New Zealand travel is easier than you think. Yes, this spectacularly beautiful two-island nation is tucked away in a far corner of the South Pacific, but its compact size (about the same as California), excellent infrastructure and friendly people make it one of the most convenient destinations you'll ever experience. With tours from Islands in the Sun, you can explore the the country on a self-drive vacation that visits the cosmopolitan city of Auckland and award-winning wineries and geothermal wonders of the North Island as well as the glaciers, fjords and adventure capital, Queenstown, on the South Island. Or you can travel as part of a multi-destination South Pacific vacation that includes stopovers on tropical islands by combining the upscale adventure of New Zealand with the romantic bliss of Fiji, Tahiti or the Cook Islands or on an Australia and New Zealand adventure that explores the best of these English-speaking neighbors.
The most obvious appeal of New Zealand is the country's incredible natural beauty. And amid this splendor, there's adventure galore: hiking, biking, kayaking, glacier trekking, skiing, jet boating and bungy jumping (invented here). New Zealand resorts, many of them intimate luxury lodges that indulge the senses with farm-to-fork cuisine and nature-based relaxation, are world-renowned. The country's golf courses are as challenging as they are scenic and its award-winning Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are waiting to be sipped. Add in fascinating Maori culture and you'll wonder how you ever overlooked New Zealand until now.
New Zealand's North Island is its gateway, home to Auckland (the City of Sails and New Zealand's largest city) as well as the major wine region of Hawkes Bay and the geothermal wonders and Maori culture of Rotorua. Other highlights include the Bay of Islands, the Art Deco city of Napier, Lake Taupo and the capital, Wellington.
New Zealand's South Island is adventure central, a playground of majestic mountains, glacier-carved fjords and vibrant blue lakes. Indulge in every outdoor pursuit imaginable, climb a glacier or spy on royal albatross. More civilized pursuits include wine tasting in Marlborough and river punting in Christchurch.
You might expect the place where bungy jumping was invented to attract an adventurous crowd - and it does - but Queenstown's rugged beauty (it faces a range of mountains called The Remarkables) means you can enjoy it even if the craziest thing you do is go fly fishing on Lake Wanaka.
You'll savor excellent food and wine all over New Zealand, but its main wine regions - Hawkes Bay and Martinborough on the North Island and Marlborough and Central Otago on the South Island - offer a chance to discover in person why the local Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are so beloved.
New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is 900 miles east of Australia across the Tasman Sea
New Zealand is accessible from many international cities and there are airports throughout the country that you can fly into. Auckland Airport serves the largest number of international arrivals. Many airlines offer direct flights from North American cities, including Los Angeles.