- A YEAR ROUND DESTINATION
With clearly defined seasons, there is an activity to partake in all year round. From skiing in winter to mountain biking in summer or taking in the beautiful autumn colours in Arrowtown.
- THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
New Zealand offers a spectacular range of holidays for everyone to enjoy, from the thrill seekers who will take in the adventure the country offers to guests who consider themselves foodies or families who are wanting a different kind of holiday.
- FASCINATING CULTURE
New Zealand’s indigenous people are known as the Māori and are an integral part of Kiwi life adding unique experiences for visitors. The Māori settled in New Zealand more than 1000 years ago from Polynesian origins and today make up 14% of the population, their language, history and traditions are important to New Zealand’s identity. Modern New Zealand blends European, Pacific and Asian culture to create a rich multicultural identity offering a diverse range of food, art, sport, performance and more.
- SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST WINE
New Zealand is home to the southernmost vineyards in the world and produces world-class wine from its 12 wine regions. These southern wine regions benefit from the moderating effects of the oceanic climate with an abundance of sunshine paired with nights cooled by the sea breeze. New Zealand’s wine regions are diverse based on unique soils and climate conditions so joining a wine tour here would be like nothing you’ve encountered before in terms of not only the scenery but also taste.
- DISCOVER UNSPOILT LANDSCAPES
Rock formations, mountains, valleys, fiords, islands, caves, beaches and much more is what you can expect to find in New Zealand, a country with some of the most geographical diversity in the world. Cape Reinga is just one example of an unspoilt landscape sitting at the northern tip of the North Island and is renowned for its dramatic views out to sea and is believed to be the place where people leave the Earth after passing by local tribes.
- ART-DECO NAPIER
Where most places would be left with a path of destruction following an earthquake Napier took an opportunity and rebuilt their town in a glorious 1930’s style following the city’s largest earthquake in 1931. This area is filled with colourful art-deco style combining flowers and fountains with quake-proof buildings and buildings inspired by Egyptian, Mayan and Māori style. Napier is ideal for a walking tour to explore the rich history of the area and to sample some of the local stores, restaurants, cafes and photograph some gems of this 30’s inspired community.
- UNIQUE WILDLIFE
New Zealand is home to only one endemic mammal which is the Short-tailed bat which is barely larger than your thumb. Most species were introduced by European settlers to New Zealand although there are over 170 species of birds founds in New Zealand 80% of which are native to the country. The most popular animal to track down in New Zealand is the flightless Kiwi bird, the unofficial national emblem of New Zealand.
- WORLD-CLASS SPORT
Kiwi’s take their sport very seriously, New Zealand has largely adapted its popular sports from its British colonial heritage with the most common sport being cricket, soccer, basketball and netball. Rugby Union is New Zealand’s most popular sport with their national team the All Blacks representing them in the Rugby World Cup which they won in 2011 and 2015. There is plenty of opportunities to catch a game or two depending on the season in New Zealand and if you’re lucky you’ll even witness the All Blacks perform a Haka – an ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield to intimidate their opponents.
- FRIENDLINESS AND SAFETY
New Zealand is known for being one of the friendliest countries in the world, championing equality, cultural diverseness and the overall laid-back attitudes of New Zealand’s friendly locals.
- AN IDEAL SELF-DRIVE OR ESCORTED TOURING DESTINATION
New Zealand offers visitors an array of touring options with rail, coach and cruise options connecting you between cities and between the North and South Island. Companies like Grand Pacific Tours offer luxury coach tours which means you can sit back in style as you are shown the highlights of the country whilst your knowledgeable guide educates you along the way. On the other hand, if a self-drive is more your style then enjoy full control of where you go and for how long, take the road less travelled to eat local, make spontaneous decisions and see where you end up in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
- STEP INTO A MOVIE SCENE
Enter the Tolkien inspired world of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies in the real filming location of Hobbiton. Explore the props and sets from the films as you hear stories from a knowledgeable guide as you immerse yourself in this fantasy world.
- THE ADVENTURE CAPITAL - QUEENSTOWN
Adventure can mean several things in Queenstown from exhilarating hikes to mountain biking and walking tracks. All year round you can find something to get your adrenaline pumping such as Heli-skiing in winter, white water rafting, diving or parasailing in summer and bungee jumping and sky diving available in any season.
- THE FIRST PLACE TO SEE THE SUNRISE
Did you know that Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island is the first place on earth to witness the sunrise each morning?
- KIWI BIRD
New Zealand is the only place in the world you can find the adorable flightless kiwi bird which has become the unofficial symbol for the country and where the term ‘kiwi’ referring to a New Zealander derived from.
- AORAKI MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK
Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is famed for its natural beauty and dramatic landscapes, it is home to Mount Cook and Tasman Glacier – the tallest mountain and longest glacier in New Zealand. There is plenty to do here from unbeatable hiking trails, fern-filled forests, flightseeing tours and in the warmer months you can kayak the Tasman Terminal Lake to enjoy the serenity of the national park.
Whether you are an intermediate or expert skier/boarder you’ll find Heli-ski operators taking you to new heights as you soar above mountain peaks with spectacular views before riding down the freshest of New Zealand’s powder runs.
- MANUKA HONEY
Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and is sourced from bee’s pollinating the manuka bush which although grows globally it only produces flowers needed for honey in New Zealand. Manuka honey not only tastes great but has proven to have medical benefits including better oral health, aiding wounds, improves digestion and can soothe a sore throat.
- TONGARIRO CROSSING
Tongariro National Park is New Zealand’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. What attracts many to visit this area is what’s commonly referred to as ‘The World’s Best Day Hike’ which is to Tongariro Crossing a 19 km journey where you can expect variations of climate, volcanic activity and changing alpine terrain. Fitness levels can vary for this exciting hike, remember to bring the right shoes, snacks and a can-do attitude as you cross contrasting colours of lakes, craters, lava flows and mountain springs.
- INCREDIBLE WAYS TO TRAVEL
The TranzAlpine train is one of the world’s great train journeys transporting guests over vast plains, ice fed rivers, native beech forest as you traverse the Southern Alps covering 223kms of New Zealand’s South Island. You can also take the Northern Explorer, travelling the whole length of North Island and the Coastal Pacific, taking in the beautiful coastline of the South Island.
- STUNNING FIORDLAND
New Zealand’s Fiordland is something special, offering spectacular and dramatic landscapes that seem almost frozen in time some dating back over 100,000 years. Towering glaciers and mountains protect ancient rainforests and reflect across the peaceful lakes in these fiords, Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful scenes to witness and is the only road accessible sound, stop to witness the unspoilt steep cliffs, dense forest and refreshing sounds of silence as you take in the beauty of this natural wonder.
- DARK SKY GAZING
Recently 4,300 square kilometres of new Zealand’s South Island was recognised as an ‘International Dark Sky Reserve’ which is the largest in the world. Join a stargazing tour or simply explore the Mount Cook region for dark, clear and breathtakingly magical skies above that need to be seen to be believed.
- THE GEOTHERMAL WONDERLAND OF ROTORUA
One of the most surreal places you could visit is Rotorua a geothermal wonderland which has been sculpted over thousands of years with unique volcanic features. Some highlights include the famous Champagne Pool, naturally coloured hot and cold springs, volcanic craters, erupting geysers and mud pools.
- IMPRESSIVE GLACIERS
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are some of New Zealand’s largest and most popular to visit. The glaciers offer a unique sight of ice descending past green forest before sinking into sea level. The best way to capture the beauty of these glaciers is by guided ice walk or a heli-hike.
- LUXURY LODGES
New Zealand is home to some unmatched natural beauty and as such you can find some equally impressive luxury lodges in some of the most spectacular regions of the country. One lodge worth exploring is The farm at Cape Kidnappers on the North Island which is set across 6,000 acres of dramatic coastline with first class facilities in spacious cottages each with panoramic ocean views. On the South Island the Bay of Coves set in the heart of Marlborough Sounds offers rolling landscapes of untouched native bush that kiss the shoreline below. It’s easy to find peace, tranquillity and world-class cuisine in these incredible unique stays in New Zealand.
- OUR TEAM HAVE BEEN
First Class Holidays team of destination experts take their passion for travel seriously and as such have made their own lasting memories in the land of the long white cloud. With years of experience expect plenty of handy tips from our team like Rupert who recently had the trip of a lifetime, read more here.