Wellington – the capital of the country since 1865 – is located in the very south of the North Island, and is the oldest city in the country. Its main attractions are the most beautiful panorama of the city, which is best viewed from Mount Victoria. From here you have a view of Lambton Bay, where the port is located, giving Wellington a special charm. In general, the whole city is “sandwiched” between the sea and the mountains, which determined the need for a kind of planning, the city “on different tiers”.
According to Top-mba-universities, Auckland , New Zealand ‘s most populated city, concurrently is the only millionaire city with a population of 1.3 million people. Its amazingly picturesque location – in the narrowest part of the North Island, allows you to watch amazing panoramas from the observation decks of the city. Most of these sites are located on the tops of extinct volcanoes.
Here you should definitely visit the highest point of the city – Mount Eden, from where the best of the panoramas opens. Also of interest is the openwork bridge Auckland Harbor, from which you can jump down on the “bungee”, a widely popular sports equipment in New Zealand.
Christchurch is the central city of the South Island, and holds the title of “the most English” city in the country. It is worth visiting the art gallery, the local botanical garden, and the University of Canterbury, where Ernest Rutherford, the founder of modern atomic physics, began his scientific career.
Dunedin, the second most populated city in the southern half of the country, in fact, is a copy of Edinburgh, as it was intended by its Scots founders, even the names of many streets here coincide with those of Edinburgh. In the central square of the city there is a monument to two Burnses – the famous Scottish poet and his nephew, the founder of Dunedin.
The main wealth of New Zealand is its natural beauty, carefully protected by the joint efforts of both the government and ordinary citizens of the country.
Currently, about 8% of the country’s area is occupied by national parks, the oldest of which, Tongariro, is over a hundred years old. This park, on the territory of which there are three active volcanoes at once: Tongariro, Naurohe and Ruapehu, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Just for the sake of looking at their snow-white caps in combination with mud lakes located in the resort area of Rotorua and geysers hitting several meters high, it is already worth a visit New Zealand. On their slopes there are ski resorts, which are very popular among both the local population and tourists. It is recommended to visit the Rotorua region both for sightseeing and for therapeutic purposes – hundreds of hot mineral springs, among which there are sulfuric, sodium, iodine, calcium ones, are of great balneological significance. The local Puarenga River is famous for the fact that hot and cold streams do not mix in it, which allows you to watch how local fish swim seemingly in real boiling water. A few tens of kilometers to the south is the valley of geysers Wairakei. The roaring Karapiti steam cave is worth a visit here, the unique acoustic effect of which is created by bursting jets of steam through the thinnest cracks in the rocks. Here you can also visit one of the oldest geothermal power plants in the world.
In the very center of the Volcanic Plateau, which includes all the above-mentioned attractions of a volcanic nature, is the country’s largest lake Taupo, whose depth reaches 100 meters. Mount Egmont
is quite picturesque, located in the national park of the same name, striking in its mathematical symmetry. On the South Island, one of the two main natural attractions is the Tasman Glacier, which is a beautiful ice river, the width of which in some places reaches 3 km. The glacier is 27 km long and 600 meters deep and is the largest glacier in New Zealand. Its “tributary” – the Hochstetter glacier, plunging down from a kilometer-long cliff, was called “Ice Niagara”.
Aoraki National Park or Mount Cook
Mount Aoraki is the highest peak in New Zealand (3754 meters) and attracts climbers from all continents. The mountain got its name (translated from the Maori “Aoraki” means – “piercer of the clouds”) for a reason, its peaks soar above the clouds, piercing them. This territory was declared a national park in 1953. The park covers an area of 70,111 hectares.to the Tasman Glacier.
In addition, in the South it is worth looking at the beauty of the Fiordland National Park, famous for its jagged coastlines, mountain lakes and rivers, waterfalls and snow caps of high mountains. The only place in the park where the road is laid is the picturesque fjord Milford Sound (Milford Sound), which is considered one of the wettest places on Earth: on average, it rains here 190 days a year and the total amount of precipitation falling during these days can reach 8 meters. The ornithological world of the park is also unique in its own way – only here lives the only species of predatory parrots “kea” in the world.
Transport in New Zealand
Many tourists who have visited New Zealand recommend, if you are not constrained by means, to use the services of local domestic airlines.
The advantages of air travel are as follows: from the bus window you are unlikely to enjoy such a view from the windows – mountain landscapes, active volcano craters, and much more. A variety of discounts for flights also contributes to the right choice in favor of air and will save you money. Some smaller airlines such as James Cook Airlines, Eagle Air and Nelson Airlines are part of the Air New Zealand network, which provides full service throughout the country.
By and large, there is only one minus – such a trip will cost significantly more than by rail or bus transport.
The country’s railway network is not very extensive, and there are only a few main routes throughout New Zealand, but trains are fast and comfortable. This type of travel can be cost effective – the fare is likely to be less than a bus on a similar route.
Bus service will come to the rescue of those tourists who do not have the opportunity to use air traffic and car rental. This is the cheapest of the most practical ways to see the country (if you use the buses of the “right” companies), not counting the bike tours. The network of bus routes encircling New Zealand is quite extensive and allows you to bypass the country’s main tourist sites.
However, there are subtleties here. They are associated with different fares on buses of different companies. Therefore, one should distinguish between the main bus operators of the country, otherwise there is a chance to get a bus tour, the price of which will be unreasonably high. The largest of them – Ritchies Transport Holdings serves the North and South Islands (the entire territory of the country). Two other slightly smaller bus operators are Newmans (North Island) and James Cook Land Lines (South Island). You can also use small minibuses offered by commuter service companies – their prices are much more affordable than the buses of large companies.
If you decide to rent a car (according to local rules you can do this if you have an international driver’s license and you are over 21 years old), then you should keep in mind the following local features:
Driving in New Zealand is on the left hand side. The road surface is of very good quality, there are a lot of traffic signs along the highway, which will not allow you to get lost, and the distances are short. You can rent a car, a motorcycle or a trailer.
If you plan to visit both islands, then the cost of renting a car increases dramatically (due to paying for the ferry crossing).
Many travelers prefer to circumnavigate New Zealand on a bike. This is a real paradise for cyclists: clean, green, sparsely populated and virgin nature around. Why not use a bike? In addition, you can travel on your own schedule or set up a campground in any place you like. Bicycle rentals are usually low and may vary depending on the rental time.