New Zealand Travel Guide


New Zealand Holidays – Tours & Adventure Travel Guide

PureTravel Says
“New Zealand has been awaiting the adventurer’s discovery for thousands of years. The Maori people of Polynesian descent first inhabited these two islands, the North and South Island respectively, found solace in the protection of the forest and mountains. The wealth of nature and cultures that make up New Zealand are astounding to the visitor. There is so much to do, from treks to mountain biking to rafting and wildlife viewing, that it could take months to see and do it all. With a little help, you can find the best and most secret places.”

New Zealand Holiday Highlights

Walking & Trekking - New Zealand trekking offers some of the best trekking and hiking (locally called tramping) in the world. For such a small island, New Zealand has everything to offer both the day-walker and adventure-seeking mountain trekker. It’s here that you can take a walk through the enchanted forests (as seen in Lord of The Rings) of the southern island. Or, you can try the famous Abel Tasman walk, a stunning 51km long walk and the Queen Charlotte walk to the lesser-known Stewart Island Track.

Visitors to New Zealand will be treated with Mother Nature’s open arms. People find such a welcome when following the Routeburn Track trek, which takes visitors to Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Park. If you’d like to see the best of the South Island, then it doesn’t get much better than this three-day 32km trek. Other popular sightseeing trips take you to rain forests, glaciers, snow-peaked mountains, rivers, volcanoes and the sea. New Zealanders love trekking. As such, you can always find a campsite under the stars or a great place to stay on any one of the wilderness treks.

Culture & History - The culture of New Zealand consists of all sorts of historic and ethnic blends. The first peoples to inhabit New Zealand were the Polynesians. Today, the Maori culture tends to be the strongest sub-culture under the Pakeha Culture, a derivative of British settlers to the area in the nineteenth century, though the differences between the New Zealand British ancestors, the Pakeha, and the British of today are quite different in their own right. There are many other cultures of the Pacific, South and East Asia that make up New Zealand.

New Zealand has a long history of arts, one of the most popular being performing arts, seen alive in the larger towns of Wellington and Christchurch. From the famous Maori based Kapa Haka war dance to the film and music that is representative of modern New Zealand, there is a strong sense of community in a country with less than 4 million people.

Rafting - Rafting in New Zealand offers singles and family alike, novice and experts too, the chance to have a head-on challenge against the water. Several of New Zealand’s best rivers are only minutes away from the tourist destinations. You and your family can see a part of New Zealand usually reserved for the locals who know the secret spots of the country. You can raft on either the North or South island, though the south has rivers of higher-class ratings.

Wildlife - If you’d like the chance to view an actual Kiwi flightless bird that calls out "Kiiwii" during the mating season, or a Whio or Fin Whale, you can find them all in New Zealand. The diversity found here is just as much a wildlife melting pot as any place, bringing together some of the Pacific’s coolest animals. There is wildlife in the water, in the forests, in the rain forests and even in the cities.

Mountain Biking - If you’re one of the enthusiasts of the ever-growing sport of mountain biking, you’ll have no shortage of friends in New Zealand. It seems the Gods created New Zealand for those with a heart to play. That said, you’d find some of the world’s highest and fastest descents to some of the hardest ascents. You can take a guided tour through some of the best roads and trails. From the Banks Peninsula ride to the Canterbury and Southern Alps to the long Christchurch to Queenstown, you’ll be able to truly take in the magnificence of New Zealand from the saddle.

When To Go

New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere and so December and January in New Zealand is hot and dry. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance during this period and the New Zealanders are also taking their holidays at this time.

The North and South Islands have weather patterns of their own with the north being subtropical with daily showers and quite a wet season during the spring.
The south can get cold during the winter and hot during the summer. The western half of the South Island, too, can get drenched with over 100 inches of rain while the east only suffers a third of this.

You can really travel to New Zealand at any time of the year, however. No matter the weather, the sense of adventure will see you through and remember to bring waterproof clothing, some Gortex lined boots and you can trek in any weather.

Top Tips

  • You should never trek alone, instead seek a specialist tour operator whose local knowledge will be invaluable.
  • Though some of the mountains are not necessarily high when compared to other mainland mountains, be considerate of your health and breathing. AMS (altitude sickness) can hit before you realize it. If it does, descend as quickly as possible.
  • Be sure to use a tour operator who will know the best treks and the safest routes per the season.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to explore and truly experience what New Zealand has to offer. Its nature is as natural as can be found anywhere on Earth. Enjoy it with plenty of time.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to travel from one place to another. The roads are often narrow and getting from A to B takes longer than back home. One hundred kilometers, for example, on the coastal roads can take over two hours.

New Zealand Holidays In Focus

Walking and Trekking

New Zealand is a tramper’s dream come true. There are more trails and lodges catering to a variety of visitors, from day-hikers to multi-day trekkers, New Zealand offers something for everyone who enjoys the experience of being in the great outdoors.

If you’re only passing through, for instance, and can visit the North Island, then there are walks aplenty. First, give the Walkaremoana Track a try, or delve in farther south to the Tongariro Northern Circuit, sure to test you for endurance. On the South Island, the Milford Track goes for 33 miles. From four to five days, you’ll scoot around waterfalls, lush valleys and some diverse forests. The Milford Track starts at Lake Te Anau and goes all the way to Sandfly Point. With this four to five day walk, you’re sure to see some of the country’s best scenery, though you’ll need a proper guide to show you the right way.

New Zealand has so much to offer that you can even take a hike or trek and include some days of rafting, kayaking and glacier walking and more. As you travel through the country, you’ll have all sorts of accommodation to choose from. Try the King’s Gate Hotel Te Anau or the Luxmore Hotel down by Fiordland. From these, you can go for a sail, go golfing, horse riding, fishing, and take day trips to all the outlying islands. In the north of the North Island, you can take ferry rides, walking tours, play golf and sightsee in downtown Auckland.

Other great treks in and around New Zealand are the Lake Waikaremoana hike in the Te Urewera National Park, one of the most pristine and still untouched backcountries of the North Island. It’s on this hike in particular that you'll see Maori people living in the bush. The birdlife is particularly amazing, as you’ll have chance encounters with Kiwis, Kakas, Kererus and the Tui. Swimming in lakes and hiking through rain forests will sum up each and every day.

The Ketapo Hike, additionally, takes you above Lake Tekapo. If you’re into clicking your camera at panoramic views, it doesn’t get much better than this. You’ll have clear and magnificent shots at the Southern Alps and the Mackenzie Basin. With a mélange of glaciers, glacial lakes and flowing grasses, this multi-day hike takes you through some of the best views of the South Island. And, if you’ve got some experience, you can look into tackling Mount Cook, Mount Tasman or Mount Dampier at 3,755 or 3,498 or 3,440 meters respectively.

Essentially, the three best Great Walks in the northern island put out by the Department of Conservation (DOC) is the Whanganui River Journey, by canoe, float and raft. The Tongariro Northern Circuit goes across some net thermal vents around a sometimes-active volcano. The Waikaremoana Track goes around the lake. Additionally, there are six great longer walks on the South Island too. The Abel Tasman Coast Track is the most visited and done by tourists while the Heaphy Track goes through some deft limestone features and ends on the beach. The Kepler Track, on the other hand, goes through alpine scenery with lakes and rivers dotting the whole walk. The Routeburn Track, Milford Track, and Rakiura Track are some of the most popular local routes in all of New Zealand.

Rafting

The north and south of New Zealand has rivers galore. If you’d like to start off with some of the most challenging, the Class V Wairoa-Kaituna has plenty of drops to satisfy your adventurous streak. If, however, you’d like to stick to a classier level III or IV, then try the Tongariro River or the Mangahao River, a dam that only lets out water twice a year. Most tours end this expedition with a quick but exhilarating helicopter ride. Depending on how much time and how much adventure you want, a rafting adventure can easily be the highlight of any New Zealand tour.

Wildlife

There is more than sheep to New Zealand. Though New Zealand is one of the largest exports of various types of wool, you’ll find that there’s still plenty of room left for the other creatures that inhabit these two great islands.

The Black Swan, for example, makes its home in May of the shallow waters of New Zealand. This great black bird, a native species of primarily Australia, has a distinguished red or orange-ish beak and feeds on the grasses next to the banks. If you’d like to see water creatures, but of the larger variety, then you really can’t get anything larger than the Blue Whale, the largest mammal on earth. Though there are only roughly 12,000 of these great beasts left, it is possible to see them break the surface here. These great whales are noticeable for their great bellow, which can travel over 150 miles under the water.

Some of the best places to view New Zealand’s fauna are in one of its national parks. With four on the North Island, like Egmont and Tongariro and around ten on the South Island, like Arthur’s Pass and Fiordland, you’ll have plenty of nature to see. In most of the national parks, you’ll find plenty of birdlife, such as the Yellow-Eyed Penguin and animals, such as the mousy Stout scurrying about. Because there have been humans here for less than ten centuries, most of the parks, too, have an unexplored feeling of quietness not in many other countries.

Classic Itineraries - The Great Walks

  • Walkaremoana Track
  • Waikaremoana Track
  • Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • Heaphy Track
  • Routeburn Track
  • Milford Track
  • Rakiura Track
  • Kepler Track

Further Information

Geography - New Zealand is part of the region of Australasia. New Zealand also has other dependent territories including Chatham Islands since 1842 and consists of ten islands (capital Waitangi), Cook Islands (capital Avarua), Niue (capital Alofi) and Tokelau. The Kermadec Islands in the South Pacific Ocean have been part of New Zealand since 1887. The five southernmost groups of the New Zealand Outlying Islands also form the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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PureTravel New Zealand

At PureTravel, we offer hundreds of holidays from around the world.

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PureTravel New Zealand

At PureTravel, we offer hundreds of holidays from around the world.

New Zealand Articles

Spotting Wildlife in New Zealand


There is more than sheep to New Zealand! Though New Zealand is one of the largest exporters of various types of wool, you’ll find that there’s still plenty of room left for the other creatures that inhabit these two great islands.

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