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The Lord of the Rings Fan’s Guide to Visiting New Zealand

This post covers just some of our favourite New Zealand spots that were immortalised in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A country this big, a trilogy this rich, there are plenty more places to see and they are all pretty breathtaking.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan, or someone looking to structure a sightseeing holiday, follow in the footsteps of a team of native, knowledgeable Kiwi film producers and take a Middle-Earth tour of New Zealand. Continue reading

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New Zealand Honeymoon Ideas

An Autumn day in Queenstown with the light reflecting off the water

A wedding day can be your best day ever, a feat of logistical wizardry, your third most stressful life event (according to research), and sometimes all of these things at once. So just as well you have a special treat lined up for the other side of it. A honeymoon is a wonderful and welcome break after your big day. It can be an adventure, the height of decadence or simply a chance to do nothing for a while. And we’re here to tell you that whatever you want from your post-nuptial getaway, New Zealand is the best place to find it! Continue reading

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Visiting New Zealand in March

The view over New Zealand's coastline in Autumn

March marks the arrival of autumn on the beautiful islands of New Zealand. The attractions are less crowded, the prices are often lower, and the deciduous trees introduced across the country start to change colour adding more drama and beauty to an already stunning landscape. In short, it’s a great month to visit!
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Prince Harry and Meghan in New Zealand

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Harry and Meghan – enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of Australia (attending the Invictus Games), the Pacific islands and New Zealand at the end of October 2018. On landing, they were welcomed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was just back from maternity leave, having given birth to her first child in June, so the Royal baby announcement gave them all plenty to talk about.

The Ceremony of welcome for Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House. October 28, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. Source: Office of the Governor-General. Photo by Mark Tantrum/marktantrum.com

What was Harry and Meghan’s New Zealand itinerary?

Harry and Meghan flew into Wellington on 28 October 2018. We love Wellington, sometimes called Wellywood thanks to the booming film industry that has developed since Sir Peter Jackson stunned the world with his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Wellington was also described as ‘the coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet readers a few years ago, and in our opinion it is ‘cooler’ than ever. Wellington is also pretty windy, and you’re very likely to experience the weather of all four seasons in one day while you’re exploring.

Soon after arriving, the Royal couple received a traditional Maori greeting (powhiri), and the challenge of a haka, culminating with the hongi, the gentle nose and forehead press – which represents friends exchanging the breath of life. Both Harry and Meghan are old hands at this, having visited New Zealand in the past (separately). They laid a wreath at the war memorial, and celebrated 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand at a banquet.

A day trip to Abel Tasman National Park!

Prince Harry and Meghan also took a quick flight to ‘the top of the South’. To be fair, they were on a tight timescale but we prefer the Interislander ferry because its route through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. During their day trip, the Royal couple took a hike with a ranger to understand the challenge of protecting this pristine wilderness. Abel Tasman National Park is one of our favourite areas and features in ‘Mount Cook Lily’ our small group tour of South Island. The best way to explore the most beautiful bays is by boat and then on foot – in fact there are some settlements that cannot be reached by road.

Then it was on to Auckland where they attended a dinner at the impressive city museum. It’s official name is somewhat forbidding: the Auckland War Memorial Museum, but its collections major on bringing the culture of the Pacific, particularly the Maori people, to life and it does this spectacularly well. It’s also set in a great spot, the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest public park, in Parnell ‘village’.

Harry and Meghan’s final stop on their New Zealand itinerary was Rotorua, where they called in at a Kiwi conservation project at Rainbow Springs Nature Park, and named two of the endangered flightless birds. Then the Royal couple visited the excellent Redwoods Tree Walk where an elevated walkway lets you get up close and personal with these giants which are over 100 years old. It is great fun, especially at night when the trees are lit up, so we recommend it as an evening activity during your time in Rotorua.

What’s the best itinerary for seeing North Island?

The Royal couple would be the first to admit that four days in New Zealand was a scheduling nightmare! We usually suggest at least three weeks to visit this fabulous country. But if you’re on a tight schedule our Koromiko escorted tour of North Island has the perfect balance of must-see cities – Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington – plus the Bay of Islands, the Coromandel Peninsula and Hawke’s Bay to create a really immersive experience.

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See why we rate the Coromandel as having some of the best beaches in the world!

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Where to Go Monster-Hunting Around the World

Consider yourself a bit of an adventure tourist? Love hunting out unique experiences to share with friends and family? Well, have we got some bucket-list items for you…

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Visiting New Zealand in February

View of the mountains from the Lindis Pass in New Zealand

A trip to New Zealand in February falls nicely between Christmas and Easter, giving you the time to relax and enjoy all of the cultural heritage and sights that make NZ a firm favourite among British holidaymakers. Continue reading

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New Zealand Visa Requirements for Holidaymakers

View between plane seats

When travelling to New Zealand, we recommend that you first ensure that you have your passport and Visa in order well before take-off. Whilst New Zealand still proudly flies the Union Jack as part of their flag, you should not assume that a visa will not be required. In certain circumstances, such as travelling due to medical reasons or staying for an extended period, a visa will be necessary. Here we outline the entry requirements for New Zealand. Continue reading

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An Introduction to New Zealand’s Wine Regions

If you’ve the remotest interest in wine, then the chances are that you’ll have sampled some of what New Zealand has to offer. Head down to any supermarket and you’ll find offerings from this island nation stacked alongside those from Spain, France, and Italy. But while most of us can distinguish a Rioja from a Burgundy, British knowledge of New Zealand’s wine-producing regions is often found wanting. Continue reading

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An Introduction to the Milford Sound

If you’re planning a visit to New Zealand, then the chances are that the country’s spectacular scenery is a large part of the appeal. This part of the world is replete with eye-popping mountains, valleys, glaciers, and waterfalls – and there are few better demonstrations of this natural wealth than the Milford Sound.

The Milford Sound is a glacier-carved fjord described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. It’s a popular draw for tourists, offering multiple ways to experience the sights. Why? Let’s take a look… Continue reading

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