It’s not just hobbits and rugby; from hot springs and thermal pools to ski slopes and alpine crossings, NZ has it all. Comprising of two main islands, unimaginatively named the North and the South, these two landmasses are wedged between battling waters – the tempestuous Tasman Sea and the precarious Pacific Ocean. Separated from other major landmasses by thousands of miles of salt water, New Zealand sits alone in the middle of nowhere.
Its remoteness at the end of the world has, however, enabled New Zealanders to make the most of what they’ve got – thousands of miles of unspoiled coastline, dramatic landscapes and a multitude of outdoor pursuits in epic surroundings. Boasting natural wonders such as glow worm caves, geothermal volcanic areas and rugged mountains, all these can be explored by the intrepid on two long distance country-length journeys. The Te Araroa Trail (hiking) and the Tour Aotearoa (cycling) trails weave their way 3,000km from the north of the North Island, Cape Reinga, to the south of the South Island, Bluff. If time is of the essence, there are also 9 Great Walks and 22 Great Cycle Rides showcasing the very best of New Zealand’s scenery.
New Zealand was originally occupied by the Maori for centuries, and it wasn’t until the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 that outside rule came to the country. Since then, Western development has slowly taken over, but much of Northland retains it’s Maori heritage and well preserved sites are in evidence all over the country.
As birthplace to the bungee jump and many other extreme activities, New Zealand also packs a punch on keeping adrenaline levels pumping. Surfing down sand dunes, Mario Karting down steep hilly race tracks, kayaking Fjordland, leaping off Auckland’s Sky Tower or risking a ride along Skippers Canyon, New Zealand’s most dangerous road, are all on itineraries for the brave.
Home to 4.6 million people, 10 million cows, 60 million sheep and a handful of hobbits, New Zealand is a paradise for travellers looking for adventure, incredible views, stunning seas and a plethora of activities. Bilbo Baggins famously said “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you.” but adventure is what he got, and the base for this was all in New Zealand. So pack away your Hobbit fears and come have an incredible adventure!