Best for travel in New Zealand
To many, New Zealand is the nation of the world's best rugby team, the All Blacks, but it is actually much more than that! Considered the land of the Maori people, this Oceania country, lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a population of nearly 4.9 million and attracts more and more nature lovers every year.
New Zealand, or Aotearoa in māori, is divided into two main islands. The North Island, the most populated, is home to subtropical forests, green hills, volcanoes and the country's capital, Wellington. While the wilder South Island is characterized by its endless mountain ranges and wide open spaces.
THE TOP 10 CITIES YOU HAVE TO DISCOVER
Auckland is by far the largest city in the country with almost 1.5 million inhabitants. It is located in the North of the North Island. It was, for a few years, the capital of New Zealand before leaving this title to Wellington, offering a more central position. Auckland is nicknamed the city of sails because of its large number of boats. Auckland is the city where the number of boats per capita is the highest in the world! The city is located on no less than 50 volcanoes, some of which are still active.
Auckland is the main point of entry to the country, the city has the largest airport. Auckland is the economic heart of the country with the establishment of a large number of international companies. It is in this city that the famous Mount Eden is located, but also the Eden park, the emblematic stadium of the All Blacks or the Sky Tower, the highest tower in the southern hemisphere.
Despite its 200,000 inhabitants, Wellington is far from being the largest city in the country, but it is the capital. It is its central position, at the southern tip of the North Island that was highlighted in the choice of the capital of New Zealand.
The city is nicknamed “Wind Welly” because of the almost omnipresent wind in the city. The city is bordered by the Cook Strait and is the starting point for ferries to the South Island. Wellington is home to the largest museum in New Zealand, the Te Papa Museum, a veritable gold mine of information on the history of the country but also its fauna and flora.
Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand and the largest on the South Island. The city has the second largest airport in the country and is the entry point for tourists coming to travel to the South Island.
The city is currently under reconstruction, marked by two terrible earthquakes in September 2010 and February 2011 which destroyed a large part of the city and caused many casualties. Even today many buildings still bear witness to the violence of the earthquakes. The city is being rebuilt little by little and shows a very attractive face with the presence of many parks.
Dunedin is one of the main cities of the South Island. It is a student city, very lively where it is good to live. It has many places of interest such as its train station, Octagon Square, or its famous “Baldwin Street” the steepest street in the world. Not far from the city is the Otago Peninsula, a peaceful haven where many species of animals such as sea lions and a colony of Albatross have found refuge.
New Plymouth is the main city of the Taranaki region. This city is located between the Taranaki volcano and the Tasman Sea on the west coast of the North Island. The city is known for its festivals, the WOMAD, but also the TSB Festival of Lights, a festival of lights that takes place every day during the summer in the city’s main park. Not to be missed!
Rotorua is certainly one of the most touristic cities of the North Island. Indeed the city is an obligatory part of any stay on the North Island of New Zealand. Its Maori history with its numerous villages, its lake and especially its geothermal parks have made its fame. The activities in and around Rotorua are numerous: water sports on its lake, tobogganing and gondola or swimming in a warm water river.
Queenstown is certainly the most touristic city of New Zealand, nicknamed “World Capital of Adventure”. Queenstown is full of all kinds of activities such as many water sports to practice on Lake Wakatipu, or jumping, bungee jumping or parachuting, skiing in one of the 4 resorts located not far from the city.
Until recently, the town of Whanganui suffered from a rather bad reputation. Today many things have changed and the town has become one of the most important cities for art and culture. This is reflected in the city museum and the many art galleries such as the New Zealand Glassworks Gallery. It is a city worth discovering. Don’t forget to take a short ride to Durie Hill, using one of the oldest elevators in New Zealand.
Napier is a very special city that I particularly appreciate. This city, devastated by an earthquake in 1931, was almost entirely rebuilt in the 1930s, in the art-deco style of the time. Many buildings in the city center testify to this reconstruction. The city’s prison, now converted into a youth hostel, is one of the few buildings that withstood the earthquake. The city is also home to the New Zealand National Aquarium.
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