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From wilderness to wine: A taste of New Zealand

26th September 2014

New Zealand certainly packs a punch when it comes to what to see, do and taste. It offers up a tantalizingly diverse palette of landscapes, attractions, food, wine - and that's just scratching the surface.

Here's a taste of what you can experience in this country of spectacular contrasts.

Eat, drink and be merry

New Zealand is a foodie's paradise, with a winning combination of stellar coastline and thriving fertile pastures. Whether it's a casual meal of fish and chips on the beach or a more refined dining experience with crayfish, mussels or Bluff oysters, the country's seafood is simply divine.

Auckland is known for its gorgeous waterfront dining destinations such as the Conservatory, Urban Turban, Soul Bar and Bistro and Botswana Butchery, while Wellington is renowned for its cool cafes like Fidel's and Plum.

For a taste of indigenous fare, try a hangi, which is food cooked underground by the heat of the earth and hot coals. Destinations such as Rotorua, with its proud Maori history and culture, are perfect for trying this type of earthy and delicious food.

But that's not all. New Zealand also produces spectacular wine. There are several distinct wine-growing regions, such as the Wairarapa, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago. Try a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a Central Otago Pinot Noir and a Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris for starters.

You can explore cellar doors throughout the country, or jump on a tour showcasing the best local vineyards in your region of travel. Some highlights include Mission Estate Winery, Highfield and Mt Difficulty Wines.

Get in touch with nature 

New Zealand's natural environment is second to none, and there are so many different ways you can experience it.

Whether you crave the thrill of white water rafting down the Mohaka River or would like to stretch your legs by walking one of the country's signature trails such as the Milford Track, there's something for you.

If you're an avid hiker, taking on the Tongariro Crossing, located in the central North Island, is a must. Here, you'll journey across World Heritage-listed volcanic terrain for 19.4 kilometres in a single-day adventure of a lifetime. Boasting the peaks of Ngauruhoe and Tongariro mountains, plus stunning craters, geothermal lakes and springs, you'll see a number of awe-inspiring sights along the way.

When it comes to multi-day hikes, the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler Tracks are all world-renowned and showcase stunning South Island scenery, from the mists and peaks of the Milford Sound to thick forest concealing waterfalls ripe for discovery.

Quench your thirst for activity and adventure

Have you been putting off skydiving, abseiling or bungy jumping for years or even decades? New Zealand is the perfect place to finally take the plunge. Queenstown is a hotspot for bungy jumping and jetboating, while nothing beats the thrill of heading underground into the Waitomo Cave system.

If you'd rather not raise your heart rate too much, you could opt for a scenic whale watching cruise in Kaikoura or a leisurely boat ride down the Dart River.

You'll have plenty of chances to squeeze a game of golf into your trip, with a number of world-class courses at your fingertips. In the north you can practice your swing on the greens of Kauri Cliffs, a par 72 championship course that also boasts stunning views. In the South Island, the Jack's Point course offers spectacular views of the Remarkables Mountain range as well as Lake Wakatipu, and is a pleasure to play on.

If you're interested in discovering the wilderness and wine of New Zealand - and everything in between - contact your nearest Travel Associates store or call us on 13 70 71 to speak with a travel expert to begin planning your New Zealand sojourn.