As the setting for various fantasy movies such as Lord of the Rings, that depict a natural paradise of otherwordly beauty, obviously one of the major draws of New Zealand is the country's phenomenal nature. For those looking for a peaceful break or for an immersion in the great outdoors, New Zealand is the perfect destination.
Auckland is a wonderful jump off point for any New Zealand itinerary. Though this is New Zealand's capital, it is relatively peaceful and underpopulated when compared to other major cities around the globe. Fans of JRR Tolkein will enjoy a day trip out to the fictional Hobbiton filmset and a chance to pose in front of Bilbo Baggins' cute little spherical home while traveling through New Zealand.
For phenomenal geysers and hot springs, head to Rotorua. The main geyser here shoots 98-feet tall bursts of water into the air several times a day and is a fascinating spectacle. The bubbling mudpools that surround it are also unlike anything else.
As a country that has more nature than cities and people, it goes without saying that New Zealand is a wonderful destination for hiking and exploring. Fox Glacier offers one of the most challenging hikes in the country (and arguably the world) and entails ascending a snow-capped glacier with the assistance of a mountain guide. Beginner hikers and those just looking for a pleasant walk through nature will enjoy the trails available at the beautiful coastal track of Abel Tasman National Park, or the desertscapes of Tongariro National Park.
Keep in mind that just like Australia, New Zealand sees different seasons compared to the US and the Northern Hempisphere. New Zealand's spring (September to November) or fall (March to June) are the best times to visit in order to be able to participate in outdoor activities in New Zealand. At these times, temperatures are hot enough to walk around in shorts and tshirts, yet without being unberarably hot that hiking and walking becomes a struggle.
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