Whether you're an adrenaline junkie keen on seeking out adventure or someone who's looking to soak up the sun in stunning surroundings, #New Zealand's got something for every intrepid traveller. Situated roughly 900 miles East of Australia across the Tasman Sea and with a total population of only 4.5 million (over four million less than London), you find yourself sometimes interacting more with the local sheep than the local residence, which wouldn't be difficult as there is an estimated ratio of 16 sheep to one person.
The fact that NZ offers opposite seasons to the UK/US is very alluring to those wanting to dodge the dreary winter months in favour of basking in some summer sun. It's become more and more of a popular backpackers destination due to its famed reputation of extreme sports, but those on a budget shouldn't be put off as there's an infinite array of hikes and explorations where the only cost is your stamina and thirst for adventure.
It's still very much an up-and-coming #Country, even in terms of the music and fashion industry. Here are some gems from the North Island.
Famous for it's hot pools the distinct sulphur smell is never far away. Lake Rotorua is vast and tempting but swimming there is a no-go due to it being an unsafe algae breeding ground.Whakarewarewa, The Living Māori Village is a tourist hotspot, where their geothermal existence continues to amaze visitors. The people of Tuhourangi/Ngati Wahiao have been the trailblazers of the tourism industry in Rotorua and NZ.
Lake Taupo is even more inviting and swimming there is permitted. A two-hour round trip hike will take you to the Huka Falls, an 11-metre high waterfall which is apparently the most visited and photographed natural attraction in New Zealand.
The hike is along a tranquil riverside track where you can take in the falls along different viewing platforms and relax in a hot pool on your return. Those who are thrill seekers can also bungee, ride the shot-over jet and skydive locally.
Taupo's lesser known cousin town located 40mins south is a popular base for those wishing to hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing. The town is nestled on the banks of the Tongariro River which is famous for its rainbow trout fishing.
The country's capital is often nicknamed "windy Wellington" due to the geography surrounding Cook's Strait, which creates a funnel effect on the prevailing westerly airstream. It's got a laid-back, quirky vibe Brits can equate to Bristol, with fun bars offering cheap $10 beer pitchers and $2 taco Tuesday's. Worth mentioning is Mount Victoria lookout point for an aerial view of the city, and the Te Papa museum which is truly remarkable and completely free ( a rarity in NZ).