Auckland skyline in New Zealand

New Zealand isn’t just for backpackers

Hitchhiking around New Zealand and trying to relive scenes from Lord of the Rings may seem like the perfect holiday for some. But what if you like hot showers, excellent food and sumptuous sleeping arrangements? The good news is you don’t have to scratch New Zealand off your list.

New Zealand has more to offer than roughing it, and we’re here to help you to enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful countries in style.

Getting Around New Zealand

New Zealand Coastal Highway

Forget long distance buses. New Zealand is the land of the road trip, and renting a car can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience it.

Take a trip from the north island to the south island (with a ferry in between) and watch the landscape shift dramatically from beautiful beaches, and volcanic mountains, to windswept plains, glaciers and snow-capped peaks. Or simply rent a car to do short trips into the nearby countryside from wherever you’re staying.

Sleeping

Skyline of Auckland in New Zealand

With so much natural beauty to take in, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about urban life in New Zealand, which is contemporary and energetic. Nowhere is this more evident than Auckland, where skyscrapers rise up from beautiful beaches and sparkling ocean. View it all from a luxurious suite in the Sofitel Auckland.

If the city gets too much, get in your car and head to Solitaire Lodge, a leisurely three hour drive from Auckland, to experience the awe-inspiring Lake Tarawera in one of the world’s best boutique hotels.

New Zealand is also one of the greenest countries on earth, with numerous, thoughtful eco-lodges. However, the south island does it best with Hapaku Lodge, which offers 360 degree views from handcrafted, sustainably-built treehouses.

Eating and Drinking

Vineyard in New Zealand

New Zealand is in the midst of a culinary renaissance. A new generation is celebrating their country’s gloriously fresh, local produce.

Taste award-winning, cool-climate wines on the south island and immerse yourself in what looks to be wine’s next big thing. Try the sauvignon blanc from Cloudy Bay, or sample the pinot noir from Delta in Marlborough.

For delicate food in an unpretentious setting, visit Grove in Auckland. And if you’re in the market for the pinnacle of New Zealand’s fine dining scene, look no further than

The French Cafe, voted the best restaurant in the country in 2016.

Things to Do

Matiatia Bay Waiheke Island New Zealand

New Zealand, after all, is a place of adventure and excitement. Add some exploration to your holiday by taking one of the many cruises out of Auckland to The Bay of Islands and bask in the sublime beauty of New Zealand’s ocean landscapes.

While you’re on the water, New Zealand is teeming with marine life, so seize the opportunity to tangle with world-class marlin, kingfish and snapper.

For serious thrill seekers, the appeal of New Zealand is its status as one of the originators of modern bungee jumping. Start at Karawau Bridge, the first commercial bungee in the world, and build up courage for The Nevis, a 143m jump from a cabin shakily suspended in mid-air by nothing but cables.

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Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.