14 Day New Zealand Highlighter
Beginning in the North Island, wind your way South, taking in New Zealand’s premier attractions along the way. See the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, cruise Cook Strait and Milford Sound and
Auckland is regularly voted one of the best lifestyle cities in the world, with the cosmopolitan city centre complemented by great escapes within half an hour of downtown. Indulge in Auckland's shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine and experience some of the many attractions and adventure activities on offer. There is never a shortage of things to do in the City of Sails. Sights to see include Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Zoo, and Museum of Transport and Technology.
Christchurch was founded in 1850 by members of the Church of England, who wanted a little bit of heaven on earth. They succeeded, and today the city takes great pride in its spacious layout and distinctive English-style buildings in elegant grey stone. The River Avon winds through Christchurch, along parks and gardens that cover one-third of the city.
New Zealand's premier destination on the edge of beautiful Lake Rotorua offers visitors so much to see and do the trouble is deciding what to do. From a quiet stroll through the magnificent Redwood Forest to an adrenaline rafting plunge over one of the world's highest commercially rafted waterfalls or an entertaining view of life on the farm at one of our award winning farmshows - Rotorua has it all. Famous for awesome geological forces, Rotorua has hundreds of gentle plopping mud pools, powerful erupting geysers, and intriguing geothermal lakes. Maori Culture is another unique facet to Rotorua's popularity. For more action try hiking down Mt Ngongatah, fishing for trophy-sized trout on one of Rotorua's many lakes, tandem skydiving, horse trekking, or off-road driving. Or just sit back, watch the world go by and enjoy the fresh, clean, picturesque atmosphere from one of many sidewalk cafes and bars. To end the day, soak away ailments in one of many thermally heated natural mineral spas.
Queenstown hosts an outstanding collection of adrenaline inducing activities and spectacular scenery. From jumping from tall bridges or quiet fishing, this is New Zealand's number one adventure destination. Lake and river join towering mountain ranges to make Queenstown as popular in the winter as it is in the summer.
At the heart of the action are cafes, the entire spectrum of accommodation, boutique shopping, restaurants and the visitor services expected in a small town with a big reputation.
Franz Josef Glacier
The South Island's most renowned explorer and geologist, Julius von Haast, named Franz Josef Glacier after the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franz Josef Glacier is a remnant of a much older, larger glacier which flowed from the alpine snowfields right to the sea. The glacier is over 7.5 miles long extending into the rainforest just 3 miles from the Franz Josef township, making it easy to visit. Walk to viewpoints and the terminal face or, for a close-up view of the spectacular ice formations, take a guided glacier walk, helihike or scenic flight.
Te Anau is known as the "sightseeing and walking capital of the world". Fiordland National Park is one of the few areas in the world with World Heritage status. Attractions include scenic boat cruises, scenic flights, sea kayaking, diving, fishing, coach tours, golf, four wheel driving, hunting and more. Te Anau Glow Worm Cave is a rare example of a living cave still under formation. Te Anau is in the hub of the great southern rugged and splendid walking tracks. Lake Te Anau encourages water skiing, swimming, fishing and kayaking on the lake during the summer. During the winter, days are crisp and clear with frosty mornings and sunny days. Te Anau's Wildlife Park is 10 minutes walking distance from the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre on the Lakefront.
One of New Zealand’s loveliest harbors is gracious, dignified Dunedin. The city boasts fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings complete with spires, gables and gargoyles. Its Scottish heritage is present in street names and the appeal of its handsome stone buildings. One of Dunedin’s most famous visitors, Mark Twain, wrote "The…Scots…stopped here on their way to heaven, thinking they had arrived." Dunedin boasts the country’s only kilt maker and whisky distillery as well as a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns in the heart of the city. Dunedin’s surroundings are renowned for their magnificent scenery and wildlife. The nearby beautiful Otago Peninsula provides a breeding habitat for such rare birds as the royal albatross and yellow-eyed penguin. The biggest attraction is probably the albatross colony at Taiaroa Head – which can only be visited as part of pre-arranged guided tour. Nowhere else on the globe do these birds breed so close to humans. Other sights to visit include Octagon Park, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Edwardian Railway Station, and Otago Museum.
Located at southwestern North Island, New Zealand’s capital city derives its character and charm from the wooded hills that curve like a green amphitheater around Wellington’s harbor. Commercial and government buildings rim the waterfront; nostalgic Victorian buildings mingle pleasantly with more modern structures and above the business district, dwellings precariously cling to steep slopes.
Wellington was the first settlement organized by the London-based New Zealand Company. Other sights include Kelburn Cable Car, Museum of Wellington, City and Sea, and National Museum and Art Gallery (Te Papa).
The Mt Cook National Park encompasses almost 173,000 acres, of which 1/3 is snow covered all year round. The rugged mountains rise steeply into the sky giving the engrossed visitor a sore neck. Nineteen peaks stretch above approximately 9,800 feet with Mt Cook the highest at 12800 feet. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore the park because there is simply so much to do.
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