The Land of the Long White Cloud is incredibly easy on the eyes. In just one day you can visit monochrome beaches peppered with iron, ancient evergreen forests and opal-hued crater lakes. New Zealand is eternally photo-ready, showing off her good side to the furthest reaches of the North and South Islands. White-capped mountains juxtapose against patchwork farmland in Queenstown's backyard, Otago, while bubbling geysers back onto snaking rivers in geothermal Rotorua.
Sprinkled off the mainland around three hours north of Auckland is the paradisiacal Bay of Islands. Almost 150 islands make up the micro-region, embroidered with hiking trails leading to the water's edge where you can spot penguins, dolphins and whales at play. At the very opposite end of the continent is Fiordland National Park – home to one of New Zealand's most captured landscape, Milford Sound. Here, glassy black waterways are fed by surging waterfalls while low-lying clouds cling onto weathered peaks.
Lining the inner west of the South Island you will find the spectacular Southern Alps and the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, tumbling from alpine altitudes to near sea level. Compact blue ice slides down the mountain, cracking, groaning and growing by the year, feeding icy rivers that will eventually make their way to Tasmania.
Quick facts about the naturally beautiful New Zealand:
- Over 20 per cent of the country is National Park, forest or reserve area, with 34 marine reserves
- There are three World Heritage Listed areas: Tongariro National Park, Te Wahipounamu and the Sub-Antarctic Islands
- Entirely girt by sea, New Zealand has more than 15,000 kilometres of scenic coastline
- Two thirds of the South Island is covered by mountain range
- Around 80 per cent of New Zealand's plant life is native