For those of us who shivered through winter in the northern hemisphere, a vacation south of the equator is tempting indeed. The islands of New Zealand are guaranteed to warm your heart as well as your toes.
Located on the North Island, New Zealand’s largest city has much to offer. Discover centuries of Maori and Pacific Island history and culture at Auckland’s museums and cultural centers. Admire traditional carvings, sculpture, and art at its many galleries. Ride to the top of Skytower, New Zealand’s tallest man-made structure, and treat yourself to a spectacular 360° view stretching 50 miles. Dine at one of the tower’s 20 restaurants and bars, or hit the R20 casino, where you will find over 1700 gaming machines and tables. If you are a wine lover, Auckland is for you. It offers a wide variety of wine and artisan food tasting tours.
The country’s second largest city is located on the South Island. Heavily damaged by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Christchurch has been rebuilt and reinvented. Here you can browse a charming farmers’ market bursting with fresh local produce, stroll through one of the city’s many botanical gardens or partake of its active but relaxing night life. If you are looking for adventure, you will find skiing, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, surfing, swimming, and bungee jumping all within two hours of the city. (In fact, modern bungee jumping originated in New Zealand.)
Your inner geologist will love WhiteIsland, one of the most accessible active volcanoes in the world. Take a helicopter or luxury cruise and guided tour to the island 30 miles off the North Island coast. With minimum physical effort, you can explore the inner crater, getting closer than you ever imagined to hot volcanic streams, roaring steam vents, bubbling mud pits, and a lake of acid. Visit the remains of the sulphur mine that was abandoned in the 1930’s. Do some bird watching or – if you take the cruise ship – do some whale and dolphin watching. (The friendly animals often follow the ship.)
This archipelago of 11 islands is located 500 miles east of Christchurch and is a must-see for nature lovers. Uninhabited, except for Chatham and Pitt, the islands are home to forests, sand dunes, rocky coasts, sandy beaches, volcanic peaks and peat bogs. Scenic conservation reserves offer views of rare birds such as black robins, Forbes’ parakeets, and ChathamIsland mollymawks; the New Zealand fur seal colony; and nearly 400 varieties of indigenous flowering plants and ferns. The islands are renowned for their hunting and fishing opportunities. Tailored trips and guided tours are available.
If you are a Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit fan, you cannot possibly visit New Zealand without making nostalgic stops at some of the sites used in these epic films. Visit Wellington, where the Weta Cave mini-museum showcases the props and characters made famous in the two trilogies. Take a guided tour of Hamilton-Waikato (The Shire), see Manaotaki Valley, Waitamo Caves, Queenstown and experience majestic Mt.Olympus first hand.
Accommodations in New Zealand range from upscale hotels to lodges, guest houses, and farmstays. No matter your destination or choice of activities, ecbc has the right travel bag for you. Each carry-all featuring our unique FastPass® system will allow you to go through TSA without unpacking your electronics. Portable Power Packs are included with rolling carry-ons, and can be purchased separately with other bag styles. These small, convenient batteries will recharge your electronics on-the-go so you won’t miss recording a minute of your visit to warm and multi-faceted New Zealand.