For city slickers: Auckland
New Zealand’s largest city is full of inviting neighbourhoods filled with interesting shops and quality restaurants.
Situated on a narrow isthmus near the top of the North Island, Auckland is one of the world’s iconic destinations for sailing enthusiasts. Rare is the local who doesn’t enjoy spending time on the water, and visitors have a variety of pleasure cruises to choose from.
The sports-mad city stops whenever the national rugby team, the iconic All Blacks, takes the field at Eden Park, and the world’s biggest musical icons often make a stop at the city’s Vector Arena.
Neighbourhoods such as Ponsonby, Mount Eden, Parnell, and Devonport are chock full of inviting boutiques, trendy restaurants, and unique accommodation.
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Nestled on the southern tip of the North Island, New Zealand’s capital city impresses with its craft beer scene and raft of forward-thinking food producers.
A mix of students and hipsters pack Wellington’s ubiquitous coffee shops and bars, and a variety of restaurants and markets provide easy access to the country’s finest wines and cheeses.
Pop-up shops and craft markets put Wellington’s budding designers on display. The Weta Workshop showcases cutting edge moviemaking technology as seen in the “Lord of the Rings” films.
No visit to Wellington would be complete without a stop at the incredible Te Papa, a huge, free-entry museum which provides a thorough look at the country’s history.
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New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs can be found on wine lists the world over. Situated on the northeastern corner of the South Island, the Marlborough region attracts oenophiles of all stripes.
A variety of wineries, from world-renowned producers to small upstarts, offer a tasting room experience behind their cellar doors. Several of the wineries house a bistro where visitors can enjoy locally-sourced snacks too.
Nature lovers take a break from wine tasting to cruise the stunning Marlborough Sounds, an assortment of ancient sunken river valleys populated with highly-prized salmon, mussels, and more.
For an alternative to Marlborough’s sauvignon-focused scene, head north to Hawke’s Bay, where a number of award-winning wineries specialize in reds such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Beyond the wineries, visitors to this North Island region get to experience the city of Napier, home to one of the world’s most extensive displays of Art Deco architecture.
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The rugged west coast of the South Island will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Fans come from around the globe to see the sparsely populated locales that served as backdrops for Sir Peter Jackson’s award-winning films.
Charming small towns give way to jaw-dropping mountain roads and imposing glaciers. Dozens of hiking trails, plus stunning overlooks and points of interest, are all easily accessible from the main West Coast drive along State Highway 6.