AucklandAptly nicknamed “The City of Sails” for its vibrant maritime culture, the delightful city of Auckland is home to one-third of New Zealand’s population and is the country’s main gateway. With a unique undertone of Maori influence, this waterfront city is a cultural and architectural gem, filled with bustling markets, world-class restaurants, and locals who are well known for their welcoming and laid-back lifestyle. Just outside of the city, one can experience natural treasures such as the unique Waitakere Rainforest and black sand beaches, and a 90-minute drive will take visitors to the hamlet of Coromandel, famous for its glorious semi-tropical landscape, boasting giant ferns and caves sparkling with glowworms.
Bay of IslandsJust four hours’ drive from Auckland, the stunning Bay of Islands is as rich in history as it is in scenery. Here, one can discover relics of the past – both Maori and European – set amongst a backdrop of rolling green hills and long silvery beaches. Of course, the lure of the sea is undeniable in this area, and whether by sailboat charter, ferry, sea kayak or bicycle, exploration of this scenic region is among the most rewarding experiences in all of New Zealand. The Bay of Islands is a delight to divers as well. In fact, Jacques Cousteau rated the diving here as some of the best in the world due to an abundance of marine live in crystal clear waters.
Coromandel PeninsulaNew Zealander's cherish the coastal hamlet of Coromandel for its rustic tranquility. Sheltered bays, peaceful bush walks and a burgeoning arts community are all within 2 hours drive from Auckland. Once a thriving gold mining town, Coromandel now houses 1,000 residents, 4 pubs and a family of bottlenose dolphins that love company. Explore the scenic delights of the area with the experts from Kiwi Dundee Adventures. Specializing in deluxe soft adventure tours and walks, rest assured you will be guided through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, from semi-tropical rainforest with giant ferns and crystal clear streams to old historic gold caves sparkling with glowworms.
Hawkes BayNew Zealand’s famous wine country, Hawke’s Bay is the warmest and driest region in the country making it the perfect place to produce world-class red wines. Fill your days with wine tasting and vineyard tours, sampling some of the region’s best cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah. With its Art Deco feel, the city is filled with local farmers’ markets teeming with local delicacies. Hiking is abundant with forest trails, or take to the beach for some relaxation.
NapierCompletely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1931, Napier is located near the Hawke’s Bay wine region and is home to the largest collection of 1930’s Art Deco architecture in the world. Visitors to Napier are transported to another age while visiting this eclectic yet cosmopolitan treasure. Here, in one of New Zealand’s most attractive cities, palm trees line the inner city streets and the wonderfully sculpted Marine Parade runs along a stunning shoreline featuring gardens and memorials.
RotoruaFilled with temperamental geysers and bubbling pools of boiling sulfuric mud, Rotorua is home to some of the most welcoming people in New Zealand. The area is the ancestral home of the Te Arawa people who settled here more than 600 years ago, and today, visitors are provided with ample opportunity to experience Maori history and hospitality at its finest. Join a traditional Hangi feast where meals are cooked in the steaming ground, witness Poi dancing and a traditional Haka performance. Take a tour of an authentic pre-European Maori village or treat yourself to an indulgent spa therapy.
WairarapaAn hour’s drive north of Wellington, Wairarapa is filled with bush-clad ranges and rugged coast. With a wide range of experiences to suit all travelers there are many activities to take advantage of. A swing bridge through the Waiohine Gorge is on the table for the adventurous or unwind and tour local Martinborough, another wine industry region with many vineyards to indulge in. If you’re looking to check out local culture take to Cape Palliser on the coast to explore the tiny fishing village of Ngawi.
WellingtonThose seeking a slightly more cosmopolitan flavor will appreciate the eclectic harborside city of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. Also recognized as the arts and culture capital of the country, this city’s sophisticated style features exciting galleries, boutique shops, divine cafes and acclaimed restaurants – all located directly on a scenic waterfront. The town is easy to explore and one will also discover the many interesting and contemporary pieces that fill the city.