New Zealand revels in its role as nature's amphitheater, the country redefining notions of the sub-lime and the surreal. Every turn seems to unveil a new panorama, a new aesthetic seemingly lost in time. New Zealand is unspoiled and untamed. Its status as home of fictionalized Middle Earth is well publicized, but there's far more to the landscape than hobbit holes and orcas hiding in trees. There is bounty to be discovered everywhere and almost every visitor is won over with fresh impressions of natural splendor. With more sheep than people and more solitude than city, New Zealand is a place for getting lost in the midst of the planet's most spectacular landscapes.
New Zealand essentially consists of a series of islands in the Pacific, each distinct and celebrating its difference. Two large islands dominate this definition. The volcanic North Island, full of rolling green pastures and kaleidoscopic color. And the mountainous South Island, home to glaciers, fjords, and dramatic geological features. While the land provides an omnipresent highlight, there's more to New Zealand than a journey through lakes, mountains, ocean, and forests dancing with phantasmal intrigue.
The country runs on an indelibly laid-back rhythm, one that negates the use of a watch and helps you easily slip into the natural spell. You could travel a hundred miles without seeing another per-son and most settlements still retain the unpopulated charm of yesteryear. Such rurality inevitably supports a famed local friendliness. Everyone has time to say hello and greet a stranger and rushing around is a serious no. Stress, it seems, disappears the moment you land in the country. Even a journey that traverses the whole of New Zealand will be defined by serenity.
This guidebook has a very New Zealand approach at heart. It likes to keep things simple and tranquil, preferring not to dampen the journey with layer after layer of purposeless information. This is a country that must be discovered. We would prefer to leave enough for you to discover when you arrive. At the same time, the helping hand of a local guide is essential for navigating the best the country has to offer. So think of this guidebook as the friendly locals you meet in New Zealand, full of tips and ideas but always leaving the final decision to you. In this guidebook we detail all the iconic and unmissable experience, as well as all the hidden and off the beaten track ideas that should be considered.
This complete planning guide presents destinations from a visitor's perspective. Rather than use local administrative regions, the guidebook is split into key routes and regions that are easy to explore from a single base. Using this approach enables a clear overview of what's possible when you visit New Zealand, and which destinations are effortlessly combined in an itinerary.
What this guidebook doesn't do, is fill two pages with hotels and restaurants with less than complimentary descriptions. If it's good and worth experiencing then it's in this guidebook. If it's not then it didn't make the cut. There's more than enough enchantment and quality to find in New Zealand, why dilute it with the mundane? So jump forward and jump in to a country that captures the imagination and stirs the intrepidness in every soul. Welcome to New Zealand and welcome to a country that always leaves a lasting impression.