New Zealand

New Zealand map

This country about 1,000 miles southeast of Australia packs a world of scenery into two islands roughly the size of Ohio and Illinois. There are dramatic sea cliffs, sandy beaches, rolling grasslands full of sheep and cattle, snow-covered peaks to rival the Alps, glacial valleys filled with blue lakes, fjords where boats glide on narrow waterways past steep 4,000-foot mountains, fantastical geothermal landscapes, perfect cone-shaped volcanoes, and forests that are home to birds and other wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. New Zealand also has first-rate museums about nature, history, and culture; good food and wine; and friendly people who like to enjoy life and don’t take themselves too seriously.

When we visited

March to May 2023

Major stops

Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Oamaru, Dunedin, Otago Peninsula, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound, Queenstown, Aoraki/Mount Cook Village, Wanaka, Haast, Franz Josef, Hokitika, Westport, Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, Otorohanga, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Kapiti Coast, Wellington

Memorable Moment

For Chris, being greeted by a joyous gay pride festival in Christchurch during our first hours in New Zealand. For Melissa, kneeling on the deck of a ship 20 feet from the base of a waterfall thundering down a mountain into the sea and being drenched in spray as she tried to figure out how to photograph it.

Did you know?

Humans only reached New Zealand about 800 to 900 years ago, when the first Polynesian Maori seafarers settled here.

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