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New Zealand - Day Touring & Sightseeing

We feature a variety of day touring and sightseeing options in each location across New Zealand you would like to visit from local attractions and day tours to hiking, cycling, river rafting,sailing, cruising and wildlife viewing experiences. This also includes many opportunities to visit famous Lord of the Rings movie sets. Our most searched and selected day touring and sightseeing options are listed below. You can also refine your search by using the sub region list for more detailed information on each of our preferred sightseeing options in each destination we have on offer. Once you have found the experiences that are just for you, contact one of our destination experts to provide a customised quotation just for you.

Cruise & Kayak Milford Sound

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Experience natural wonders and enjoy excellent, up-close viewing of wildlife on your Milford Sound cruise, where specialist nature guides share lively and informative commentary. Disembark at the Discovery Centre and descend 64 steps to 10 metres beneath the water and view rare black coral and colourful sea creatures such as blue cod and butterfly perch. Gaze through crystal clear waters as you kayak around serene Harrison Cove with a specialist kayak and nature guide in an intimate nature experience before returning to Milford wharf. Lunch options are available.

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Dart River Wilderness Jet & Dart River Funyak

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A Wilderness Jet journey takes you deep into the World Heritage area of Mt Aspiring National Park by exciting wilderness jet-boating on a braided, glacier-fed river. Learn from your guide about the area’s history and the Greenstone trail. Walk amongst the ancient beech forest, unchanged for 80 million years, and view the scenic backgrounds for many Middle Earth movies. Discover New Zealand’s heart.

Dart River’s Funyak day trip is an amazing journey deep into the Mt Aspiring National Park. Get involved with nature. Combine wilderness jet boating with unique ‘Funyak’ inflatable canoes for a fun way to explore the Dart River as well as hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. Stop and enjoy a delicious wilderness buffet lunch before continuing in your ‘Funyak’ downstream to ‘Paradise’. Then travel a back-country route back to Glenorchy. Go with the flow, leave with the memories.

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Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas

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Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas is surrounded by colourful gardens and set on the shore of picturesque Lake Te Anau, a short stroll from the Te Anau town centre. The 112 modern and well-appointed rooms and villas offer stunning lake or garden views. You will taste impressive South Island cuisine in the MacKinnon Room Restaurant and enjoy uninterrupted views of Lake Te Anau from The Explorer Bar and Lakefront Terrace. After a day of sightseeing in Fiordland, guests can relax and unwind in the outdoor heated swimming pool, spa and sauna.

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Dolphin/Sail Adventure Combo

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Don’t compromise – get the best of both trips with this full day Dolphin Sail Adventure Combo.

Join the morning Swim with the Dolphins Cruise and swim with dolphins in their natural habitat from the purpose-built black and yellow catamaran. All equipment is provided.

In the afternoon, jump onboard the legendary yacht Lion New Zealand for lunch and island activities, finishing the day with a sail back to shore, where you can help trim the sails, take the helm, exert energy on the grinders or relax and take in the scenery.

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Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

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Indulge in an overnight cruise in the long southern twilight and savour dinner, bed and breakfast with a difference. From Manapouri, cruise across Lake Manapouri to West Arm before crossing the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland’s most dense rainforest. The overnight vessel, Fiordland Navigator, is purpose-built for cruising Doubtful Sound and features private cabins with ensuite bathrooms. Cruise the fiord, weaving through hidden coves and mystical waterways. Knowledgeable nature guides will share their passion for the region. This fiord is home to Bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and the rare Fiordland Crested and Little Blue penguins. As evening draws near, you’ll drop anchor at a sheltered mooring. Take the opportunity to explore the shoreline by kayak or small boat. In the evening, relax in the saloon and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the chef. Coach transport is available from Te Anau and Queenstown.

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Doubtful Sound Wilderness Day Cruise

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Board a luxury coach in Queenstown and travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Manapouri township. Cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm before boarding a coach and crossing the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland’s most dense rainforest. On reaching Deep Cove, passengers explore the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord on a modern catamaran for a three-hour cruise. On return, the vessel’s engines are turn off and guests are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence’. Keep an eye out for dolphins, fur seals and penguins.

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Harbour Dinner Cruise

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Dine on the Waitemata Harbour, an experience not to be missed in Auckland, the City of Sails.

Enjoy great sailing and as the sun sets and watch the night lights of the cityscape come alive. Your experienced crew talk about Auckland’s unique features and there is plenty of opportunity to participate in the sailing or sit back and enjoy the sights. Soak up the city atmosphere from the peace of the harbour waters. Glide past the city as it lights up and watch the sun set over the inner harbour.

Dinner is served during a sheltered mooring below deck in the well-appointed dining saloon. The menu is supplied by top viaduct restaurant Snapdragon. Complement your meal with our selection of locally produced wine or beer. Cash bar onboard.

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Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

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Discover the real Middle-Earth at the Hobbiton™ Movie Set near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand.

On the most picturesque private farmland you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt for The Hobbit and will remain as it was seen in these films and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

During your tour you will see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films. The Hobbiton Movie set has more than 44 unique hobbit holes, including Bag End (Bilbo’s house). As you wander through the heart of the Shire, you’ll get to hear the fascinating commentary about how it was all created.

Tours leave daily from The Shires Rest™ Cafe, 501 Buckland Rd, Hinuera or Matamata and Rotorua Information Centres.

Alternatively, experience the beauty of Hobbiton Movie Set at dusk with a guided tour through the Shire™. The journey finishes at the Green Dragon™ Inn with an ale and a banquet feast fit for a Hobbit.

After dinner you will be guided by lantern light through the Shire which will be lit up and glowing in the night sky.

Evening dinner tours operate every Wednesday and are limited to 48 people.

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Kaikoura, Whales, Wine, Mountains & Sea

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Depart Christchurch and journey through rural North Canterbury and the Waipara wine region to Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea. Join a whale-watch cruise or flight and experience the magic of seeing magnificent sperm whales and dusky dolphins up close. Enjoy a café lunch, discover the glorious vistas from the Kaikoura Peninsula and view playful New Zealand fur seals. Sample local wines before returning to Christchurch. Your tour includes a whale-watch cruise or flight, lunch, guided walks with informative commentary, picnic teas, wine tastings and transfers.

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Kayak, Seals & Walk Day Trip

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Explore New Zealand’s finest coastal National Park, combining kayaking, cruising & walking with this all-in-one experience near Nelson. An easy two-hour guided kayak trip explores the calm, azure waters of the Kaiteriteri coast, including the famous “Split Apple Rock” granite formation. After lunch, farewell your guide and board the Vista Cruise to travel into the heart of Abel Tasman National Park. Pause to view the antics at Tonga Island Seal Colony, then disembark on the mainland at picturesque Tonga Quarry Beach. Enjoy a two-hour, 4.1 km unguided coastal bush walk over the forested Tonga Saddle, around the stunning Bark Bay waterfalls trail with its new swing bridge highlight, then on to the golden sands of Medlands Beach. Rejoin the Vista Cruise for your return. Tour operates daily October-April. Coach transfers available form Nelson.

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Milford Sound Nature Cruise

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Experience the spray of a waterfall as you cruise close to sheer rock faces or watch out for dolphins, seals and in season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins on this relaxing cruise. The onboard nature guide will share the fiord’s natural beauty with you and outline in detail its flora and fauna. From the comfort of the boat, explore points of interest and view stunning scenery including rainforest and towering peaks. Travel by coach from Te Anau or Queenstown or choose a scenic alpine flight from Queenstown (subject to weather conditions).

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Milford Track Guided Day Walk

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Join this full-day guided walk with a small group and explore the first section of the world-renowned Milford Track. Travel by coach from Te Anau or Queenstown and cruise up to the head of Lake Te Anau. Walk beside the Clinton River from Glade Wharf to Glade House for a leisurely lunch, taking in the magnificent views as you walk further up the valley through forest, grassy flats and wetlands. The gradient is gentle with four to five hours’ easy walking. Arrive at Neale Burn River and admire the spectacular alpine views before returning along the track to Te Anau.

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Mountains High / Alpine Explorer Mt Cook

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Experience this magnificent environment with a high alpine helicopter flight over the Ben Ohau Mountains. Watch as the landscape reveals steep, rugged mountains as you rise above scarred ridges left by ancient glaciers. Rise over a mountain pass that reveals superb views out to Aoraki/Mount Cook and its surrounding peaks. Prepare yourself for an amazing alpine landing where you will be able to play in the snow. Enjoy expansive views down the Tasman Valley on your return to base. Choose from a 30 or 45-minute helicopter flight.

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Mt Nicholas Farm Experience

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Cruise to Mt Nicholas High Country Station on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu and enjoy spectacular views looking up towards Glenorchy, Mt Earnslaw, the Southern Alps as well as the Remarkables mountain range. Disembark and join the farm guide on a walking tour of this truly authentic, remote, working high-country merino sheep station. Watch the farm guide round up sheep, meet working farm animals used on the farm and get up close to merino sheep in the woolshed. Enjoy freshly baked pikelets or pancakes before boarding the vessel for your return cruise to Queenstown.

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Nature and Coast

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Experience a day of fun and entertainment with Kiwi Dundee Adventures. Highlights of the day include a walk along the old tracks of Puketui through Kauri forest dense with fern trees, and observing glowworms in an historic, old gold cave. Lunch is either a picnic or at an attractive café, with a chance to view your guide’s spectacular collection of quartz, obsidian, old photos of the Coromandel and rocks embedded with gold. Journey from mountains to the contrasting coastal scenery, including Hot Water Beach, offshore islands, old Maori Pa sites and magnificent cliffs.

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New Zealand Riverjet

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More than a jet boat ride, this is New Zealand’s only jet boat safari which combines spin-thrilling jet boating on the magnificent Waikato River, with geothermal attractions, flora and fauna, hot pools and Maori culture. Choose from two great trips. The Thermal Safari includes jet boating and exploring Orakei Korako geothermal wonderland with gushing geysers, incredible silica terraces, boiling mud pools and a rare geothermal cave. Or try out the Squeeze which includes jet boating, wading and squeezing through a canyon plus swimming in a waterfall-fed natural hot pool.

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Real Journeys Te Anau Glowworm Caves

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The journey begins with a cruise across Lake Te Anau to Cavern House on the western shores onboard the luxury purpose-built catamaran, Luminosa. An experienced nature guide takes you underground in small groups for exploration by path and small boat into a world of rock formations, fossils, waterfalls, whirlpools and a cathedral cavern with rock walls towering high above. Finally, move beyond the roar of the stream to the magical grotto to discover the luminous shimmer of thousands of glowworms. Take in the glittering display before retracing your steps to Te Anau.

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Rotorua Duck Tours

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Rotorua Duck Tours has been providing amphibious sightseeing and history tours of Rotorua since 2003. With 16 magnificent lakes in the Rotorua region, there is no shortage of places to visit. These unique tours, which depart at regular intervals throughout the day, provide a great introduction to Rotorua, its history and people. View Rotorua’s wondrous lakes region and observe the local flora and fauna as well as the beautiful volcanic domes of Mount Tarawera. The experienced guides provide a wealth of knowledge which ensures that your stay will be a truly memorable one.

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Safari of the Scenes

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With over 25 years’ experience operating small, personalized back-country tours in Queenstown, Nomad Safaris will show you New Zealand as you imagine it to be. Travel by 4WD vehicle into the heart of Middle Earth on a half day Safari of the Scenes. These are authentic adventures, rich in Lord of the Rings’ locations and local history. Enjoy diverse scenery and entertaining stories with a fun and knowledgeable guide. A maximum limit of six passengers per vehicle ensures a personalised experience. Half or full-day tours are available and include photo stops and refreshments.

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Shotover River Heli Rafting

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Your adventure begins with a briefing before being taken to this exciting jet boat ride, the Shotover Jet near Queenstown. Speed through rocky canyons and experience the famous ‘Hamilton 360’ spins. At Cavells Rafting Lodge, change into rafting gear and climb aboard a twin turbine helicopter for a spectacular rollercoaster flight into Skippers Canyon.

Upon landing at Deep Creek, the guide will provide a full safety briefing. Your rafting adventure commences in peaceful waters where it is easy to practice paddling techniques before hearing the roar of the ‘Mother’ section. Your heart will be pumping as you paddle through sections such as ‘Squeeze’, ‘Toilet’ and ‘Pinball’. Arriving at the Oxenbridge Tunnel, raft 172 metres through darkness before splashing out through the last rapid, ‘Cascade’. While no experience is necessary, confidence in the water is required.

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Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua

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Experience the ancient ceremony of welcome before entering the pre-European Maori village nestled within a native Tawa Forest. With bonfires crackling in the background, the village comes alive with sights, sounds and activity of days gone by including tattooing, weaving, carving, traditional games and arts of warrior training. Witness the earth being scraped away from the hangi pit to reveal baskets laden with a mouth-watering feast which has been cooked on hot stones beneath the ground.

Relax in the ancestral meeting house in the heart of the village and witness a powerful and entertaining cultural performance. The sharing of food is an important Maori custom so celebrate as you dine on the traditional hangi feast. This magical evening draws to a close with the poroporoaki closing ceremony with speeches and songs of farewell. Return transfers are included.

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Taste Marlborough Tour

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Discover the world-renowned wines of Marlborough in this full-day tour. Taste Marlborough has been created for visitors who love great wine and who are keen to learn more about the region, the wineries, the wines and the people who make them. Each winery experience has been specially created and privately hosted to ensure an outstanding tasting experience. Tour through a select number of boutique and iconic wineries, including well-known Cloudy Bay. All wineries have been chosen for their history, excellent service and top range of wines. Guaranteed small group departures.

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TSS Earnslaw and Walter Peak Dining Experience

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Enjoy a leisurely return scenic cruise on the 102-year-old, coal-fired steamship TSS Earnslaw from Queenstown Bay to Walter Peak. One of Queenstown’s most iconic experiences, go ashore to get a taste of New Zealand’s farming lifestyle at Walter Peak High Country Farm. Enjoy a BBQ lunch or dinner overlooking the lake and surrounding mountains. A unique dining experience, the menu showcases food and wine from the wider Central Otago region. Chefs prepare a tasty selection of meats on the outdoor grill while fresh, seasonal salads and vegetables are available inside.

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Twin Glacier Helicopter

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This is the perfect opportunity to get up close to the wondrous glaciers of New Zealand’s West Coast and touch snow. You will be captivated as you lift off and fly up and over two of New Zealand’s most famous glaciers and land at the head of either the Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier. View the incredible natural phenomenon of the glacier as it winds slowly down the carved valleys from its origin in the mountains high above you. Flight away time: Approximately 30 minutes (including snow landing).

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Waitomo Caves

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More than 30 million years ago, the legend of Waitomo Caves began with the creation of limestone at the bottom of the ocean. Now these limestone formations stand as one of New Zealand’s most inspiring natural wonders and a must-see destination.

The Waitomo region is home to unforgettable sightseeing attractions. Discover magical glowworms by boat in the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves .

Combine your experience with Ruakuri Cave; see glowworms up close and descend a spectacular spiral entrance. In Aranui Cave be mesmerized by ornate cave decorations. For NZ rafting adventure, get your blood pumping with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company.

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Walter Peak Guided Cycling

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Enjoy a leisurely cycle along a quiet back-country road through tussock high country with beautiful views of the Von River and snow-covered Mount Earnslaw at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Cyclists are accompanied by a van and cycle trailer, enabling them to cycle as much or as little or as they wish. Along the way, learn about surrounding high country stations and Lord of the Rings locations. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Colonel’s Homestead before boarding the TSS Earnslaw for the return cruise to Queenstown. Picnic lunch and hot drinks are included.

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Abel Tasman

Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand's smallest national park - but it's perfectly formed for relaxation and adventure. A coastal paradise that you can walk through or explore by cruise boat, sailing catamaran, water taxi or sea kayak, visitors love the way the Abel Tasman National Park mixes physical exertion with beach life. Bursts of hiking or paddling are punctuated by sun bathing, swimming and sedate snorkeling.

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Auckland

Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and main transport hub. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping.

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Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is a subtropical micro-region known for its stunning beauty & history. For those that love beaches and water activities, it's paradise. A three hour drive or 35 minute flight north of Auckland, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri.

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Christchurch & Canterbury

Christchurch, New Zealand is interwoven by two rivers linking parks, gardens and avenues. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop. Funky Christchurch city and the vast Canterbury region have plenty to keep you busy, whether you're a shopaholic, wild adventurer or history buff.

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Coromandel

The Coromandel, with its pristine beaches, native forests and laid-back vibe, is one of New Zealand’s most popular and best-loved holiday destinations. A binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, the Coromandel is everything that a big city isn’t. Cloaked in native rainforest with dazzling white sand beaches, it is rustic, unspoiled and relaxed.

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Dunedin

Known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand, Dunedin is the country's city of the south, wearing its Scottish heritage with pride. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long, picturesque harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The accommodation is good and plentiful; the nightlife buzzes with funky bars and delicious restaurants and the natural attractions are unique and fascinating.

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Hawkes Bay

Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites. The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it's a popular place for bicycle wine tours.

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Marlborough

Located at the top of the South Island, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine growing region and the home of world-renowned sauvignon blanc. Marlborough enjoys high sunshine hours and a temperate climate so that visitors can experience all of Marlborough’s diversity through the season. No matter what time of year, there is always something going on in Marlborough, New Zealand.

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Nelson

Nelson is a lifestyle; that’s the best way to describe it. Situated at the top north-west of the South Island, it is the sunniest region in New Zealand. Perhaps it’s the sun, perhaps it’s the location, but Nelson, New Zealand, has long been a magnet for creative people. There are more than 350 working artists and craftspeople living in Nelson, traditional, contemporary and Maori. Visit their studios and find a unique piece to take home with you.

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Queenstown

Captivated by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers, it’s rumored that gold prospectors gave this now cosmopolitan town its name. Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges. World famous for its iconic scenery, friendly people, golf courses, wineries and smorgasbord of outdoor activities, you'll never be short of things to do in Queenstown.

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Rotorua

Sitting within the Pacific Rim of Fire, Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland with bubbling mud pools, clouds of steam, and natural hot springs perfect for bathing and relaxing in. After marvelling at the distinctive landscapes and volcanic activity within a geothermal park, enjoy a simple soak in a natural hot stream or indulge in a wellness getaway at a luxurious spa.

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Stewart Island

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island, situated 30 kilometers south of the South Island, across the Foveaux Straight. In the Māori language, it’s known as Rakiura which means ‘the land of glowing skies’. The Aurora Australis which often appears in these southern skies will show inkling why.

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Taupo

Taupo was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you'll see evidence of the lake's fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Lake Taupo's beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.

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wellington

Nestled between a sparkling harbor and rolling green hills, New Zealand's capital city is renowned for its arts, heritage, culture and native beauty. Wellington buzzes with delicatessens, cafes and restaurants – it’s a city that enjoys gourmet food and fine wine. Known as the culinary capital of New Zealand, Wellington is famous for its tucked-away bars, quirky cafes, award-winning restaurants and great coffee.

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West Coast

The West Coast, or ‘the Coast’ as locals call it, is a wild place of rivers and rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures. Never more than 50 kilometres wide, the whole stretch down the West Coast of the South Island - of which Greymouth is the largest town - is home to only 31,000 people. It’s good if you’ve got your own transport because this is a long region and there’s a lot to see. In fact, the Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth was recently voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.

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