Made up of two rather remote islands (and many smaller ones), this far flung country is one of the world’s greatest tourist hotspots thanks to incredible scenery, adrenalin boosting adventures, naturally warm and friendly people, pleasant climate, award-winning wines and cultural diversity .... all wrapped up in a package the size of Great Britain.
New Zealand’s 29 regions stretch more than 990 miles across two main islands – North Island and South Island, along with the lesser known Stewart Island in the south. Each destination is distinctive in character and, with the country being so compact, you can easily pack several into your holiday.
North Island has a spine of mountain ranges flanked on either side by gently rolling farmland, whilst the central area is a volcanic plateau and thermal area with the mud pools, hot springs and geysers of Rotorua at its heart. On South Island, the Southern Alps form a towering land mass along the west of the island and to the east, the landscape is of undulating hills and the flat Canterbury Plains. The country boasts a blissfully uncrowded stretch of coastline with a diversity all of its own. North Island and the north of South Island have the lion’s share of the sandy beaches, whilst the rest of South Island is wilder and more rugged. The Southern Alps are home to Australasia’s highest peak, Mount Cook as well as Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Marlborough Sound and the Fiordlands are examples of mountain ranges which have ‘sunk’ into the sea creating spectacular sounds and fiords. Milford Sound, particularly, is typical of the fabulous scenery for which New Zealand is renowned.
New Zealand’s Maori culture is an integral part of Kiwi life and adds a dynamic experience for visitors. Rotorua, on the central plateau of North Island, has one of the greatest concentrations of Maori residents in the country and is one of the best places to experience this unique culture. You’ll almost certainly have the chance to try the “Hongi” – the traditional Maori greeting where two people rub noses. And even the non-rugby lovers amongst us couldn’t fail to recognise the familiar sounds and actions of the “Haka”, an ancient Maori dance, which has made the New Zealand All Blacks famous the world over.
Indulging in local food and wine is a must-do for many travellers. If gastronomy and the odd tipple are high on your agenda, New Zealand won’t disappoint with vineyards stretching throughout every region and chefs adding local twists to fine cuisine.
Whether you're planning your first visit or much-anticipated return, let Premier Holidays create the perfect New Zealand holiday for you.
GMT +12 hours
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Most international flights arrive into Auckland, located on the North Island. From here, connecting domestic flights fly into most cities. All flights from the UK involve a stopover, either in the USA, Middle East or Far East. Journey time to Auckland from the UK is about 24½ hours; Wellington 27 hours and Christchurch 26 hours.
North Island is the warmer of the two islands as it is closer to the equator and enjoys a subtropical climate with winter temperatures around 6ºC and summers a comfortable average of 23ºC. Winters on the South Island, especially in the mountains, can be as cold as -10ºC. However, coastal regions enjoy mild temperatures with January and February the warmest months and July the coldest.