New Zealand

Get ready for mammoth national parks, dynamic Māori culture, and world-class surfing and skiing. Across New Zealand, you can find everything from an untamed wilderness to a rich culture. Find inspiration in towering mountains and mist-cloaked fjords. Serenity in golden beaches curled around quiet bays. New friends in small towns with big doses of laid-back charm. New Zealand can be mellow or action-packed, but it's always epic.

Culture & History

Across NZ you can hear the Māori language, watch Māori TV, join in a hāngi (Māori feast) or catch a cultural performance with song, dance, and a blood-curdling haka (war dance). Māori design continues to find expression in tā moko, Māori tattooing (often applied to the face), and the delicate artistry of bone, shell, and pounamu (greenstone) sculpture. New Zealand’s original inhabitants, the Māori, still play an important role in the country’s culture today.

New Zealand’s culture has also been heavily influenced by the Europeans, especially the British, who make up 69 percent of the country’s residents. The colonialists greatly influenced New Zealand culture and in the early 19th century suppressed much of it. It has only been in the last decade or so that Māori traditions and language have been recognized and are being brought back to the forefront.


British-influenced classics like fish and chips aren’t going anywhere, but NZ gastronomy has come a long way. Chefs in Auckland, Wellington, and Napier borrow influences from as far afield as South Pacific islands and Western Europe for creative takes on locally sourced lamb and seafood like abalone, oysters, and scallops. Meanwhile, the vegetarian and vegan food scenes grow evermore prominent and inventive. Wash it all down with coffee culture, an edgy craft-beer scene, and legendary cool-climate wines (like sublime sauvignon blanc and pinot noir).

A traditional Māori hangi is a year-round outdoor culinary experience that’s often prepared for large gatherings. Cooked in an underground pit filled with hot stones, a hangi feast typically includes kumara / sweet potato, pumpkin, chicken, pork, lamb, and seafood.

For food that has a distinctly Kiwi flavor, the foodie’s choice includes lamb, cervena / venison, salmon, crayfish/lobster, many species of fish and shellfish such as Bluff oysters, paua/abalone, mussels, scallops, pipis, and tuatua (New Zealand shellfish), kumara / sweet potato, kiwifruit, tamarillo, feijoa, and manuka honey.

Urban Experience

New Zealand is a neat and organized place: buses and trains generally run on time, main roads are in good nick, ATMs proliferate, and hotels are usually good. This decent nation is a place where you can relax and fully enjoy your travels.

New Zealand may be a young country, but the diverse wealth of Maori culture, performing arts, literature, museums, and art galleries will leave even the most fervent arts and culture buffs completely satisfied.

The Sky Tower in Auckland makes it easy to enjoy huge views of the city’s volcanic cones, island-studded gulf, and forested ranges. The Wellington Cable Car also takes you up to some breathtaking long-range views.

Also, this island nation erupts with joy, music, and adventure. New Zealand nightlife is a wonderful collage of moments spent partying in happening discotheques, relishing dinner at 328 m into the sky, walking a quiet bridge, or bungee jumping into the void in Christchurch. Cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch have plenty of places that make the city a perfect den for party people.

Outdoors & Adventure

There are just 4.8 million New Zealanders, scattered across 268,021 sq km. Filling in the gaps, are the sublime forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, and fiords that have made this nation one of the best hiking destinations on the planet. Tackle one of the epic 'Great Walks' – you might've heard of the Heaphy and Milford Tracks – or spend a few hours wandering along a beach, paddling a canoe, or mountain biking through some easily accessible wilderness.

Embrace the excitement and soak in the views as you tandem skydive at  Wanaka, Queenstown, Lake Taupo, Auckland, and Bay of Plenty; take a leap of faith on a bungee at the original Kawarau Bungy site or New Zealand's highest at the top of the Nevis (both in Queenstown). From the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world (7m) in Rotorua to rivers where rapids range from a gentle grade 1 to an extreme grade 5, New Zealand has it all.

Featuring some of the most challenging and spectacular caving systems in the world, New Zealand is top of the list for spelunkers (cavers). Walk or float (black-water rafting as it is referred to) through the spectacular Waitomo Caves or enjoy guided underground adventures in Nelson (home to the southern hemisphere’s deepest sinkhole).