New Zealand was closed for too long. Now, one of the world’s greatest travel destinations is open for explorers. Holiday here in 2023, before the big crowds return.
During the pandemic, many of us rethought what we want from a holiday. We’ve seen big trends towards authenticity, unique experiences and private spaces. This is the very definition of New Zealand.
Vineyards, volcanoes, beaches. Middle Earth and staggering beauty on the edge of the world. New Zealand is so special. This is the ultimate adventure destination, even for the not so adventurous and especially for families. It’s number three on our list of hot destinations for 2023.
An Introduction to New Zealand
New Zealand has two main islands.
North Island is defined by long tropical beaches, green volcanic hills, Maori culture and rolling farmland. It’s like a cross between French Polynesia and rural Switzerland.
South Island is visually dramatic, dominated by big snowy mountains, glaciers, fjords and lakes. It’s mostly wilderness, with hardly any people around.
Both islands are packed with unique destinations and experiences, from famous movie locations to taking a helicopter or kayak to a hidden location.
Wherever you are, New Zealand is all about exploring the great outdoors. Nowhere else offers such spectacular adventure so comfortably.
You can hike for 30 minutes or three days, on a golden beach or an icy glacier. On one holiday you can combine a South Pacific beach holiday with Hobbiton, skiing, wine tasting, stargazing and landing a helicopter at a remote forest lodge.
Plan to visit both North and South islands, because their contrasts are central to the overall holiday experience.
New Zealand Offers Many Amazing Places to Stay
New Zealand is not a destination for big resorts and corporate chains. Boutique is not a buzzword here, it’s the norm to stay in an eight-room retreat or small-scale, owner-operated hotel.
Sustainable city hotels, wilderness lodges, private islands, converted farmhouses, beachside retreats…New Zealand has some very unique places to stay and the overall quality matches Europe.
Some of our favourites are the treehouses at Hapuku Lodge, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, and Split Apple Retreat in Abel Tasman National Park. Minaret Station is only accessible by helicopter whereas Eichardft’s Private Hotel delivers Victorian opulence.
Planning a New Zealand Holiday
Prague to Auckland is a two-leg flight via Dubai with Emirates. The layover is convenient for the return flight, although for the outbound flight you might prefer to break the journey with a Dubai layover. Auckland is New Zealand’s key international airport
The easiest way to get around is on Air New Zealand’s superb domestic flight network. Scenic helicopters are a good option as well. This is also a fascinating country for a road trip. Consider combining a short road trip with flights and helicopters to maximise your time and experiences.
You will need at least two weeks. Even with two months you can’t experience it all. Pick a few different bases to combine what New Zealand offers. It may be far away, but no other destination will give you such a diverse holiday experience.
- Northland, which is north of Auckland, is a tropical destination for a Pacific beach holiday; there are some private islands up here as well.
- Rotorua on North Island is the country’s Maori heartbeat; also good for visiting volcanoes, hot springs and Hobbiton.
- North Island’s east coast has some great farmstead accommodation; they are a very traditional yet luxurious experience.
- The north coast of South Island is home to the country’s most famous vineyards, Marlborough, plus the turquoise waters of Abel Tasman.
- Queenstown is an adventure base in the south, for everything from bungee jumping to an overnight fjord cruise.
- With a helicopter you can use Mount Cook as a base to explore New Zealand’s highest mountains and glaciers.
November to March offers the warmest weather and is ideal to see everywhere in the country. You can travel to New Zealand from April to October, but should be more selective about your destinations. Combining Australia with New Zealand is another option.
Will You Explore New Zealand in 2023?
For three years, travelling to the world’s corners has been challenging, if not impossible. New Zealand is now open, without restrictions.
So we expect 2023 to be a big year for New Zealand travel. Will this be the year you finally travel to Middle Earth?