New Zealand, known in Maori as ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ is a country of breathtaking beauty. Stretching 1600 kilometres across two islands, it is a land of active volcanoes, rugged coastlines, glacial valleys and alpine lakes, ripe for exploring by those who want to get outdoors during their luxury holiday. North Island’s thriving cities are the perfect place to enjoy the islands’ food, nightlife and history, as well as to explore its rich Maori culture and heritage. South Island is the place to witness the sheer power of the natural world, from towering mountain peaks to peaceful fjords. A holiday in New Zealand will charm, delight and captivate everyone – from thrill seekers and lovers of culture, to those who like to take things at a more relaxed pace.
Over 250 locations across New Zealand were used as the stunning locations for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies, and New Zealand’s dramatic scenery is every bit as breathtaking in real life as it is in film. Start with a visit to Hobbiton (Matamata), where you can walk around the Shire and visit the film set. Queenstown is another great place from which to explore the fiords, lakes, mountains and cliffs used as locations in the film, including Isengard, and the Misty Mountains. For an unforgettable experience, take a helicopter tour to see ‘Middle Earth’ from above. This is the best way to capture the spectacular panoramic views and to feel the awesome power of nature.
North Island is the more populated of New Zealand’s two islands, and makes a great base for those who want to explore the eclectic mix of culture, history and people. Auckland is a bustling city, which makes a fabulous base for your New Zealand holiday. It’s a friendly, manageable town from which you can explore the rest of North Island, but it’s also well worth spending a few days wandering around and getting to know the Auckland vibe. South Island is the place to be if you want to get out and explore. It’s got a slightly cooler climate and a truly dramatic landscape encompassing snow-tipped peaks and vast glaciers, huge fjords and cascading waterfalls. For gothic charm choose Christchurch, with its pretty buildings and green parks, or for a more tranquil retreat, pick a lakeside resort where you can get out in the open and gaze at the stars.
Summer: December – February
Summer in New Zealand is moderate to hot, with temperatures hovering around 20-30 degrees celsius. In most places you can wear shorts and a t-shirt or singlet during the day, adding a light jumper at night.
Autumn/Fall: March – May
Temperatures during this time are a little cooler than summer but the New Zealand weather can be excellent. Suitable clothing includes light pants or shorts, and a t-shirt or long-sleeved top. It can cool off at night more during this season, so make sure you are prepared with a warm sweater.
Winter: June – August
Winter in New Zealand brings colder weather to much of the country, with snow in the south and rain in the north. You’ll need jeans, long-sleeved tops and coats in most places, and if you’re heading into the mountains thermals, gloves and thick sweaters are also a good idea.
Spring: September – November
Spring brings weather of all types – expect everything from cold, frosty, clear days to sunny and hot. Make sure you are prepared for this type of weather if you are visiting during this time. Jeans are good and layers work well on top, as they can be added and removed depending on what the weather brings.