From top to bottom, New Zealand is a wonderful place to take a vacation; have a look at some of the highlights you might take in on a self-drive tour!
BAY OF ISLANDS
The natural beauty of the Bay of Islands has to be seen to be believed. It's an aquatic playground lavishly furnished with 144 islands and a myriad of secluded beaches.
With a population of over one million, greater Auckland is New Zealand's largest urban area and center of commerce and industry, but within 45 minutes of the city you can experience uncrowded beaches, rural countryside and forests.
ROTORUA / BAY OF PLENTY
Encompassing the three cities of Rotorua, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui the area name of Bay of Plenty says it all. From the bubbling thermal mud pools and the famous Pohutu Geyser of Rotorua to some of the best beaches in New Zealand at Mount Maunganui, this area is one of the most popular in New Zealand.
A small town situated at the the northern end of Lake Taupo, at 240 square miles, the largest lake in New Zealand and the source for many hydro-electric power stations along the Waikato River. The snow capped Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe provide a spectacular backdrop for the beautiful lake, world renowned for its trout fishing.
Situated on the east coast of the North Island, the sparkling Pacific Ocean forms a stunning backdrop to internationally renowned vineyards that produce award-winning wines. You can absorb the splendor of art deco and spanish mission buildings that make the region one of the most unique architectural centers in the world.
New Zealand's capital, it is a vibrant cafe and restaurant filled city of excitement. Built on hills surrounding the magnificent natural deep water harbor, its cosmopolitan nature is reflected in the number of ethnic restaurants & cafes.
Not only is Wellington the political capital but it is also the capital of nationhood with parliament buildings, Te Papa - the National Museum, birthplace of authoress Katherine Mansfield, as well as home to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Opera.
NELSON / BLENHEIM
This area of New Zealand has the highest hours of sunshine each year, and its long hot summers with frosty clear winters make it ideal for grape growing. It is now New Zealand's, and one of the world's, major grape growing regions. Leading French wine producers are investing in the area's vineyards.
Designed in Britain in the mid 1800's as a model Anglican settlement, it is laid out in a grid pattern centered on the Cathedral. Often said to be "the most English city outside England", Christchurch is the South Island's largest city. It is renowned for its elegant greystone 19th century buildings but also has examples of almost every kind of 20th century architecture.
One of Natures scenic gems. Nestled on the edge of the deep glacial lake Wakatipu and at the base of majestic mountains aptly known as the "Remarkables", Queenstown is a recreational playground whether you are after adventure or relaxation. Known as the adventure capital of the world some of the activities available are golf, fishing, bungy jumping, jet boat riding, white water rafting, flightseeing, hiking and the Milford Sound flight and cruise.
Dunedin, the old Gaelic name for Edinburgh, was largely settled by the Scots. It is a gracious city of grand 19th century buildings and beautiful gardens. Dunedin's grand homes and gardens reflect its early prosperity and solid Victorian respectability, a number of these are open to the public.
The Otago Peninsula has an abundance of wildlife seldom seen so close to a city. Fur seals, the rare yellow eyed penguin, colonies of cormorants and the mighty albatross inhabit the peninsula. The albatross nests here and can be seen close up on guided tours.