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The South Island town of Wanaka appeals to both adventure lovers and relaxation-minded travellers. Situated on the crystal-clear waters of New Zealand's fourth-largest lake, just a short drive from Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is an ideal spot to go fishing, hiking, skiing, wine-tasting or golfing. The city also hosts Warbirds Over Wanaka, the largest three-day air show in the Southern Hemisphere.
A gateway to Fjordland National Park, the quaint and peaceful township of Te Anau is nestled on the edge of a lake of the same name—the perfect site for jetboating or fishing. Embark on one of many day-long or multi-day hiking or walking tracks, then return to town to restore your body with a soak or massage at a spa and a delicious café meal. Nature lovers will marvel at the Te Anau glowworm caves, the Wildlife Park and Ivon Wilson Park, where rare Takahe birds flutter freely.
Hailed by Rudyard Kipling as "the eighth wonder of the world," the breathtaking Milford Sound is the star of glacier-carved Fiordland National Park, providing an emerald-green and waterfall-rich backdrop for hiking, biking and kayaking. Frequent downpours only enhance this South Island beauty, sending numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. Passionate nature lovers book in advance to hike the 33-mile Milford Track, a legendary route through alpine passes and temperate rainforest.
The lush parks and golden beaches of Tauranga make it a popular destination for outdoorsy folks and watersports lovers. Here on New Zealand’s North Island, you’ll find a variety of opportunities for surfing, white water rafting, kiteboarding, hiking and golfing. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming holes by Kaiate Falls, which cascade beautifully over the bluffs. Families might like to visit one of Tauranga’s amusement park, take a guided nature tour or swim with dolphins in the Bay of Plenty.
European, Polynesian, Asian and strong Maori heritages give the Auckland its distinctive culture. Discover the history of the world's largest Polynesian city through Maori treasures at Auckland Museum and experience the lives of 19th-century settlers at Howick Historical Village. Find Polynesian handicrafts at Otara Market or people-watch in bustling Ponsonby and Parnell. Adventure junkies can get their fix from kayaking, sailing and high-octane bungee jumping.