Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, means ‘The land of the long white cloud’.
This British Commonwealth member is widely known for its clear skies, pristine beaches, mountain adventures, sheep, waterfalls and intoxicating wines.
Fondly referred to as Middle Earth by Lord of The Rings enthusiasts, NZ can be divided into two parts – the north and the south islands, separated by the Cook Strait.
The North Island
The more populated of the two, the North Island has a very diverse, modern culture compared to the South.
Cities like Auckland & Wellington bring out an alternative progressive culture where you can indulge in art, theater, museums and libraries.
In Gisbrone, ski down snowy mountains or take a 30 minute drive to sandy beaches to ride some breakers and then indulge in live music at fun filled beach festivals.
Escape the summer in India by checking out the June winters in the southern hemisphere. And with easy accommodation even in the smallest of towns, there”s a place to rest any head, irrespective of your budget.
The Sky Tower in Auckland is the tallest freestanding structure in the southern hemisphere at 328m. Get a panoramic view of the volcanic islands that dot this metropolitan city. Treat yourself at the revolving restaurant, a casino, a hotel and a glass floor viewing box at the tower that lets you base jump from the top.
Skydive inTaupo and free fall at 200kmph from 15000 ft. over New Zealand’s highest and most volcanic peak Mt Ruapehu. End your dive with a cold dark beer at Mulligan’s, the Irish pub on the Main Street and soak in a sunset by the lake.
Rotorua, a town situated on mild volcanic activity is famous for its natural therapeutic mineral pools. So pamper yourself and enjoy natural warm water springs and mud baths or experience native Maori culture and war dance – the Haka.
Apart from these places, every little town or village in the north island has lots of outdoor activities to choose from. The best suggestion – hire a car and explore on your own terms.
Imagine sitting outdoors by a sun kissed lake sipping on a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc eating short bread with smoked cheese.
Or think about biting into a hot Sheppard’s pie and sausages with a perfectly brewed beer on a cold starry night.
New Zealand is not really about specialist cuisine but a whole variety of ethnic foods from all over the world. So forget about those diet plans and bite in. Kiwis love their beer and wine. Go on wine trails and taste some of the best wine in the world. Here”s a toast to a great vacation down under.
Sheep outnumber people in New Zealand. So go all out and buy some of the finest woolens in the world here. CCC of New Zealand is a very well respected sportswear brand that clothes most of the sportsmen on the field that originates here.
When here make sure you grab music from bands like Katchafire, Salmonella Dub, The Feelers, Op Shop or classics like OMC and Crowded House. Or don”t miss out on a rugby league game if you get the chance.
So with Auckland and Wellington just two flights away from Hyderabad with daily connections through Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, this trip is a hop and a skip away.
Read more about New Zealand in next week”s South Island review.
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