All Seasons Appeal For Travel Across The Ditch To New Zealand
Did you know that New Zealand is one of Australia’s most popular places to travel to? Yep, New Zealand is a favourite destination for Australian sun seekers and snow lovers alike with new data from Cheapflights.com.au serving the truth that the most popular season to jump the ditch is autumn. Thirty-four per cent of travellers, to be exact.
These are where Aussies go…
Nearest Airports: Whangarei
Tranquil Hokianga is mostly bypassed on tourist itineraries in favour of Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. But there’s a lot to love about this west coast section of the North Island if you veer off State Highway One. Highlights include Tane Mahuta (a 2,000 year old Kauri tree), deserted sand dune beaches, the tiny laidback towns of Omapere and Opononi, the Wairere Boulders and the stunningly beautiful Kai Iwi Lakes.
Great Barrier Island
Nearest Airport: Auckland
An island paradise that’s off the radar for most – it takes four hours to travel there by slow ferry, two hours on the seasonal fast ferry or you can organise a domestic flight connection. Untouched by mainstream tourism, most of Great Barrier Island is made up of protected native forest, bordered by some of the most pristine beaches you’ll find anywhere in the country. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of native birds soaring overhead and dolphins frolicking in the surf.
Nearest Airport: Tauranga
While Whakatane and Gisborne have their own particular charms, the real star of the show is the lesser-known stretch of road in between. Head to State Highway 35 via the East Cape and you’ll discover a rich Maori heritage, rugged coastlines and deserted golden sand beaches. Must-dos: sample the seafood.
Nearest Airport: Palmerston North
For a real digital detox get out in the sticks and experience rural Rangitikei. The impressive Rangitikei River cuts through this bush-clad region in the lower North Island, providing some of the best scenery in New Zealand and plenty of activities, such as white water rafting, kayaking and fishing.
Nearest Airport: Nelson
The Abel Tasman and Nelson are the tourist drawcards for this region but slightly further south you’ll find glistening lakes surrounded by majestic mountains and pristine beech forest. The Nelson Lakes National Park offers a quiet landscape with only the sound of gentle lapping of lake waters – a truly restorative and soothing place to get away from it all. For the more energetic there’s mountain biking and hiking and both lakes Rotoiti and Rotoroa offer kayaking (but no noisy power boats).
Oamaru may be more visited by blue and yellow-eyed penguins than tourists. This small east coast town is a highlight of a road trip between Timaru and Dunedin. Known for its Victorian architecture, mouth-watering cuisine, delicious local wines and fascination with Steampunk art, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a short stay.
Although the Catlins region is incredibly beautiful, it never seems to make it onto that many tourist itineraries. Perhaps because it’s tucked away in the southeast corner of the South Island. For those who’ve driven the Southern Scenic Route, the Catlins embodies the ‘real New Zealand’, an untouched wilderness of ancient forests, cascading waterfalls, vacant beaches and abundant wildlife.
Nearest Airport: Invercargill
Invercargill is just too far south for most tourists who prefer the hustle and bustle of Queenstown. But make the effort to visit the City of Water and Light and you’ll be suitably rewarded. Though it can get chilly, the famous southern hospitality will keep you warm, as will the lively bars and restaurants. Blessed with access to both spectacular farmland and fiordland scenery, it’s the long, sweeping beaches (where land speed record holder Burt Munro sped on his world’s fastest Indian) that hold the most fascination for visitors.
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