Discover New Zealand 

History

New Zealand was settled in the 13th Century by Maori people, boat travellers from eastern Polynesia. Over several centuries, they developed a unique culture with distinctive language, mythology, crafts and expert warfare. Early European settlers came around 1840 when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and Maori people. In the 20th and 21st century, New Zealand has found a strong sense of identity, whilst remaining influenced by the British Commonwealth. They are a proud nuclear-free country and have one of the best rugby teams in the world.

Culture

The cultural landscape of New Zealand is diverse with European descendants making up 69% of the 4.4 million population, while Indigenous Maori’s make up 14.6%. The traditional Maori culture derives from their indigenous Polynesian history – they were hunters, gatherers and story-tellers. Marae (meeting grounds) are sacred places where stories are told and histories preserved. They are used for meetings, celebrations, funerals, workshops and tribal events.

Landscapes

The stunning and diverse terrains of New Zealand are truly spectacular and one of the kind. The landscapes are largely mountainous or steep hills, running along several fault lines known to cause earthquakes. Mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, lakes and caves all form part of New Zealand’s name as one of the most scenic locations in the world.

New Zealand’s scenic locations have been used in many films, including JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogy’s. It can be hard to believe that some of the destinations in the film were shot without CGI.

Destination: North Island

Beach and Warmer Temperatures

A New Zealand must do is the subtropical Northland region, stretching upwards from Auckland to the very top of the North Island. Northland is synonymous with striking coastline, boating and Kauri forests. In the beautiful Bay of Islands, cruise the turquoise waters of the bay encompassing 144 islands to the famous Hole in the Rock keeping an eye out for dolphins or perhaps visit Cape Reinga where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

Geothermal Activity

Couple this with a plethora of activities to enjoy in Rotorua - the hot spot of fascinating Maori culture, thermal springs and boiling mud pools. With its hot geysers and steaming volcanoes, this region is one of the most well-known Kiwi attractions. Try a delicious hangi feast cooked in the steaming ground while you’re there! Visit Skyline Rotorua where you will take a leisurely uphill Gondola ride to spectacular viewpoints.

Cultural Experiences

As you witness all of this spectacular scenery by coach you can also experience Maori culture and tradition, an integral part of kiwi life. Learn about fascinating myths and legends, displays of visual arts and enjoy specialty cuisine.

City Experience

Visit cosmopolitan Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. With World-class shopping, buzzing waterfront precincts lined with restaurants, a vibrant arts and culture scene and harbour adventures are right on your doorstep. Located in the heart of the city is the iconic is the Sky Tower. Experience 360 degree spectacular views for up to 80 kilometres from the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand.

Destination: South Island

Mountains, Glaciers and Fiords

In contrast, the South Island provides a dramatic landscape where towering landscapes meet peaceful sounds. Described as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ Milford Sound is a magnificent fiord, carved by glaciers during the ice ages, its cliffs rising vertically with waterfalls cascading from mountain peaks.

See the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, formed over 7,000 years ago. Take a scenic flight over the stunning landscapes and learn about their cultural history.

Marine Life

Spot dolphins, seals, whales, albatross and penguins on your travels as they use the migratory channels off the coast of New Zealand to travel between Antarctica. Visit the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch and learn about the importance of these animals to the habitat and how commercial whaling, global warming and pollution over the last 2 centuries has put them on the verge of extinction. See what you can do to help spread awareness.

Nature’s Playground

Other Southern highlights include Queenstown, a town set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu and the adventure capital of New Zealand. The rugged West Coast, a place of rainforests and glaciers and the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand’s oldest city and the starting point for the world famous TranzAlpine, which traverses the mighty Southern Alps through a sequence of alpine gorges, taking your breath away at every turn.

CTA: Experience amazing New Zealand on 200+ departures with Grand Pacific Tours. Order a 64-page brochure detailing all the sites!

 

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Fully escorted from start to finish. Combine modern luxury on board the indulgent Celebrity Solstice with a scenic coach tour of New Zealand. Great offers available!


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