The country consists mostly of two main islands, North and South, which differ greatly from one another and have plenty to offer. The North Island is the more populous of the two and is home to the largest city centres including the capital, Wellington. The capital city is the country’s cultural hub, where you will find theatres, the National Art Gallery and museums, as well as the numerous cafes and roasteries that Wellington is recognised for internationally.
Auckland is not only North Island’s largest city, but also the nation’s. Here you will find great shopping, wonderful cuisine and inspiring wines, which benefit from the wine growing regions nearby and are ripe for touring. Compared to the South Island, the North has a warmer climate and its great beauty can be seen in the rolling hills, undulating for as far as the eye can see, the beautiful windswept beaches that stretch for miles and the volcanic wilderness that possesses such an other-worldly quality.
The South Island is the larger and more dramatic of the two islands; the landscape full of character from the high alpine peaks to the memorable Fiordland that jut out from the tranquil glacial waters. The scenery of this island is perhaps what has inspired the surge of tourism to the country over the last decade and a half or so after being featured heavily in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy.
The island is also home to great port cities such as Dunedin, which has a proud and rich Scottish heritage and is often referred to as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’. Many of its streets share their names with that of its Scottish counterpart and there is wonderfully preserved Edwardian and Victorian architecture prevalent throughout the city. The aforementioned Fiordland is by far the most popular part of any New Zealand cruise and rightly so – the sheer spectacle of the theatrical slopes that have been carved by glaciers over thousands of years is enough to leave you spellbound.