New Zealand

Travel Guide
Tongaporutu showing mountains, a bay or harbor and rocky coastline

Explore the glacially carved country of Aotearoa, “the land of the long white cloud,” to discover volcanic mountains, ancient forests and scenes immortalized by Hollywood directors.

With snow-capped peaks, primeval forests, and active volcanoes, New Zealand’s stunning natural diversity has played a staring role in movies like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s not just movie directors who are drawn here; outdoors enthusiasts also come in droves to trek mountains, ski glaciers, abseil into limestone caves and experience white-knuckle rides down river rapids. With Maori society dating back over 700 years, and English settlement almost 200, Aotearoa, as New Zealand is traditionally known, is a place of diverse cultural riches too.

At the top of the North Island, discover the “City of Sails”, Auckland, then lose yourself in the fabulous Bay of Islands. Just to the south, the geysers and bubbling mud pools of Rotorua await. Visit the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village to learn how the Maori coexist with the unpredictable nature of the landscape. Near the North Island’s center, hike through herb fields and forests near the active volcanoes of Tongariro National Park.

New Zealand’s political and cultural capital Wellington, sits at the southern tip of the North Island. Ride the Wellington Cable Car, tour the city’s museums and galleries, and order a short black in Cuba Street, the city's bohemian enclave.

From Wellington, it’s just a short ferry ride to the South Island. Explore the glaciers and lakes of the Mount Cook region or take a TranzAlpine rail journey though Arthurs Pass. If you’re into mountain biking or skiing, carve up the slopes around Queenstown, or saddle up for a multi-day adventure along the Otago Rail Trail. New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping, so leap off the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, or take a jet-boat ride through the swirling waters below. For a change of pace, paddle a sea kayak across the pure waters and silence of Milford Sound.

Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is a three-hour flight from Australia. Its major cities have direct connections to over 20 major cities worldwide.

Popular cities in New Zealand

Christchurch
Christchurch
Known for its green spaces, New Zealand’s “Garden City” also offers plenty of restaurants, bars, boutiques and outdoor adventure sports.

Reasons to visit

  • Sumner Beach
  • New Brighton Beach
  • New Regent Street
Mount Victoria Lookout which includes night scenes, a city and mountains
Wellington
Referred to as the “coolest little capital in the world”, the capital city of New Zealand is rich in arts and culture, as well as a thriving movie scene.

Reasons to visit

  • Te Papa
  • Wellington Waterfront
  • Wellington Zoo
Larnach Castle showing a castle and street scenes
Dunedin
With heritage architecture, buzzing nightlife and a pristine coastline, New Zealand’s “Edinburgh of the South” is a seaside city for all seasons.

Reasons to visit

  • The Octagon
  • Larnach Castle
  • Dunedin Town Hall
Rotorua which includes a hot spring
Rotorua
Visitors flock to this geothermal site to enjoy its hot springs, mud pools, watersports and fascinating Maori culture.

Reasons to visit

  • Polynesian Spa
  • Skyline Rotorua
  • Eat Street
Devonport featuring a city, skyline and a river or creek
Auckland
A city surrounded by natural wonders, Auckland is perfect for all kinds of adventures, from eating out on the water, to going on safari to peeking inside a volcano.
Nelson
Nelson
Browse the local arts and crafts markets, explore the countryside, dine on freshly caught seafood or find a spot overlooking the bay and sip a local wine.

Popular places to visit in New Zealand

New Zealand