Travel New Zealand The purpose of this series of Guides is to introduce you the reader or new traveler as to what is available in the different parts of Australia and New Zealand and what types of Activities you might like to know about and where they are available. The Guide is not intended to be the authority on traveling and visitor information for the whole of Australia. We recommend that you use the Tourist Information Centres around Australia for more specific aspects of the local regions. Guide 6 – Auckland to Christchurch – New Zealand The North Island of New Zealand is as diverse as it is beautiful. An explorer's wonderland there are dormant volcanoes dotted across the island, sparkling waterways, golden beaches, rustic farmland and idyllic forestry. Here you will find the capital city, Wellington, a bustling city with stunning scenery and a growing arts scene. The North Island is also home to Auckland, a place where visitors can revel in being just 30 minutes from almost anything you could desire. Whether you wish to escape to a rural hideaway, try your hand at adrenalin pumping activities, relax in coastal paradise or learn about the rich New Zealand history - there is something for everyone on the North Island. Auckland Auckland, with a population of over 1.2 million, is home to almost one third of New Zealand's entire population. Boasting two mountain ranges, more than 50 islands, three harbours and over 40 volcanic cones, Auckland's natural environment is as diverse as it is interesting. In this urban city everyone lives within half an hour of hiking trails, beautiful holiday islands and gorgeous beaches. The unique attractions and natural assets of Auckland have made it an exciting holiday destination for all kinds of travellers . Auckland has harbours on two separate bodies of waters, Manakau Harbour on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean. This brings about a huge water culture in the city which once hosted the America's Cup. You can stroll around the Viaduct Harbor which features a beautiful boardwalk, great restaurants, nightclubs and you'll even of the odd super yacht. From Auckland you can also sail out to one of the many islands surrounding the city. There are a multitude of activities you enjoy while in Auckland City. You can visit the vibrant Aorta Markets, appreciate classic and contemporary art at the Auckland Art Gallery, get in touch with your spiritual side and one of the beautiful churches or learn about New Zealand's history at the Auckland Museum. How about taking a step into the world of sea creatures at Kelly Tarltons Underwater World where you can get up close and personal with some of the oceans most intriguing habitants. Lake Taupo and Rotorua The Lake Taupo region is steeped in Maori tradition and lies at the heart of the volcanic centre of New Zealand. Surrounded by mountain ranges and home to the biggest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere - it's not hard to see why Lake Taupo is such a popular holiday destination . The Lake Taupo region is steeped in Maori tradition and lies at the heart of the volcanic centre of New Zealand. Surrounded by mountain ranges and home to the biggest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere - it's not hard to see why Lake Taupo is such a popular holiday destination. Lake Taupo is the heart of this beautiful region. The lake was created after a massive volcano eruption thousands of years ago. The explosion was so large that the ash could be seen in sunsets as far away as Europe. With a total area of 619 square kilometres, the lake offers visitors a multitude of activities including water skiing, fishing and boating. Learn about the rich Maori history in the area during a heritage tour or a trip to the Taupo museum. Brave the rapids and go white water rafting, hold on to your seat on a Jet Boat, try your hand at fishing on the lake and get an adrenlin rush with a bungy jump. Must sees in the Lake Taupo region include the Tongariro National Park (the oldest National Park in New Zealand) and Orakei Korako (home to caves, hot springs and boiling mud). Rotorua, Located in the Bay of Plenty region, is one of the original tourist destinations in New Zealand. Rotorua is home to approximately 53 000 residents, half of which being Maori. For over a century this city has been welcoming tourists to explore it's unique and fascinating landscape. Centrally located, Rotorua is just 60 kilometres south of Tauranga and 82 kilometres north-east of Taupo You know you're somewhere special as soon as you arrive in Rotorua. Home to a world of geothermal activity you will be amazed by what you see - and smell. You'll catch a whiff of sulphur in the air followed by a sighting of a bubbling mud pool or a spouting geyser. Visit one of the thermal reserves and you will find remarkable boiling mud pools, mineral foot pools, hot water falls and water shooting geysers. Rotorua is home to the Pink and White terraces. Tourism in New Zealand started years and years ago when visitors from overseas travelled to Rotorua to see these amazing formations. Once known as the eighth wonder of the world, these fascinating formations were destroyed when Mount Tarawera erupted in 1886 killing over 100 people. Despite the loss of the beautiful terraces hundreds of tourists still come every year to catch a glimpse of what remains. Hawkes Bay Hawkes Bay, approximately 4 hours from Wellington City, is New Zealand's leading red wine producer. Located on the east coast, the region enjoys a warm, dry climate and over 2200 hours of sun every year. From towering mountain ranges, wide rivers and the beautiful Pacific Ocean - Hawkes Bay has it all. The area offers visitors a diverse cultural scene from Maori New Year celebrations to elaborate architecture, art galleries to gourmet dining. There are a number of food and wine festivals held throughout the year including the Harvest Hawkes Bay celebration and the WETA Wine and Food festival. The area also showcases a number of music festivals including the Mission Concert and the Church Road Jazz Concert. There are also several Art Deco weekends throughout the year featuring vintage cars, wining and dining and dancing. Wellington Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is tucked away between rolling hills and a stunning harbour. With a population of approximately 466 575, Wellington offers travellers a beautiful mix of inner city living, heritage buildings and a picturesque landscape. Wellington and the surrounding area incorporates regional parks, beaches, quaint seaside villages, islands and more . Known as the culture capital of New Zealand, Wellington is home to the National Opera, Royal New Zealand Ballet, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the National Dance and Drama schools. You will find live entertainment at every corner in this city. From theatre performances to artists in the local pub to buskers on street corners. There is also a wealth of local talent showcased at the many art galleries across the city. You'll have to allow a number of days when visiting this city to fit in the multitude of attractions. You can visit the 'Middle Earth' Lord of the Rings filming locations or see where it all happens during a tour of Parliament. Dine in one of the 300+ eateries in the City or take a ride on a cable car. Find Cuba Street or Courtenay Place for a delicious dinner followed by a night on the town and one of the many popular nightclubs. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Botanical Gardens or catch a glimpse of rare and endangered birds at Kapiti Island Alive. Wellington is home to the innovative Te Papa museum. This world recognised interactive museum features exhibitions on the Maori history, art and visual culture and the country's natural environment - this is a must see when visiting the area. Wellington is also home to the Headquarters for Parliament, the New Zealand Stock Exchange, the Reserve Bank and more. The South Island and Christchurch The South Island has kilometres of unspoiled coastline, dozens of majestic mountain ranges and acres upon acres of lush rainforest. You will find the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown here. This stylish resort town draws millions of tourists every year to it world-renown ski slopes. The South Island is also home to Christchurch, a charming city alive with colour, atmosphere and attractions. There are an array of activities you can enjoy whilst in the South Island with the most popular being bush walking, skiing, snowboarding and a number of water-based experiences, as well as climbing the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier. Malborough, located on the north-east corner of the South Island, is the country's largest wine making region. Home to just over 40 000 residents the region extends from the Marlborough Sounds to the rugged coastline of Kaikoura. The region offers visitors year-round sunshine, gourmet food, beautiful scenery and outdoor adventure to get your heart pumping. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, relax in natural surroundings and fill your tummy with delicious cuisine then Malborough is the perfect destination for you . Nelson, located in the top north-west corner of the South Island, offers visitors a combination of a creative and laidback lifestyle and stunning landscape. Named a city in 1858, Nelson is ideally located at the northern edge of the Southern Alps. Relax and unwind with a backdrop of towering snow-tipped mountains, beautiful beaches and acre of picturesque vineyards . Queenstown, known to some as the adventure capital of the world, is nestled beside the beautiful Lake Wakatipu and shadowed by the spectacular Remarkables Mountain Range. From sparkling lakes in the summer to snow tipped peaks in the winter - Queenstown has something for visitors all year round . Queenstown was first discovered by the Maori Pounamu (Jade) hunters and then by gold miners. Now the stylish resort town welcomes guests from all over the globe featuring world-class cuisine, stunning and remote surroundings, not one but two ski fields, designer stores and friendly locals. As soon as the snow begins to fall, travellers and locals flock to the mountains in Queenstown. The popular resort town offers two ski areas including the option for night skiing. If skiing or snowboarding isn't your think you can catch a gondola up to Bob's Peak to witness the stunning landscape that encompasses Queenstown. Another popular sight is the Earnslaw steamship, also known as the Lady of the Lake, which was originally designed to move sheep, cattle and passengers but nowadays runs tourists to and from the Walter Peak station. No one can visit Queenstown without testing their legs on one of the many hills or mountains in the town. Climb Queenstown Hill for amazing views of the Queenstown landscape and afar. Conquer the slopes on horseback during a guided trek or if you have the skills rock climb your way to spectacular heights. The nearby Fiordland and Mount Aspiring National Parks have to be seen to be believed with some of the most picturesque surrounds in the country. If adrenalin is your thing then Queenstown is the place to go - it hasn't been called the Adventure Capital for nothing. If heights get your heart pumping then why not try bungy jumping, hand gliding or sky diving. If the combination of speed, water and adventure is your idea of fun then take a spin on a jet boat, hit the rapids white water rafting or for a more relaxed approach try sailing or kayaking. Explore the trails by foot, 4WD, mountain bike or even horseback. Christchurch Christchurch is home to a magnificently diverse landscape, from the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps to the kilometres of silvery beaches. Home to over 350,000 residents, Christchurch offers visitors towering mountains, fresh ocean waters and acres of green pastures. The world-renown 'Garden City' is alive with colour, atmosphere and attractions galore. Christchurch is the oldest established city in the country after being named by Royal Charter in 1856. However, Maori oral history suggests that the area was first inhabited in the 16th Century by the Waitaha tribe from the East Coast of the North Island. The gardens are a major attraction in Christchurch, there are numerous parks and gardens scattered throughout the inner city. The Botanic Gardens, Mona Vale and Victoria Square are among the many beautiful sites. There is also a Floral Festival held every year in February when you will find the city simply bursting with colour. The region is home to the spectacular Aoraki/Mount Cook which stands at over 3700 metres high. The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook is part of the Southern Alps Range which stretches the length of the West Coast. The mountain is located in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park which also contains over 140 other peaks and over 70 glaciers. Popular activities on the mountain include mountaineering, mountain biking and skiing. There are also a number of different scenic flights around the mountain daily.