Essentially Paradise of the Pacific, New Zealand is packed with snow-capped peaks, glittering coves, coastal glaciers, luscious rainforests, steep fjords, sparkling rivers, sun-drenched beaches and so forth. Basking in the global limelight owing to the stupendous success of the Lord of the Rings franchise, this island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean is split into two landmasses - the North and South Islands.
Kick-start the trip by heading out to the 'City of Sails'. Boasting two incredible harbors, Auckland is the country's biggest city and the most populous Polynesian metropolis in the planet. Some of the attractions to be seen are: Auckland Domain - picturesque park, Auckland Botanic Gardens, enjoy glittering panoramic views from the 328 meters (1,076 ft) Sky Tower and the Auckland Zoo - comprising of New Zealand's national bird, the Kiwi and Tuatara - famous national lizard-cum dinosaur. Do take some time out to explore the dynamic capital - Wellington. A few of the striking places to visit are: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, the Botanic Gardens and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top of Mt. Victoria.
Perched on the South Island, spend some time at the Fiordland National Park, a designated World Heritage Site. It displays some of the most incredible sceneries in the nation. It offers some of the best walks to hikers, including the famous Milford Track. A great way to explore the fjords in sea kayaking as well as an enjoyable flight over the park for an extraordinary birds's eye view. The gorgeous Bay of Islands, North Island, is one of the most popular holiday retreats in the country. Over 144 islands are housed in the sparkling bay and is a paradise for sailing and yachting. Those interested in wild-life can try to catch glimpses of penguins, dolphins, whales, and marlin. Do make it a point to tour Cape Brett and the well-known rock formation referred to as Hole in the Rock.
If you're a thrill junkie then you should probably visit Queenstown, New Zealand's main centre for outdoor sports. Perched on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, beneath the massive craggy mountains, it is the perfect location for many adrenaline-fueled activities such as bungee jumping, caving, rafting, jetboating, skydiving, skiing and so forth. Housed on the North Island, Rotorua is one of the most active geothermal areas in the planet. Highlights include boiling mud pools, hissing geysers, volcanic craters, and steaming thermal springs. Visitors can immerse themselves in the therapeutic mineral springs and educate themselves about the region's rich Maori history and culture.
Those who are into wild-life and enjoy marine animals ought to visit the quaint coastal village of Kaikoura. Nestled between the Seaward Kaikoura Range and the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura not only provides coastal hikes but also whale watching tours. One can hope to catch glimpses of sperm whales, humpbacks, fur seals, dolphins and a varied amount of birds including the graceful albatross. Known to be the most accessible glacier in the planet, Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are the popular tourist attractions in incredible Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Take a guided hike and explore the frozen landscape of ice caves and pinnacles at the foot of the glaciers. Those who wish for a bird's eye-view can fly over these extensive pieces of ice via seaplanes and helicopters.
When it comes to shopping, be on the look-out for quintessential local items such as traditional arts and crafts in Maori, distinctive jewellery made from New Zealand greenstone (a kind of jade), woollen goods, lambswool rugs, merino knitwear, possum fur products, leather and skin products. As for cuisine, do dig into Kumara (native sweet potato) and golden-fleshed Zespri Gold kiwi fruit from the Bay of Plenty.
The stay options in New Zealand is abundant with the best luxury hotels, rental apartments and cheap accommodations available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
New Zealand experiences mild and temperate maritime climate. The best time to visit would be during spring, autumn and summer as the temperatures are ideal for sightseeing.