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New Zealand

New-Zealand

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

4

Total Stars:

9.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Very broad appeal but especially of interest to Centric-Venturers and Mid-Venturers and many Venturers

Did you know … ?

  • New Zealanders invented bungee jumping, the jetboat, the Blokart and the Zorb.
  • Wellington is the world’s southernmost capital city.
  • New Zealand claims the world’s longest place name — 92 letters in the longest version.
  • Traditional Maori tattoos are viewed as intellectual property; facial tattoos tell the wearer’s family story.
  • The flightless, nocturnal kiwi is the only bird with nostrils at the end of its bill.

Drop-dead gorgeous

It’s a long journey to New Zealand, but the payoff in vacation satisfaction is huge. The country is ideal for adventurers, given the wide array of venturesome activities that tour companies and outfitters offer.

However, the country’s many diversions also include fine wine and food, Maori cultural experiences, spas for soaking in natural mineral waters — things that appeal to all personality types. Besides, the language is English, people are friendly, visitors feel safe, North America’s dollars go a long way and the natural settings range from simply pretty to drop-dead gorgeous.

The nation comprises the North and South islands, plus the smaller Stewart Island. It has almost 10,000 miles of coastline, compared with 12,383 miles for the entire continental U.S. With not quite 4.3 million people, it is one of the world’s least-crowded countries.

New Zealand wants the world to know it is “clean, green and nuclear-free.”  It also wants to clarify something else: It is not Australia! Although the two countries have clear connections — the “upside down” location, Anglo-Scots-Irish settlers and codependent economies — their histories and geographical differences produce some differences in personality traits, too.

All travelers admire New Zealand’s scenery and like the lack of crowds and low level of commercial development. New Zealanders lead the world in caring for natural resources, qualities that many travelers, especially the more venturesome types, heartily applaud.

Active travelers, in particular, are enthusiastic about the outdoor activities. They can camp and hike, fish, climb mountains, go sailing and, during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer, go skiing. It was a New Zealander who pioneered bungee jumping, creating a nutty national sport for the calm and sensible New Zealanders. Tourists can give it a try here.

More mellow tourists make other choices, things like ogling geysers and bathing in thermal pools in Rotorua, attending Maori cultural events, hitting the wine trails or overnighting afloat in Milford Sound.

All personality types praise New Zealanders, who are generally more traditional in outlook than their Australian cousins and a little gentler. Visitors also admire the relationship between the European newcomers and the native Maori people, whose influence on local culture is apparent.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go to The Station, the activity booking and visitor information site in Queenstown, and you’ll see why the town calls itself the adventure capital of the world. Scores of activities are available, so select one or two or more. Bungee jumping, maybe?
  • Go surfing in the waters along the 65-mile coastal Highway 45, popularly called Surf Highway 45, in the Taranaki area in the southwest of North Island. Or, for a bigger rush, try dam dropping. Unique to Taranaki, this has you plummeting over a 26-foot dam then whitewater sledging through river rapids.
  • Also in the Taranaki region, paddle in a 39-foot waka (Maori canoe) down the Waitara River.
  • Attend the annual Hokitika Wildwoods Festival where delicacies include mysteries and near-mysteries like horopito, mako shark, Maori potato, mutton bird, octopus, paua, punga fern, seagull eggs and whitebait. Still more challenging (for most, anyway) are these delicacies: possum pie, wasp larvae, worm sushi and turbot fish bathed with sandfly dressing. Sample when you dare, then eat somewhere else.
  • At Waitomo on North Island, try blackwater rafting, also called cave tubing. You’ll ride on an inflated rubber inner tube through the Ruakuri Cave, with lighting provided by glowworms.
  • Sample Blokart sailing (land-based sailing). Or, ride the Zorb, which is a giant, hollow plastic ball surrounded by a thick air cushion that is typically pitched down a hill with its thrill-seeking passenger harnessed inside.

Things to do for Centrics

  • In the land of “Whale Rider,” watch whales — as well as a supporting cast of dolphins, fur seals, penguins and sea birds.
  • Can you imagine planning a vacation stop to see a bunch of insects? Do it anyway! Waitomo is home to the Glowworm Caves where thousands of the insects emit a spooky greenish light that attracts their food — and many tourists.
  • Fish for trout and salmon, or troll the ocean for bigger game, all in uncrowded waters.
  • Go to Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park, typically a two-day motorcoach trip from Queenstown, with overnight on a small ship in the sound. You can fly in and out as well, but flights are frequently canceled because of the same brooding clouds over the sound that give the place its dramatic appearance.
  • Sample station life on a real sheep farm.
  • Visit a marae (traditional Maori community site), where you will typically witness a wero (challenge) and a powhiri (welcome); see a cultural performance including the haka (war dance), the poi and waiataaringa (action songs), and then enjoy a hangi (eating food that has been cooked in holes dug in the ground).

Things to do for Authentics

  • Visit Rotorua on North Island to see geysers and other geothermal wonders and to bathe in thermal pools. Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, site of the gorgeous and vigorous Pohutu Geyser, is the most popular.
  • Take a wine tour to Hawke’s Bay vineyards on North Island. Wine tours are on offer out of Queenstown on South Island, too.
  • If you get lucky, spot one of New Zealand’s fabled-but-shy kiwis.
  • In Queenstown, cross Lake Wakatipu aboard the 1912 steamship Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here you will see sheep shearing and enjoy a traditional New Zealand carvery buffet dinner.
  • Devote at least a day to Napier, a major dot on the Art Deco map. Take one of the Art Deco Trust’s downtown walking tours.
  • For the scenery, travel by train, aboard the Tranz Coastal, down the coast of South Island from Blenheim to Christchurch. For more than 60 miles, it runs along a thin ledge of land pinned between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Kaikoura ranges.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Tourism New Zealand at www.newzealand.com and click on Vacation With Us.  To find Kiwi Specialists, meaning agents specializing in New Zealand, at the www.newzealand.com home page, click on Travel to NZ then click on Travel Agents and Airlines, click to choose your country and begin the search. Or, go directly to www.newzealand.com/us/travel-agent-or-airline