New Zealand is a country of stark beauty, exciting wineries, ancient volcanoes and forests as well as the fascinating Maori culture.
Its sophisticated cities are balanced by empty and quiet beaches, the night clubs by bungee jumping, skiing and whale watching. It is a country famous for sheep, butter production and adrenalin sports such as river rafting and speed boating.
New Zealand is situated in the southern hemisphere in the Pacific Ocean, adjacent to Australia. It consists of two islands separated by the Cook Strait. The north is flatter and more developed with major cities such as Auckland and Wellington. If you make use of New-Zealand car hire you can pick up your vehicle at airports such as Auckland (AKL), the capital Wellington (WEL) on the North Island and Christchurch (CHC) on the South Island.
The climate is temperate, with mild temperatures, moderate rainfall and lots of sunshine. In summer, the average maximum daily temperature varies from 20 to 30° Celsius, with long sunny days and mild nights. Winters are milder, varying from 10 to 15° Celsius.
South Island attractions
The South Island is the largest island and contains the Southern Alps with 18 peaks over 3000 metres tall. Skiing and snowboarding are popular from the middle of June to early October, with runs for both beginners and advanced skiers. The best areas for skiing are Queenstown, Lake Wanaka, Mount Ruapehu and Christchurch. Most people visit the South Island for mountain glaciers, lakes and scenic drives. It is famous as the location for the Lord of the Rings films and will be used in the forthcoming Hobbit films.
If you visit Dunedin you can take a ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway through the stunning and rugged gorge, visit the Otago Museum's Tropical Forest or entertain the children at the St Kilda Dinosaur Park. With car hire in New Zealand you can drive to Queenstown to do Break One Clay Target shooting, the Shotover Canyon Swing or a helicopter trip in Fiordland. The Fiordland National Park in Te Anau is stunning and the Milford Hiking Track is one of the most beautiful in the world.
The North Island has many active volcanoes that constantly change the appearance of the landscape, such as the Taupo volcanic zone. It is the site of the highest mountain on the North Island, Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park. The largest lake in the country, Lake Taupo, lies in a large caldera of a constantly active super-volcano. As a result, this area has many natural hot thermal springs, such as those at Rotorua. This city is very popular with tourists because of the healing properties of the hot mud baths and thermal springs. The numerous lakes abound with anglers, water skiers and swimmers in summer.
For an exciting time, you can go quad biking, river rafting or hiking in the Tongariro Forest. Cathedral Cove is another beautiful place to walk or picnic. The city of Napier is situated on Hawke's Bay and is popular with tourists. A famous and much-photographed feature is the Pania of the Reef statue of a woman on Marine Parade, which is reminiscent of the Little Mermaid. Napier Airport (NPE) is situated there.
Nature lovers will appreciate the untamed island of Rakiura, also called Stewart Island. It is a haven for wildlife, most of which is unique to this country. The geographic isolation of the islands has resulted in the evolution of unusual animals such as the flightless kiwi. The first humans, Maoris of Polynesian descent, reached these shores as late as the thirteenth century.
New Zealand offers travellers an experience like no other and travelling by car enables you to visit every corner of these fascinating islands.
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