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A Beginner’s Introduction to New Zealand Travel


A short introduction to New Zealand travel and the most vibrant cities and places of interest, including Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, and the Coromandel Peninsula.

Wild Lupins in Tekapo New Zealand
Wild lupins brighten up the landscape during spring as magnificent purple flowers bloom around Lake Tekapo on New Zealand’s South Island. Taken by Earth and Sky / Maki Yanagimachi via New Zealand Tourism.

New Zealand is the perfect place to get away. The spectacular scenery and terrain makes New Zealand very unique. New Zealand is made up of the North and South Islands. New Zealand has subtropical weather during summer; most of the country is close to the coast so most places tend to have mild temperatures.

As you travel further south, the temperature decreases. Summer in New Zealand is beautiful and warm with temperatures reaching an average of 20-30°C (70-90°F). The warmest months are in January and February, and the coldest month is July. New Zealand winter have temperatures ranging between 10-15°C in parts of the South Island; it can get as cold as -10°C as it has large inland areas and high alpine plains and mountains.

By the way, check out our handy New Zealand travel guide!

There are many modes of transportation to get around New Zealand, including planes, ferries, buses, trains, and rental cars or campers. This makes it easy for visitors to travel around, no matter their budget. Auckland and Christchurch have the two main international airports: Auckland in the north and Christchurch in the south. They service a wide range of international flights; however there are many other international airports in New Zealand that often cater to smaller international flights that tend to come from Australia.

Now you know some basic information about New Zealand, let’s get into some spectacular places you should visit!

Auckland, New Zealand, Sky Tower
Auckland and Sky Tower. Taken by Flickr user Ronnie Macdonald.

Auckland is the city that connects us to the rest of the world and also known as the City of Sails, reflecting its popular sailing culture and base of the America’s Cup yacht for Team NZ. Auckland is a vibrant and diverse city that has a combination of nightlife, museums and galleries, beaches, walks, and some top-notch restaurants.

Some of the must-dine restaurants include Baduzzi, Bracu, Cibo and Ortlanda. Go wild and get to the Sky Tower revolving restaurant to get a 360-view of Auckland. Wynyard Quarter, Viaduct Harbour, Britomart, The CBD and K Road are all vibrant, unique, and perfect to find something to do on a night out whether it is dinner and drinks or nightclubs and cabaret shows.

Like our transport options, Auckland has everything from backpackers to 5-star hotels, so there is something to cater to every need and budget. A great website to check out is www.aucklandnz.com which will help you with the latest and greatest In Auckland.

The Coromandel Peninsula. A wonderful summer Destination, reaching up to 24-31°C from December to February. The Coromandel Peninsula is a hilly coastal region of New Zealand with spectacular scenery, beaches, and activities. There are many small towns over the entire peninsula, but Hot Water Beach, Hahei, Whitianga and Coromandel are most popular with tourists and visitors. The stunning beaches make it a perfect place to hang out, dive, and snorkel. Hot Water Beach provides a great surf beach and natural hot springs on the beach at low tide.

Whitianga is the main town in this area with backpacker, apartment, motel, and holiday park accommodation. The area is known for its seafood being the “Scallop Capital” of New Zealand. There is plenty to do and fishing charters and sightseeing boats are a must. Also check out the beautiful Lost Spring Resort for a bit of R&R – the hot pools offer outstanding services including massages, poolside drinks, and food.

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, the home of the parliament, and host to many historical buildings perfect for exploring. Wellington is known for its strong coffee culture and is also very vibrant. Take a walk down Cuba Street, one of the most iconic streets in New Zealand. Wellington is home to the national museum, Te Papa, that has regular exhibitions and shows.

Wellington also has the World of Wearable arts events, Wellington On a Plate, and Rugby Sevens. There are always a large variety of events on in the capital city. Everything in Wellington tends to be within walking distance, making it a perfect place to make your pennies go a bit further. Explore the Wellington area by taking a ferry across the harbour or the train out to Martinborough, one of the wine growing meccas of New Zealand. Because Wellington is located at the bottom of the North Island it tends to be quite windy.

Cherry Blossom Queenstown New Zealand
The Lake Esplanade in Queenstown is particularly beautiful during springtime as the cherry blossoms bloom. Taken by M. Langford via New Zealand Tourism.

Queenstown is a tourist must, buzzing with many visitors and tourists. The plane ride is spectacular, flying between valleys on your descent in to land. Queenstown has a range of tourist-oriented activities and is a perfect place to go if you are adventurous and like to try new things. Queenstown is both a perfect place to visit in summer, when it is beautifully hot and in winter when the snow falls down onto The Remarkables (mountain range) and ski bunnies come from all over to take advantage of the snow. Some must-dos in Queenstown include The Luge, $2 Below Ice Bar, The remarkable Sweetshop, Cookie Time Store and skiing on the nearby Remarkables (Note: skiing only in winter months). There are also a host of great walks within the area, and, if you’re brave, jet boat rides and bungee jumping is what Queenstown does best.

Christchurch – The recovering city is regenerating in a rapid and exciting way. The South Island city hit by an earthquake is now a place of innovation and exciting new projects. The garden city is highly recommended to visit with a large range of great new areas, shops, and restaurants. Christchurch has beaches, gardens and is comfortably warm in the summer. Go and see the Cardboard Cathedral, take a guided bike tour, or take the train deeper into the south; Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island and Antarctica and has so much to offer.

For more information on things to do and places to visit in our beautiful country, start here at www.newzealand.com

By Rochelle Harris – Rochelle Harris is a third year design and marketing student and New Zealand native just about to make her first step into the big wide world. Rochelle loves staying active and has been to most parts of her small country. Rochelle resides in Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city. She has a lifestyle blog harrisandcoblog.wordpress.com and contributes to various other publications.

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