Lonely Planet recently urged travellers considering cheap holidays in New Zealand to experience the country’s incredible diversity by combining city visits with their tours of its many natural wonders.
The writer behind the Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand, Charles Rawlings-Way, said that the capital Auckland is a good place to start, thanks to its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its many restaurants and shopping opportunities, its lively nightlife and beautiful harbour area.
Visitors looking for something a little more bohemian might like to check out the “grungy” alternative arts and music scene in Wellington, and culture vultures should head to Christchurch, which has managed to maintain its “poise” after the ravages of an earthquake earlier in the year.
Moving to the country, he suggested that visitors “take a ‘tramp’ into the wilderness, with remote beaches, snow-capped mountains, thundering river gorges – they’re all here.”
Here’s five spots that are highly recommended for anyone on New Zealand holidays:
Fiordland National Park: Part of the South Westland World Heritage area, this is New Zealand’s largest national park and where much of Lord of the Rings was filmed, due to its stunning scenery – deep fiords, mighty mountains, torrential waterfalls and rainforests.
Abel Tasman National Park: The place to head for a NZ beach holiday, this region boasts some of the sunniest weather in the country along with the most beautiful beaches, with sand ranging from golden to pure white.
Queenstown: Lying in the Otago region, the lakeside town ringed by mountains is the perfect place for activities such as bungee jumping, jet boating, parapenting and white water rafting. During our summer months, it’s winter in NZ, whereupon this destination becomes an incredible ski resort.
Rotorua: Close to Auckland, Rotorua is a famous centre of geothermal activity, with several nature reserves crammed with amazing geysers, hot springs, boiling mud, hot pools, craters and volcanic terraces, along with great lakes for swimming and bush for trekking.
Bay of Islands: This subtropical region contains some 150 islands boasting secluded beaches and coves. It’s perfect for divers, snorkellers, fishermen, marine enthusiasts who come to see the wildlife – including whales and penguins – and golfers.