Ah, New Zealand. You may have heard that it’s rather photogenic. Not many places on earth can compete with its sheer beauty, but like anyone worth getting to know, there’s so much more to New Zealand than just good looks. Having spent our lives immersing ourselves in its nature, culture and cuisine (and not bad lives they’ve been either), we’ve distilled our favourite features down to these seven.

 


 

1 | THE VIEWS

 

OK, having just suggested it’s the inner beauty that counts, let’s face it, New Zealand is gorgeous. We’re talking the Naomi Cambell or George Clooney of countries. Snowcapped peaks, sun-kissed vineyards, emerald green hills, turquoise lakes—the whole country looks like God took a Photoshop course before making it.

Overlooking Lake Wanaka, New Zealand © Miles Holden
Overlooking Lake Wanaka, New Zealand © Miles Holden

 

2 | THE PEOPLE

 

Well, by mentioning it, we’ve kind of blown our reputation as a humble lot, but people seem to find us rather friendly. As a small population that settled in a place far from pretty much anywhere, we tend to carry a “we’re all in this together” attitude. Everyone’s part of the flock, and we’re eager to help and to extend our hospitality.

Meeting the locals, South Island, New Zealand © Black Sheep Touring Co.
Meeting the locals, South Island, New Zealand © Black Sheep Touring Co.

 

3 | THE FLORA & FAUNA

 

Parts of New Zealand look like they’re straight out of a Dr Seuss book. Trees seem to have feathers and birds fur. It feels like you’ve landed in prehistoric times—or on another planet entirely. With no predatory mammals nor snakes as part of its early eco-system, New Zealand’s unique birdlife thrived under the country’s dense forest canopies. Walking beneath, you’re surrounded by the R2D2-like clicks and warbles of tuis and bellbirds—again that other-planetary feel. Our waters are home to whales, dolphins, seals and penguins, with opportunities to get up-close and personal with them all.

Giant tree ferns © Black Sheep Touring Co. | Kiwi conservation walk © Cape Kidnappers
Giant tree ferns © Black Sheep Touring Co. | Kiwi conservation walk © Cape Kidnappers

 

4 | THE OUTDOOR PURSUITS

 

New Zealanders love to be outdoors and have developed myriad ways to make the most of it. The walking tracks are outstanding, with well-maintained trails that lead you deep into the wild (that safe, snake-free wild we mentioned earlier). And where they can’t, helicopters, water taxis, jet boats, sea kayaks and 4WD vehicles are there to do the job. If you’re an adventure junkie, Queenstown is the equivalent of an outdoor Disneyland providing almost every imaginable ride—without the queues/lines.

Outdoor pursuits, Queenstown, New Zealand © Miles Holden
Outdoor pursuits, Queenstown, New Zealand © Miles Holden

 

5 | THE FOOD (with honourable mention to THE COFFEE)

 

We admit this was not always the case. There was a time when our national dish, lamb, was cooked to the appearance and texture of electrical cable. But as we Kiwis spread our wings and travelled the world, we came back and started a culinary revolution. New Zealand menus now celebrate our unique fusion of Pacific Rim and European heritage with fresh, local ingredients, creatively presented and washed down with award-winning wine. And as for our coffee—it’s one of the things we miss most when we travel overseas—even to our International Sales Office in Seattle.

Fresh, local ingredients feature in New Zealand cuisine © Matthew Crawford
Fresh, local ingredients feature in New Zealand cuisine © Matthew Crawford

 

6 | THE REGIONAL DIVERSITY

 

New Zealand is like having almost every country in the world crammed into an area the size of Colorado in the US. In the course of your visit, you can feel like you’re in the Swiss Alps, the vineyards of France, the fjords of Norway, the volcanic landscape of Iceland, the glaciers of Patagonia, the temperate rainforests of Japan and any number of US destinations. In that regard, it’s quite an economical way to see the world, really. 😉

From jumping ship in the Bay of Islands to mountain highs in Glacier Country © Black Sheep Touring Co.
From jumping ship in the Bay of Islands to mountain highs in Glacier Country © Black Sheep Touring Co.

 

7 | THE ESCAPE

 

Today, this might be the best reason of all. Yes, we’re a long way from anywhere, but in many ways, that’s our very appeal. We’re a long way from the noise that trespasses on daily life—from the media, the politics, the pressure and the anxiety that have insidiously crept into the everyday. Here we can connect when we want to, but we can also disconnect easily by intentionally heading to places where the Wifi is weak and the noise is stilled. As a small island nation, New Zealand needs visitors in order to thrive, but we suspect visitors might need New Zealand a little bit, too.

Milford Sound stillness, New Zealand © William Patino
Milford Sound stillness, New Zealand © William Patino

 

So there you have it—seven reasons we think you should pack your bags and head our way. We do admit, we’re a bit biased, so we cordially invite you to draw up your own list when you get here!

 


 

PS We LOVE to talk about New Zealand, so if you need more convincing, or have any questions as you plan your trip, don’t hesitate to Contact Us to talk to one of our Travel Shepherds.