For sheer tranquillity and stunning scenery, a holiday in New Zealandis hard to beat. To take in the dramatic mountain ranges, mirror-like lakes and lush rolling greenery, head for destinations like Tongariro National Park, where parts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed. Speaking of which, there are plenty of Tolkien tours on offer, and if you tire of outdoor pursuits like hiking and canoeing, you can always take in the sights of major cities like Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch with their museums and bustling bars and restaurants.
A number of carriers including Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and British Airways offer indirect flights to New Zealand from several major UK airports. You can also choose to begin your New Zealand holiday at one of a number of airports. It's worth doing a bit of research here, as fares can vary depending on where you arrive. For example, fares to Christchurch International Airport tend to be cheaper. It is situated around 12 kilometres from the city centre, while Auckland Airport, which is the largest in New Zealand, is around 21 kilometres from Auckland itself.
Plenty of bus routes and taxis service both airports. Speaking of buses, they offer a great, cheap way to get around the country, especially if you book in advance to make the most of any discounts on offer. Trains offer a great way to take in some of the staggering and iconic New Zealand landscapes, but they can be very slow and routes are rather limited. If you really need to get across the country in a hurry, domestic flights may be the most convenient and cost-effective option.
There are so many types of hotels in New Zealand that it pays to have a careful look around online before taking the plunge. The country is famed for its luxury lodges, which afford incredible views of the rolling country, but if these are a tad out of your budget then there are plenty of more basic hotels and bed and breakfasts to choose from. You could even opt for a Maori homestay, and really get a taste of life for the country's indigenous culture. Again, look online for a package to suit you.
You don't have to spend a lot to eat well during your holiday in New Zealand. In fact, it can be fun to check out its cheap and cheerful snack bars and barbecue joints. Regional favourites include roast sweet potato, pies, seafood and the old classic, fish and chips. It won't cost the earth and it'll keep you satisfied after a hard day's hike!
Updated 22nd May 2013
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