If you seek to rediscover a love of travel, you should seek New Zealand. The Land of the Long White Cloud is a place to venture beyond the horizon, explore beyond the ordinary, and discover a connection that’ll last a lifetime. The towering mountains, the big skies, the sweeping coastlines, the friendly people, and the unforgettable flavours—they all reward those travellers that come seeking a meaningful travel experience.
Start your journey with Air New Zealand, which offers competitive rates on direct flights from across Canada and the United States, including from Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, and now New York City.
For most travellers, the entry point is Auckland, the City of Sails, so named for the attractive sailboats that fill the harbour. More than a gateway, Auckland is a city to experience, from the heights of the Sky Tower to the movie and rugby tours of Wētā Workshop Unleashed and the All Blacks Experience, respectively. A 40-minute ferry ride from the city will reward you with unbeatable harbour views before you arrive on Waiheke Island, where you can wander the age-old beaches and forests and sample fantastic food and wine.
If you seek a place to unwind, you’ll find it a few hours north in the Bay of Islands, where 140 islands dot a sweeping coastline warmed by a subtropical microclimate. It’s a place to stroll sandy beaches, learn about the nation’s settlement at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, and relax for a few days in picturesque accommodations dotting the enviable landscape.
On the southern edge of the North Island lies the capital Wellington. You’d do well to slow down and discover the city’s funky atmosphere, hopping bar scene, and café culture that’s long been a favourite for Australians and New Zealanders. Unlock the secrets of the nation at world-class museums and exhibits, including the national museum Te Papa and ecosanctuary Zealandia. There are few better places to encounter manaakitanga, the Maori practice of “showing respect,” which is essential to New Zealander hospitality.
Cross the Cook Strait to reach the northern edge of the South Island, where you can experience a microcosm of all that New Zealand has to offer. If you’re seeking to slow down and witness nature at its most peaceful and awe-inspiring, this is the place. To the northwest lies Abel Tasman National Park, where hiking trails weave through forests and alongside granite cliffs. To the northeast lie the Marlborough Sounds, glass-like waterways cutting through majestic green hills. The beauty of the sounds is said to rival that of Milford Sound. Visit both to see if it’s true.
Marlborough also boasts one of the world’s best wine regions. Its Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand wine on the map. It also doesn’t hurt to sip this vintage while surrounded by stunning scenery, where the possibilities for leisure and adventure collide in startling ways.
Venture down the East Coast to reach Kaikoura, a marine wonderland where nearby sperm whales delight visitors year-round. Further south lies Christchurch, a city revitalized in the aftermath of tragic earthquakes. The so-called Garden City is most famous for the Botanic gardens, but don’t sleep on its food scene either. Whether Christchurch is your final stop or merely a step on your journey to more famous wonders in Milford Sound and Queenstown, you will have experienced something profound along the way.
New Zealand is a land for seekers. It holds something for all those travellers who strive to unlock the majesty of this world. It encourages you to seek beyond the ordinary. What you’ll find when you do so is a beauty unlike anything you’ve seen before and a kind of travel you’ll never forget.
This article was originally published in Vol. 30 of Globetrotting Magazine.
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