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Christian Baines Getaway Guide Editor 2 years, 9 months ago

Start Dreaming About New Zealand

  • Best New Zealand Vacations

Dreaming of New Zealand? Start preparing now for when borders re-open in 2022. Enjoy the cultural immersion and history of the North Island before jumping-perhaps literally-headfirst into the adventures and dramatic landscapes of the South Island.

Eager to turn those lockdown travel dreams into reality?

With vaccinations in full swing, it’s only a matter of time before New Zealand begins welcoming international visitors to its shores again. New Zealanders have a proud tradition of welcoming visitors to their beautiful country, so they’ve sorely missed sharing it with international travellers. What have the kiwis been doing while they wait? They’ve been taking the opportunity to explore their own country, from the rich cultural attractions of Rotorua to the soaring peaks of Queenstown and the Southern Alps.

There’s just been one thing missing. You!

If you’re dreaming about that first trip to New Zealand, Goway’s Essence of New Zealand offers an ideal introduction to the best of both major islands. If you’ve already had a taste of New Zealand and have been longing for a return trip, this itinerary includes the most popular sights of the Auckland, Rotorua, and Queenstown regions, conveniently organised into day tours and scenic transfers.

Why Auckland is the Best of Both Worlds

Ever dream about living with a perfectly balanced indoor and outdoor lifestyle? Aucklanders have the formula down pat. Built on 52 dormant volcano cones with a glistening harbour on either side, Auckland has been voted the world’s most liveable city on numerous such lists. With lively rainforests and panoramic views within 30 minutes of downtown, that’s not surprising. But before you decide to pack up and move to Auckland for yourself, learn a little about the Maori who’ve called the region home since the 1300s. Traditional carvings and artworks in the region speak to that history, and one can imagine how it felt to arrive here and first feel the black volcanic sands beneath one’s feet. With impressive landscapes in every direction, New Zealand’s largest city still feels immersed in nature.


Hobbits, Hot Springs, and Hangi

New Zealand’s film industry has been prolific in recent years for a country of its size. That’s been heavily driven by the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series of films. The Hobbiton movie set is preserved for visitors as the world’s largest ‘green set,’ which invites you to stop in and visit the Shire, complete with a drink at the Green Dragon tavern.

A far more ancient attraction is Te Puia at Rotorua. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into Maori culture, this is the place to do it. Amid the bubbling mud pools and steaming geysers of New Zealand’s natural geothermal lab, Te Puia offers a showcase of Maori arts, culture, and tradition. Visitors to the Tamaki Maori Village receive a traditional greeting and demonstrations of artforms rooted in centuries of Maori history. It’s all capped off with a delicious Hangi feast, baked with heated rocks in a pit oven.

After such sensory overload, you might be dreaming of some recovery and ‘you’ time. Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa is the ideal spot, where the signature mud wrap gently lifts your cares away.

 Champagne Pool, Rotorua

Awesome Adventures in Queenstown

You’d expect the town that invented bungee jumping to offer some pretty amazing adventure sports options, and Queenstown doesn’t disappoint. If your New Zealand dreams are filled with peaks soaring above you while you zip through a canyon or clearing in the forest, Queenstown is sure to be your highlight. On the tranquil shores of Lake Wakatipu, you couldn’t ask for a much more idyllic location to try zip lining, kayaking, bungee jumping, jet-boating, or whatever else gets your blood pumping.

But Queenstown is also close to Fiordland National Park, home to one of New Zealand’s largest and most revered treasures, Milford Sound. Many great sights get dubbed ‘The 8th Wonder of the World,’ but since this one earned the title from that great dreamer and traveller Rudyard Kipling, we’re inclined to trust his take. Going out to the Tasman Sea under the watch of soaring Mitre Peak, a Milford Sound cruise is included as a day trip on this itinerary. Keep a lookout for dolphins, seals, and other wildlife enjoying the serenity of the incredible Fiordlands.

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park

Much of New Zealand’s allure is in getting from one place to another. When we imagine that incredible Kiwi landscape, much of it lies between the most popular tourist destinations, making the journey itself one of New Zealand’s big attractions. Of course, New Zealanders have known this all their lives, but travellers on the Essence of New Zealand itinerary will see it first hand on an escorted tour from Queenstown to Christchurch through the Otago region, via Mount Cook. There are even options for an airborne tour, to gain the ultimate perspective on the Southern Alps.

28 Jun 2021, 3 p.m.

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