Located on the outer edge of the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand's two islands boast wild and grandiose landscapes dotted with towns with an appearance that is reminiscent of typical English gardens. The country's nature, barely tamed by urbanisation, reigns supreme here. On North Island, the active volcanoes in the Tongariro National Park are magnificent reminders of Earth's creation. On South Island, the sublime fjords of the Fiordland National Park, the vertiginous peaks of Aoraki/Mount Cook, and the imposing glaciers of Westland will inspire the same respect in you as they do with the native Maoris. From Cape Reinga to Southland and from Paihia to Porpoise Bay, the coastline, in some places gentle and in others more dramatic, is never less than magnificent. Your return to civilisation will be equally impressive, as typified by the superb cultural life on offer in the cities of Auckland and Wellington. A visit to one of their artists' communities such as Coromandel, bringing together talented ceramic artists, sculptors and glassblowers is particularly recommended. A tour of some of the country's wine estates, which now rival those found in Europe, is also a must. What is certain is that New Zealand is a country well worth the journey to get here, with myriad surprises on offer for visitors.
At the extreme south west of New Zealand Fiordland national park covers an area of 1.25 million hectares. Classed as a Unesco world heritage site, this wild and isolated land is home to fjords, dolphins and the unspeakable fragrance of virgin territories.