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Wellington Travel Guide

Surrounded by hills on all sides, the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, is a perfect tourist destination. The harbor here is magnificent, and it’s a uniquely cosmopolitan city with all of the charm of New Zealand but the amenities of a big city. There is a never ending “fight” between Auckland and Wellington as to which city is better, and to be honest, there’s no unbiased way to decide between them. But here is what is better about Wellington compared to Auckland; cafes, restaurants, bars, nightlife, theatres, and galleries – without the bigger population of Auckland. Recently, a boom in the local film industry boom has even led to the development of what’s being called “Wellywood.”

Where To Stay In Wellington

At Home Wellington is an aptly-named hotel, for what it provides is a feeling of being at home while you are really on holidays. Many people recommend it as their first, second and third choice in Wellington for a stay. It’s relatively luxurious, yet not expensive at all considering the amenities and service available. There’s even a gym, and it’s close to Te Papa as well as a big selection of terrific restaurants.

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Bolton Hotel Wellington is a five star hotel in the city, providing the luxury that many well-heeled tourists and businesspeople are looking for in the capital city. The location is perfect; it’s just outside the center of the city, eliminating the crowds and noise, yet close enough that the price of cab rides to other destinations is quite reasonable.

What to do in Wellington

The Museum of New Zealand is more commonly known by the name Te Papa, which is actually short for Te Tapa Tongarewa. It is a destination that must be included on any Wellington, New Zealand itineraries. Te Tapa is a bold and innovative initiative by the government, presenting a comprehensive look and feel for the entire country. Tourists often visit this museum before deciding what other cities in the country they should visit. It can take as little as three hours to take an extensive trip around Te Tapa, covering six floors of exhibits. Highlights include vibrant displays of the Maori culture, stunning exhibits showing the natural vistas of New Zealand, as well as the heritage and historical collections spanning all of the country’s background. There are also stunning views of the waterfront at Te Tapa – and best of all, you can experience all this for no cost at all.

The floral heritage of the New Zealand is immense, and well-preserved in botanical gardens all over the country. Wellington Botanical Gardens may be the very best of all. It sprawls over 26 hectares of grassy land, with picturesque gardens, meadows, miniature waterfalls and absolutely incredible views. A cable car can even drop you off at the Gardens.

Visit Mount Victoria for the very best view of this wonderful city. You can see 360° panoramas of the city from Mount Victoria, and it’s a view that’s been memorialized in countless paintings and photographs.

We include Wellington in all of our New Zealand tour itineraries. Let us put one together for you today.

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Auckland Travel Guide

Auckland, the most populated city of New Zealand, is an incredibly charming place – and also is home to the most number of Polynesian people living in one city anywhere in the world. (The Maori tribes here refer to the city as Tamaki Makaurau or Akarana.) One of the major reasons Auckland is so beautiful, is because it’s the city of volcanoes, where lava has formed ridges creating unforgettable landscapes, and even the main roads in many places. Volcanic cones forms green islands in suburban regions. Auckland, just like many other places in NZ, is a traveler’s paradise with numerous sights that shouldn’t be missed.

Where to stay

Hotel Debrett is the most popular recommendation for a visit to Auckland, because this place is amazing. Clean and spacious rooms, good room service, and pleasant surroundings that help you rest after a tiring tour of the city. The interiors, including the decor and the furnishings, are all just perfect. This is a very busy hotel so make sure you book in advance or you might be disappointed when you arrive.

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Langham Auckland is a luxurious hotel with the best rooms and views of the city. Services here are far beyond any you would expect. A warm welcome and a tour of the hotel begin your stay, and the pleasant and helpful staff will be anxious to point you to all of the high points of the city, or just tell you the best areas to explore in case you just want to take a stroll. Club Lounge is the perfect night time hangout at Langham Auckland, and as an an added bonus, the hotel has unlimited ice cream available for guests. Their fine dining restaurant Is the best in the city, with the best in local cuisine.

Things to do

If you are in Auckland, Hauraki Gulf is the first place you should visit. Stunning views, beautiful vistas and the experience of seeing 47 different islands in a tour is truly overwhelming. You can take a domestic flight if you can afford it, or enjoy a laid-back ferry ride which will take more time but give you the best views of the area. Try to visit the Great Barrier Reef to check out the biggest coral reef in the world.

Sky Jump is the highest spot in New Zealand, where you can jump from a 192 meter tower for a free fall, for eleven of the most exhilarating seconds of your life. Your adrenaline will reach its the peak, when you hit the terminal velocity of your fall: 85 kph. Do not confuse this with bungee jumping; you fall at a greater speed with the speed reducing in the last few meters, and there’s no dangling from ropes.

Other major destinations in the city are Rangitoto Island (volcanoes), Auckland Museum, the world-class zoo and the Toi o Tomaki Art Gallery.

We’d be happy to set up a custom itinerary for you, and even plan your flights. We have local guides available as well if you want to be shown around in style. Please use our contact page in order to book your once in a lifetime trip to Auckland.

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Christchurch Travel Guide

Christchurch is one of the places in New Zealand where you can clearly see what this country was like decades ago. Recent immigration to this area make it more and more multicultural by the day, but Christchurch is one of the most “English” cities remaining in the country. The Avon River flowing through the city reminds visitors of the-laid back British style of old New Zealand. Stroll though the squares and laneways, explore the culture of the city in the serene cafes. Locals are particularly proud of the city’s Arts Centre which is a must-visit in Christchurch.

Where to Stay in Christchurch

Centre Point on Colombo is a first class place to stay when you visit Christchurch. Spacious rooms which are exceptionally clean, even to the most nit-picky guests, will make you feel at home. It’s family-friendly as well, since facilities like laundry and kitchens are available at this establishment.

Lorenzo Motor Lodge is a very well-located, inexpensive lodge located near a park where you can relax and enjoy some down time after your day’s journey. This well-maintained lodge with hospitable services is definitely one of the best bargains in Christchurch, because it is both close to attractions, and to good restaurants which are moderately priced.

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Other reasonably-priced places that are worth considering if these are full are Colombo (in the city) and the Airport Christchurch Luxury Hotel.

Places to visit in Christchurch

For first time visitors to this city, the one-day travel tours organized by Discovery are a must-do, and we book our clients on these tours often. You pretty much get to see all of the sights in the city in just one (very full) day, from the wonderful Christchurch wineries to dolphin watching. This gives you the chance to figure out what sights you’d like to revisit and spend more time exploring.

As mentioned, Christchurch is very popular for its wines and the wineries. Tops on the list is the Pegasus Bay winery. This place provides peaceful and expansive lands to stroll, but of course the highlight is getting to taste the vineyard’s exquisite wines. It’s 31 miles from the centre of the city, but it’s unquestionably worth the trip.

Another major attraction is the Banks Peninsula. This gorgeous geological formation offers the perfect location for an enjoyable day hike. You can even find tour operators which allow you to kayak next to dolphins if you visit at the right time. If not, the great sea food and the vistas will compensate for your bad timing.

You should also visit the botanical gardens in Christchurch. A very large and expansive collection of indigenous floral species, as well as more exotic varieties, will delight you. This is a very popular attraction in Christchurch but is never crowded, as it’s extremely large. There are fun activities for the kids, too. This is the perfect spot to escape from the busier city life of Christchurch.

We’d love to put together a New Zealand itinerary for you, which includes a visit to this gorgeous city. Please contact us today and we’ll get started on your trip of a lifetime.

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Dunedin Travel Guide

Dunedin is a small town with the perfect mix of the historical and the contemporary styles which are evident all over the city. The museums in Dunedin are a must-visit, the cafes are irresistible, restaurants offer mouthwatering food and the nightlife entices you into the perfect fun ending to a day of sightseeing. And your visit wouldn’t be complete without a wildlife tour. You can book a visit to the adjacent Otago peninsular region so see the indigenous animals in their natural habitat, for a wildlife tour. Dunedin is the perfect respite from the busy life in Queenstown and other large New Zealand cities.

Where to stay?

Bluestone on George is considered the best place to stay when you are in Dunedin because it is right in the centre of the city, serving as the perfect base for travel throughout the area. Also easily accessible are the best restaurants in the town, with every type of cuisine available just a short walk away. Unblemished and immaculate, spacious rooms, in addition to complete hotel facilities, make this the number one choice.

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Roselyn Apartments is a cozy little place only slightly further from the centre of the city, and is quite popular among tourists. All the facilities for a family stay are available including hair driers, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, not to mention the wireless internet access you can get for free.

858 George Street and Regal Court Hotel are other places we recommend for stays in Dunedin.

Things To Do In Dunedin

The Otago Peninsula should be #1 on anyone’s list, due to the stunning vistas it provides and the pleasant walks you can enjoy. The most notable of these walks would be exploring Sandy Mount, where you have the chance to see two species unique to this part of the world, penguins and albatrosses.

Explore the history of the Edwardian House in Olveston by booking a tour of this impressive mansion. You must take a guided tour, but it’s worth it to see the incredible 35-room period mansion which housed a single family.

Horse trekking on Hare Hills is a fun activity you can’t miss on your visit to Dunedin. There are great riding lessons for all kinds of learners, beginner, intermediate and advanced, and you’re able to ride throughout beautiful farmland that sprawls over a magnificent 60 acres. You can also even canter along the beach, just like in the movies.

If you are a fan of wildlife, you must check out the Elms Wildlife Tour, which offers several unique vistas that you cannot get on a normal tour of Otago Peninsula. You’ll probably never see some of these animals in the wild anywhere else.

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Hamilton Travel Guide

Hamilton is one of the cities in the island country of New Zealand and it’s one of the view places you’ll visit on a tour of the country that doesn’t have a coast. If you think that this landlocked city isn’t as worthy to visit as the seaside cities, though, you’d be wrong. There’s plenty to see and do. There are not as many visitors because of the lack of a seashore, but that means there’s more room for you to enjoy the majestic views along the city’s rivers. Hamilton is definitely not as busy as Auckland or Wellington, but it’s definitely worth a day or two’s stay.

Where To Stay?

Atrium on Ulster is not elegant or pricey, but it is in the centre of the city and visitors rate this motel with a 5/5 rating because of its the location. The services are exceptional and the rooms are very clean. However, don’t believe their claims of air-conditioned rooms, because they’re simply not true. Also, a decent amount of noise from outdoors, as Atrium on Ulster is situated on the main road.

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Beetham Park Motel is a very classy yet inexpensive motel. The place is spotless and has great service. The motel offers free wireless internet during your stay, and if you need to do laundry and dry your clothes, there are free facilities available for guests.

Bella Vista is a value hotel where you can expect the services and quality to be worth every penny you spend. And it’s a Bella Vista motel. Enough said.

Other lodges you might want to try in the area are the Quantum Lodge Motor Inn, and for a more luxurious stay, the Novotel Hamilton Tainui.

What to do in Hamilton

The most popular activity in Hamilton is the Hamilton Gardens. They are located along the riverbank, and sprawl along 50 hectares of land. This is the perfect place to be when you want a relaxing experience as you can spend time at cafés, restaurants and parks as well as the impressive main gardens which have received worldwide acclaim. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Indian wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, there’s a miniature of the famous landmark at Hamilton Gardens you can explore.

If you’re on your own, be sure to contact Archer Tours when you get to Hamilton. They provide terrific excursions throughout the entire area, with flexible plans allowing you to choose the duration of your tour, just a single day or as long as a week, depending on where you’d like to visit. The owner, Jim Archer, is highly knowledgeable person and completely dependable.

Hamilton Zoo is another good place to visit with your kids.Many endangered and exotic species of animals are housed here. There’s a world-class reptile house and a walkthrough aviary in the zoo, too. The zoo is stroller-friendly and the perfect place for a family visit.

We would love to include a stay in Hamilton on your custom New Zealand itinerary. Just contact us and we’ll put together a trip down under that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

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