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Where & when to go

in New Zealand

North Island

The North Island is an adventure in itself, filled with wide open spaces, secluded spots and some of the most incredibly scenic driving routes in the world. The Bay of Islands and Ninety Mile Beach are situated here and are a must if you’re travelling on the North Island. Meanwhile, Auckland is a fun and thriving city with an eclectic mix of people and cultures, and the cosmopolitan vibe you’d expect from a large city, whilst Wellington is a calmer and more cultural. The landscapes in New Zealand are extraordinary and visits to the Coromandel Peninsula, Lake Taupo and Rotorua confirm precisely why so many people flock here year after year.

With regards to when to visit, the seasons are essentially the reverse of the UK. When we’re experiencing winter, it’s their summer; our spring is their autumn, and so on. The best months to visit the North Island are from November through to March – during this period, the weather is warm and there are clearer skies. But the New Zealand winter brings you other delights, such as better value hotels, less crowds and skiing. While the weather will be a little wetter during this time, you may be able to enjoy the trip of a lifetime for less.

South Island

The South Island is awash with fantastic locations to visit, from Picton to Stewart Island. You’re quite literally spoiled for choice – everywhere is a must-see destination. You’ll find glaciers on one side at Franz Josef, whales at Kaikoura, towering mountain ranges in the middle and mirrored lakes dotted throughout. This portion of the country offers such incredible diversity that you’ll experience new awe-inspiring vistas at every turn.

As with the North Island, the weather here is the opposite of the UK and the peak time to travel is from November to March. If you travel during April and May you can still experience nice weather but with less tourists. However, in contrast to the North Island which experiences rainy seasons much like those in the UK, it rains far more in the south of New Zealand. June to September are the wettest months so it’s best to be prepared for a rainier season. The South Island is a haven for skiers, with Queenstown being the hub for most ski groups. There are great facilities available, the views are exceptional, and the snow and conditions are great.

Brendan was excellent and his suggestions made it a real holiday to remember! - Glyndwr Ottery

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