New Zealand – contrasting places to visit

When the majority of people hear about new Zealand they tend to think of a more extreme version of Wales with rolling hills, mountains, countryside and rivers. Most of this is actually true but the reality and contrast that the land has to offer is a little more extreme than many people are aware of.

Take the northern island for example; a town called Rotorua looks like it has come straight from a Star Wars movie scene with bubbling lakes of sulphur, mud pools and geysers lying in and around the town centre. It is a spectacular geothermal wonderland which sits on a volcanic plateau and is a must see for any visitors passing through.

The very north of the same island which appears very British in terms of the green countryside actually has a group of islands near the tip known as the “Bay of Islands” which resemble a tropical beach paradise featuring clear blue waters and light sand. It is sometimes hard to believe there are snow-capped mountains and glaciers in the country’s South Island at the same time. These mountains have become famous in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and provide the opportunity to offer visitors breathtaking glacier climbing experiences with fantastic high views over the landscape on glaciers such as the Franz Josef Glacier. So you can get sunburnt at the beach in one part of the small country while somebody else is skiing and climbing ice in another part.

Milford Sound in the South Island offers a serene and tranquil boat trips along the crystal clear lakes which are surrounded by great hills and mountains and most people believe it is one of the most peaceful, pure, untouched places the country has to offer while just 40 miles away lies Queenstown which is famed for being the party capital of the South Island and the extreme sports capital of the world boasting multiple bungy jumps, skydiving, canyon swings, white water rafting and much more.

It is clear to see why so many tourists book holidays to this country which also offers great local, cultural Maori experiences. You can enjoy frequent escorted tours to New Zealand, and it is easier than ever to visit this beautiful country of contrast.

Karen Gee is Managing Director of Journeys of Distinction.

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