New Zealand is a fantastic holiday destination, with only one drawback - getting there from North America or Europe takes absolutely ages. Often you'll find many people visit as part of a longer trip, and make the short hop from Australia.

However, the big plus is that the country's perceived inaccessibility tends to mean that visitors to NZ are here for more than just a couple of days, and consequently get to see a lot of this fascinatingly varied country.

The three main cities have utterly different atmospheres and characters; don't assume that if you've seen one you've seen them all. Christchurch is cultured and retains its colonial charm whereas Wellington has all the attractions of a capital and is packed with parks, theatres and restaurants. Finally Auckland is the lively "big city" of New Zealand (although international visitors will find it a lot more laid back than its reputation implies).

The same goes for the abundant rural areas: there's more variety than you'll first expect, and sometimes you have to look a little closer to see what's really happening.

What might at first appear to be a typical European wooded hillside may turn out to be unique temperate rain forest, all ferns, evergreens and flightless birds, clinging to the side of an active volcano!

At this size Ayers Rock is undoubtedly the heavyweight attraction here but the surrounding landscape has something spectacular to offer the sightseer in every direction. The spellbinding Olgas (Kata Tjuta), King's Canyon (Watarrka) and Palm Valley all lie in the vicinity. So don't think you will be heading into the Red Centre simply to see Uluru. There's plenty more to keep you occupied here.

A Kiwi education at Te Papa
Tropical paradise: The Bay of Islands
Lake Taupo
The Art Deco cities: Napier and Hastings
Winter sports
Discover unique flora and fauna
A Day On A Marae
Extreme holidays: Queenstown
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