Destination: New Zealand
Just east of Australia in the Tasman Sea, New Zealand offers travelers everything they could imagine in a vacation. Comprised of two large islands – the North Island and the South Island – as well as many smaller islands, New Zealand is a geographically and ecologically diverse country. Travelers can experience glaciers, fjords, mountains, plains, subtropical rainforests, sandy beaches and even volcanoes. In fact, the central part of the North Island is home to a volcanic plateau, an active volcanic and thermal area. In the north central part of the North Island, travelers can visit Rotorua, a city that’s considered New Zealand’s hub for geothermal attractions because of its many mud pools, geysers and hot springs.
New Zealand has many other natural areas that attract travelers from all over the world. Fourteen national parks cover almost 20% of the country, and two World Heritage Areas and 34 marine reserves are also located there. The marine reserves are best enjoyed on a boat cruise or a diving or snorkeling trip. Travelers may even have the opportunity to encounter a Hector’s dolphin, the world’s rarest dolphin that is only found in the waters of New Zealand.
City lovers will also find plenty to love when visiting New Zealand. Auckland, the most populous city, is a true urban center, yet is only thirty minutes away from beaches, hiking trails and breathtaking islands. Travelers who choose to explore the city can visit restaurants with world-class chefs, vineyards with award-winning wines and many bars, cafes and markets. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has an exciting cultural scene with many art galleries, museums and theatres.