Always the favourite country of tourists, New Zealand is often said to be the secret paradise of the world. Quietly tucked away in a corner, this island nation perhaps escapes the attention of some travellers, but as anyone who has ever set sight upon its shores would tell you, it would stay with you forever.
There are countless reasons to visit New Zealand, but the most important one is the simplest one: it is beautiful. Readers familiar with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings franchises would need no introduction to its majestic, awe-inspiring, truly picturesque scenery. The climate is very pleasant most of the year. It’s ranked as the no. 1 Community on OECD Better Life Index and no. 2 on Social Support by the World Happiness report. The result is that it’s one of the most hospitable, tranquil and beautiful places on this earth, not just to travel, but even more so to live in. As if this were not enough, its global contribution to Science and Technology is 6th highest according to The Good Country Index, and is 3rd highest in Sustainability according to the Fragile States Index. No wonder, it is often viewed as a template for a futuristic, sustainable world.
As a tourist destination, except perhaps for historical museums (who’s going to miss those anyway, eh? :D); New Zealand has anything and everything to offer. Auckland is one of the most beautiful, geographically unique and diverse, and socio-economically advanced cities of the world. Lying on an isthmus connecting the northern and southern parts of the North Island, the city is, at its nucleus, a world class hub of modern lifestyle, known for its shopping, art galleries, restaurants and bars. Towards the peripheries are beautiful beaches, wine regions, resplendent rainforests, the glorious Harauki Gulf and not least the Waiheke Island, which ranks amongst the top ten tourist destinations of the world. Just a half-hour ferry ride away from the city, this island is a world apart.
Wellington is a capital city well worth the title. Rather compact, but bursting with life, it flaunts gorgeous Victorian architecture on a backdrop of scenery comprising of rugged shorelines, harbours and hill-top views. It’s notable for its botanical gardens, the night food market, and boasts some of the best pubs and bars.
It should hardly come as a surprise that New Zealand has some of the best beaches of the world. Perhaps the most popular is the Ninety-Mile(actually, 55 miles long) beach that stretches along the north-west coast of the north island. Then, there is the black-sand beach of Auckland, the iconic Kiwi beach of Hahei, the beach of Manu Bay (most famous for surfing) and many, many others.
If you’re an adventure and sports enthusiast, Queenstown in the place to go. Known as the adventure capital of the world, it boasts some of the world’s more blood-curling, adrenalin-rush sports and scenery. Whether it is skiing, sky-diving, or the world’s biggest swing (it is really big), there are enough adventures, many of which you’ve probably never heard of, to thrill yourself to your heart’s content.
For the foodies, Central Otago is world-famous. Beautiful vineyards and restaurants that serve the best of the New-Zealand food right in the middle of majestic natural scenery is a staggering assault on the senses, enough to leave one awestruck. Otago is also quite famous for its Farmers’ market, known for its authentic organic foods.
All things considered, while New Zealand may not have an iconic Eiffel Tower or a legendary Statue of Liberty; what it does offer is a once in a lifetime experience truly unlike anywhere else in the world. Not for nothing, it’s known as God’s own country.