PHOTO: There are many sides to New Zealand, from stunning metropolises to rural mountain ranges. (photo by Janeen Christoff)
Americans are more likely to travel to Australia than New Zealand, but USA Today makes the argument for why New Zealand could be one of the best destinations for a vacation.
“New Zealand just doesn’t seem to register on America’s travel radar the way its bigger, bolder neighbor, Australia, does, which is a shame because New Zealand is the perfect place to spend spring break or any vacation,” writes Matthew Wilson.
Case in point for Wilson is Auckland.
“Auckland is an urban sprawl surrounded by green rolling hills and dairy farms. The city most visitors will enter New Zealand by, Auckland is both bustling and quaint at once. At eight o’clock at night, it can feel as if you are walking alone except for the occasional sound of cars revving down the road,” he says.
And then, there’s Waiheke Island, where you can have a luxury wine-tasting experience with a private driver.
“The rain clouds seem to part when they enter Waiheke airspace. If you’re lucky, and you may very well not be, you can have an old British gentleman drive you around the island’s vineyards as you have a smashing time sampling $135 wine,” Wilson shares.
Two hours south of Auckland by car is Hobbiton, the set of for the Shire in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies, preserved in all of its glory.
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“Tourists pose in front of hobbit huts reliving scenes from the movie as the tour guide discusses how the sets were built. Take away the crowd of people gathered on the narrow paths and for a moment, it feels like you’re a world away. For a moment, you can almost believe in fairies and wizards,” says Wilson.
This only tackles the North Island. There is much more on the South Island, which you can read about here.