Delightfully located on a harbor with mountains surrounding it, Wellington is the scenic capital of the country and certainly lives up to its nickname as the ‘Windy City’. Lovely wooden buildings pour down the mountainsides to the waterfront, and there is a fantastic arts and culture scene for visitors to enjoy, with great museums, galleries and theaters on offer. Set at the bottom of the North Island, there’s a thriving café and craft brewery scene. The quality restaurants and pumping nightlife make Wellington a great place to visit or live.
Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, Dunedin’s Scottish heritage is immediately apparent; a Victorian railway greets you, alongside numerous statues and monuments to famous Scots. With the oldest university in New Zealand, Dunedin is a youthful place with an energetic feel, and there are lots of great bars and a pumping nightlife scene. Lovely Victorian buildings dot the city, which is quite picturesque given its prime location around the port. From here, you can easily explore the wilds of the nearby Otago Peninsula.
Lying on the shores of the lake after which it is named, Rotorua is renowned for its fabulous hot springs and geysers that are absolutely everywhere. Situated at the heart of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, the city is the North Island’s most popular tourist destination – steam and spray constantly cloud its streets and the scent of sulfur hangs heavy in the air. While its parks and nature reserves are home to vents, fissures and lakes, a sizeable Maori population invigorates the town with their art, culture and history. Although the restaurants and bars aren’t anything to write home about, this volcanic landscape, with its fantastic natural wonders and plethora of outdoor activities, makes Rotorua a mesmerising city to visit.
In addition to its stunning location on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the spectacular mountains surrounding Queenstown make for one of the most beautiful scenes in the whole country. While it is certainly blessed in terms of scenic settings, the city also has a fantastic arts scene for visitors to enjoy, as well as some delicious dining, delightful bars and excellent vineyards. Most people, however, visit Queensland because it is known as the ‘adventure capital of the world’ – there are over 220 hair-raising activities for you to try. Whether it’s skiing, bungee jumping or zip-lining, paragliding or mountaineering, Queenstown has it all. Its marvelous natural wonders are the perfect place to experience that rush of adrenaline.
A delightful city that is the largest in the South Island, Christchurch is currently being rebuilt after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastatingly struck, destroying so many of its buildings. New buildings and businesses are opening up all the time, and the buzz about the place makes it a vibrant city on the move. Known as the ‘Garden City’, it is a pleasant, leafy place – there are lots of parks, museums and galleries for you to visit. With a very English feel about it, Christchurch’s beaches on the Pacific Ocean and sizeable Pacific Islander population give a different flavor to it. From here you can go ballooning, river-rafting or trekking in the nearby countryside.
One of the best places to live in the world in terms of quality of life, Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and the first point of entry for most people. First impressions immediately ‘wow’ you, as its two lovely harbors glitter in the sun and numerous volcanic cones reach towards the heavens. On the outskirts of the city, lush farmlands stretch towards the horizon. Known as the ‘City of Sails’ its surrounding waters are full of yachts and sailboats, while skyscrapers impressively rise up just beyond the waterfront and lots of little islands lie not far from the city. A laidback place with a provincial feel to it, Auckland is actually the biggest Polynesian city in the world.
With trendy shops, fantastic beaches and a wealth of great restaurants and bars, the city has loads for you to do.