Dining

5 Reasons to Make This the Year You Go to New Zealand

Untouched beauty, world-class wine, outdoor adventures and more
Photo: Beerpixs/Getty Images

Few places in the world remain as natural as the islands of New Zealand. The country has something for everyone—adventure, beaches, wine, nature—making it here the place to be. Here are five reasons why this should be the year you cross New Zealand off your travel bucket list.

World-Class Wines

New Zealand is a stand-out Sauvignon Blanc destination. But the country's viticultural scene goes much deeper, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay also making waves. For Pinot, look to Central Otago; for Chard, head to Marlborough, Hawke's Bay or Gisborne. And be sure to pop a bottle of the country's signature Methode Marlborough sparkling along the way.

 

Ease of Travel

 
 
 
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Going between the North and South islands is as simple as booking a ferry ride or inexpensive flight. Certain routes within the country don't even require a security check. Plus, 1 USD is equivalent to 1.5 NZD, making the exchange rate favorable for American travelers.

Breathtaking Scenery

There's a reason why The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and plenty of other movies feature New Zealand as their backdrop. The country is made up of two main islands, simply referred to as North and South, dotted by a smattering of smaller ones around their perimeters. You'll find crystalline lakes, turquoise-tinged beaches, volcanoes, hot springs and lush forests—just to name a few.

 
 
 
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The Māori Culture

New Zealand is unique in that the indigenous culture is not only preserved, but honored, respected and integrated into everyday life. The Māori are thought to have first arrived in New Zealand by means of eastern Polynesia between 1250 and 1300, and the culture makes itself known with linguistic phrases incorporated into street signs, television shows, and spoken language.

Adventure Awaits

The best way to experience New Zealand's natural beauty is by quite literally diving in. From bungee jumping in Queenstown to scuba diving in the Milford Sound, New Zealand presents no shortage on outdoor adventures. Glacier hiking, white water rafting down the Kaituna and paragliding are also solid choices. And for those who simply wish to sit back and soak up some sun, there's a multitude of pristine beaches.

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