Garden City’. It is well known for its Botanical Gardens, Cathedral & Transitional Cardboard Cathedral, city art, sun-soaked beaches such as Sumner, 360 degrees view from the Christchurch Gondola, Kiwi wildlife & Maori experience at Willowbank.

Akaroa, just 75kms from Christchurch is a French Colony bursting with several cafes & boutique shops around. This is the only place where one can spot the hectors dolphin, smallest & rarest in the world.

Hanmer Springs famous for Thermal Hot Pools & Spas is the place to relax & unwind. Whereas, Kaikoura is famous for whale watching, encounter with fur seals and dolphins.

To the north are sunny Nelson and Marlborough, famous for their wines & food. Nelson is the gateway to the wonders of Abel Tasman National Park, whereas Marlborough is world famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, green-lipped mussels & kayaking in Queen Charlotte Sounds.

On the West Coast, Arthur’s Pass National Park is an adventurous destination with varied hikes to choose from. West Coast also possesses the iconic Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers. Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast & is a turn around point for the Tranz Alpine Train.

Spend a day at the remarkable milky-turquoise coloured Lake Tekapo with the beautiful Church of Good Shepherd on the shores, about three hours drive south-west of Christchurch in the Mackenzie Basin; or mesmerize the star gazing experience at Mount John observatory.

Queenstown is the ultimate destination all year round & is the bubbliest town of New Zealand South Island. It sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and set against the dramatic Southern Alps.

Fiordland is the largest National Park in New Zealand and is home to the magical Milford Sound and Mitre Peak.

Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, at the head of Otago Harbour. It’s known for its Scottish and Maori heritage, Victorian & Edwardian architecture, and a large student population.


New Zealand North Island Cities & Popular Destinations

The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington is a small city built around the harbour, with a vibrant café and bar culture. ‘Windy Wellington’ is a nickname given to the city due to the strong winds that blow through the Cook Strait.

Auckland is New Zealand’s most populated largest city and main gateway for international flights. Auckland has many attractions including cruises, black sand beaches, sky tower experience & great shopping!

On one hand is the Coromandel Peninsula, with its pristine beaches, native forests and is one of the popular holiday destinations. On the other hand is Hawkes Bay, famous for art deco architecture in Napier. Bay of Plenty, one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand is located on the Pacific Coast Highway between Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula and Hawkes Bay.

Rotorua is a town renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Bay of Island on the north-eastern tip of New Zealand’s North Island is famous for cruising to see the ‘Hole in the Rock’ and the dolphins. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, formed by the biggest volcanic eruption to occur in the last 5000 years.

New Zealand History, People AND Culture

New Zealand has a rich & fascinating history, reflecting a unique blend of Maori and European culture. Maori people were the first to arrive in New Zealand about 1000 years ago. A Dutchman, Abel Tasman, was the first European to sight the country but it was a British who made New Zealand part of their empire. While retaining some ties to the British Crown, New Zealand has become a proud nation on its own.

New Zealand is a Multi-Cultural Society. New Zealanders (informally know as Kiwis) are welcoming, friendly & enjoy meeting people from other cultures around the World. The indigenous Maori, New Zealand’s first settlers, make up around 14.9% of the population and have a large cultural influence on the nation. Approximately 69% are of European origin, 9.2% Asian and 6.9% non-Maori Pacific Islanders.

Weather, Climate & Seasons

The climate of New Zealand varies between the North and South Islands and is quite complex. The general climate is mild & pleasant however areas in the far north experience warm subtropical temperatures while the far south is much cooler.

Visitors are advised to come well prepared for all types of weather, as the temperature may change quite rapidly during the day.

Spring (September – November): During the crisp days of spring, New Zealand bursts with new life & color all around. Flowering blooms and rainfall makes this an inspiring time of the year to visit.