(credit: kovgabor/shutterstock)

(credit: kovgabor/shutterstock)


New Zealand is one of those far off places that everyone dreams about visiting, but only a few make the effort to go. There are many reasons why you should make plans to go and explore New Zealand at least once in your lifetime. Everything from the breathtaking landscapes to the beautiful national parks and extreme sports outings, to the fact that the Lord of the Rings was filmed there, make this one of the must-visit destinations in the world.
(Credit: Olga Danylenko/shutterstock)

(Credit: Olga Danylenko/shutterstock)


Things To See And Do

There are many beautiful places to explore and see in New Zealand, including the Abel Tasman National Park, Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, the Tongariro Crossing, Lake Wanaka, Cathedral Cove Beaches and Queenstown. Your visit to Queenstown will be filled with plenty of opportunities to explore, go bungee jumping or river rafting and experience wine tasting at local vineyards. There is definitely something for everyone to enjoy in Queenstown.

Those of you who are fans of the Lord of the Rings movies will have fun exploring Hobbiton. This movie set is filled with lush pastures and more than 40 Hobbit holes to peek through. Anyone who is a fan of Middle Earth will want to make sure they find time to explore Hobbiton.

While you are exploring New Zealand, make sure to plan time to enjoy some of the must-experience activities available throughout this destination. Some fun and exciting activities include glacier trekking, extreme sports, kayaking off the Bay Islands, learning about the Maori Culture and seeing the glow worms at Waitomo Caves. For those wanting to learn more about the local Maori culture, you will want to explore Rotorua. There, you will visit an authentic pre-European village, learn about the different carvings and about the art of weaving from master artists.

Another must-see in New Zealand is the Sky Tower, which will give you panoramic views of Auckland up to 80 meters out in every direction. This is one of the best views you will have in all of New Zealand.

Related: 7 Most Beautiful Landmarks in New Zealand

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Where To Stay

Visiting New Zealand give you the opportunity to explore, play and relax in the beauty of this natural wonderland. After a long day of exploring, chances are you are going to want to kick back and relax in a comfortable room. There are many hotels and resorts throughout the country that will not only offer you comfortable accommodations but also keep you close to all of the fun and exciting things you want to do. Some of the more popular places to stay when visiting New Zealand include the Glass House, Delamore Lodge, Azur Lodge, Eagles Nest Luxury Villa Retreat, Watson’s Way Lodge, The Old Oak Boutique Hotel and Otahuna Lodge. Yha Wellington City is a popular hostel offering two kitchens, dining areas and separate rooms for gaming, reading and watching television.

(credit: Tiffany H./yelp)

(credit: Tiffany H./yelp)


Where To Eat

You will find everything from seafood to burgers and ethnic dishes to lamb and vegetables at the many restaurants in New Zealand. The Bathhouse Restaurant offers dishes such as sea-run salmon and wild Blenheim hare served in a historic setting near Lake Wakatipu. Other popular restaurants in New Zealand include Coco’s Cantina, Black Barn Bistro and Logan Brown. You might also be interested in trying Casita Miro, Pegasus Bay, The French Cafe, Cable Bay Vineyards and Botswana Butchery.

Luna Rossa Challenge, Oracle Team USA, and Emriates Team New Zealand make their way past the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while training for the America's Cup sailing event on July 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge are are currently competing in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup goes on to race against Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Finals that start on September 7. (credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Getting Around

With so many exciting things to see and do in New Zealand, you are probably wondering how to get around to it all. There are many different options available to travelers, offering them transportation choices to fit their vacation and travel needs. The option you choose will depend on how quickly you want to get to your destinations and how much you are willing to spend.

If you want to get to your destination on your own schedule, it is best that you rent a car or a motorcycle. That way, you can leave when you are ready and go anywhere you want without worrying about what time the bus leaves or having to wait for a taxi. If you do not mind being limited to a bus schedule, you can take a bus to just about anywhere in New Zealand. Other transportation options include taking a plane or ferry ride from island to island or enjoying a leisurely train ride across the country.

Related: Backpacking Trips To Take Through Australia

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Best Times To Visit

Keep in mind when visiting New Zealand that the seasons are opposite those here in the United States. Peak season to visit this country is during the summer months between December and February. If you are looking to explore without the hassle of thick crowds, it might be best to avoid the summer months. Spring and fall are ideal times because crowds are thinner and the foliage and landscapes are breathtaking during these times of year.

Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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