New Zealand Vacations: A Middle Earth Travel Guide

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Famous as providing the filming locations for Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Zealand is positively awash with things to see and do from stunning scenery to Maori culture, pristine beaches to some of the world’s most vibrant cities. Make the most of your trip to New Zealand with our round-up of the very best Kiwi attractions.

Milford Sound

If it’s incredible coastal scenery you’re looking for, you won’t need to go any further than Milford Sound. One of the most famous attractions in New Zealand, Milford Sound lies at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park and is famous for its dramatic peaks and gorgeous blue waters. It’s also the only place in the South Island where you’ll be praying for rain – frequent downpours here send waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, and it’s a truly spectacular sight!

Napier

Situated on the North Island’s east coast, the small city of Napier is criminally overlooked by tourists. The city was mostly levelled by an earthquake in 1931, and was rebuilt in the striking Art Deco style that was famous at the time. As a result of this, the city is unlike any others you’ll find in the world. Visit in February and join the thousands of others out to celebrate the annual Art Deco Weekend, which offers vintage cars, picnics and the famous soapbox derby.

Sky Tower

Auckland offers far too much for us to cover it all here, but if there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in New Zealand’s largest city it’s the Sky Tower. Reaching the dizzying heights of 328m (1076ft), this observation and telecommunications tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern hemisphere and it dominates the Auckland skyline. You can enjoy some fantastic views of up to 80km away at the top and even enjoy a meal in the tower’s revolving restaurant. If you have a head for heights, combine your visit with an ascent of the Auckland Bridge. It’s an experience like no other, so start planning your visit!

Coromandel Peninsula

Famed for its white and golden sandy beaches as well as some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the country, this north-eastern peninsula offers a whole host of activities for every kind of visitor. Explore the dense forests and natural wonders, visit the picturesque city of Thames which is famous for its gold mining history, or relax at Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot pool from springs under the sand.

Kaikoura

Seafood lovers will find themselves in paradise at the small coastal town of Kaikoura on the South Island, which offers an abundance of fresh treats including crayfish, mussels, blue cod and much more. If you’d prefer not to eat the marine life, you can spot for fur seals, albatrosses, sperm whales and dolphins off the shores. The town also caters for landlubbers too, and you can enjoy some of the Kaikoura’s spectacular wilderness with a walk through its untamed and dramatic forest.

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