It won't take long to begin your own love affair with New Zealand...
Up and down the country and across the two main islands, hotels in New Zealand are filled with tourists looking to dive into one of the world's biggest outdoor playgrounds. What a playground it is. You can ski in the morning and take a dip in the cool waters of an afternoon. You can hike, or “tramp”, across some of the most stunning scenery in this world - and the world of Middle Earth; the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Hobbit' movies were filmed here and film fans will recognise some of the vistas. And it will begin to feel like adrenaline was made for New Zealand when you brave the bungee jumps, sky dives, jet boats and caves of this non-stop nation.
It's a favourite stop on the backpacker trail of young Brits, but there really is something for everyone in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, hotels range from basic and budget to sprawling resorts offering far-reaching views...
On the North Island, you can check into five-star hotels in Auckland to explore the nation's biggest and most diverse urban area. The city is also home to a good deal of mid-range accommodation, plus budget hotels and hostels on the outskirts. Travel to Napier to stay in wonderful Art-Deco hotels, and don't forget to enjoy the wines of the Hawke's Bay region. The shoreline is dotted by wild and rugged beaches, with destinations such as Gisborne, on the east coast, and the North Cape, at the very top of the nation, luring surfers and swimmers. At the heart of the North Island, Lake Taupo hotels are filled with adventurous guests looking for fun at the water's edge or in the skies - this is a popular place for sky-diving. A little south of this vast body of water is Tongariro National Park, where many walkers attempt the famous Tongariro Crossing. At the southern tip of the North Island is the capital city of Wellington. It's a cultured destination and well worth a visit. Hotels here also run the full range, from budget hotels to luxury hotels on the water.
Hop over the Cook Strait to land on the South Island. The larger of the islands, though less populated, some would argue that this island boasts more of the picture-postcard images of New Zealand. It certainly has its share of natural beauties, with the gorgeous peaks of Milford Sound almost defining New Zealand as a destination. On the South Island, you can check into hotels in the city of Christchurch, which is the international gateway of the South Island. Book hotels in the Fjordlands or the Southern Alps, or party hard after a winter's day on the slopes in Queenstown.
New Zealand is a hugely popular destination for lovers of adventure and road trips around the islands are the perfect way to do the country justice. Travellers are welcomed at all kinds of accommodation in New Zealand, including hostels, B&Bs, motels, farm stays, self-catering apartments, budget chain hotels and luxury hotels.
There's no shortage of things to do and see across this great nation...
Most of New Zealand's top attractions revolve around the unique natural elements of the islands, though there are thousands of things to see and do here.
Top five attractions
Fjordland (or Fiordland)
Kayak alongside playful dolphins, jump aboard a pleasure cruise, book a scenic flight, or hike along world-famous routes such as Milford Track... it doesn't matter how you view Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound, just make sure you do.
The nightlife and ski capital of New Zealand, playful Queenstown, which perches on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, is a great destination in any season.
You'll know it when you arrive in Rotorua, on the North Island. The intense geothermal activity results in a smell of sulphur - you get used to the eggy odour as you tour the geysers and hot mud pools of this fascinating city.
Swim with dolphins in Kaikoura
This pleasant town, on the east coast of the South Island, is home to companies that will take you out on the waves and drop you into the sea to swim with these majestic creatures in their own habitat. It's a magical experience. Kaikoura is a haven for wildlife; you can see birds, whales and seals as well as dolphins.
Abel Tasman National Park
At the northern tip of the South Island is this natural park. It's brimming with gorgeous beaches of white sand and unusual rock formations. Hiring kayaks and going under your own steam offers unique views.
Discover what's on when in New Zealand...
There are unique celebrations of Maori culture in New Zealand, plus traditional events and town-wide parties. There's always something happening somewhere. What follows are just a few of the very best annual events:
Pasifika Festival; March: Delve into the roots of ancient New Zealand with this celebration of the Pacific Island communities, from which the Maori people once came. The event is held in Auckland and you can taste the food, hear the music, and join in the energetic dancing.
Queenstown Winter Festival; June: From the slopes to the bars of the centre, the party revs up in Queenstown during this annual 10-day feast of winter sports, music, fireworks and comedy.
The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival; March: The small town of Hokitika, on the South Island's west coast, welcomes thousands of brave diners keen to tuck into all kinds of weird and wacky cuisine. Try beetle grubs, possum, seagull eggs and sheep brains, among many other delicacies.