In August, I wrote about the amazing land down under called Australia. If you are going as far as Australia, you need to also spend some well rewarded time in New Zealand. You will enjoy the beauty, the people and the Māori customs.
New Zealand is in the South Pacific, about a three-hour flight southeast of Sydney, Australia. There are non-stop flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco to its largest city, Auckland. New Zealand has two major islands known as the North and South Islands. Just like Australia, the seasons in New Zealand are the opposite of our seasons. Their summer is December through February. November and March are good times to visit but could be a little chilly on the South Island.
New Zealand was originally settled by Polynesians in about AD 1250 and that is where the Maori culture came from. In the 1800s the Maori people were nearly wiped out by invasions, slavery and European diseases. In 1861 there were only 101 pure Maoris left. The Maoris still have a profound influence on New Zealand and they provide this wonderful culture. New Zealand is about 900 miles long and 250 miles wide at its widest spot. Forests originally covered 80 percent of the islands but that has been reduced to only 23 percent. Some of the original species of animals like the Kiwi birds had no predators and they eventually became flightless. The Kiwis were nearly wiped out when the Europeans brought other animals with them.
The South Island is known for its incredible scenery including the spectacular Milford Sound with nearby Mount Cook. Queenstown is known as the adventure capital with unlimited outdoor sports and activities such as kayaking, hiking and if you are really adventurous — bungee jumping. The South island is famous for its skiing in their winter (June-August) but I really recommend going during the summer.
Auckland is on the North Island, the islands are separated by about 14 miles and you can take a ferry to pass between them. The North Island has some beautiful beaches including some black sand beaches. It is also very beautiful due to its rich volcanic soils. The Taupo volcanic area is very active and is similar to Yellowstone in a lot of ways. The animals in New Zealand are amazing including the largest concentration of whales and dolphins in the world. There are more penguin species in New Zealand than anywhere else and many beautiful birds. The animal that New Zealand is most famous for is sheep and there are actually more sheep there than people.
New Zealand is a spectacular country with so much to offer. You can take tours of the country or many people love to do a cruise that starts in Auckland, visits six or seven areas of New Zealand and then heads to Australia. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable adventure exploring New Zealand.
Travel tip: The dates for the closure of the Saint George Regional airport have changed to May 29-Sept. 25. Try flying out of Cedar City or Las Vegas during that time.
Travel deals: Do not wait any longer to book your Spring Break vacations. If you wait, you will pay more and many options will be sold out! Great prices on river cruises in Europe for next summer if you buy now.
Gary Sorensen is a vice president at Morris Murdock Travel. For all of your travel plans contact Morris Murdock Travel at 595 S. Bluff St. in St George; 628-3633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read or Share this story: https://www.thespectrum.com/story/travel/2018/10/07/gary-travel-tips-new-zealand-other-land-down-under/1545020002/