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New Zealand 101

New Zealand boasts stunning landscapes, a fantastic wine scene, unbelievable lodges, and happening cities

By Arabella Bowen

December 8th, 2008

Travelers often think of New Zealand as just beautiful vistas (Remember Lord of the Rings?). While it does boast stunning landscapes, you’ll also find a fantastic wine scene, unbelievable lodges, and happening cities. Even if you’re not a hiker, a New Zealand trip will convert you to the great outdoors. And great they are. Comprised of two main islands, together the size of California, the Kiwi nation is positively littered with gorgeous alpine passes, grassy plains, and glacier-fed rivers.

At 4,385 miles southwest of Honolulu and 994 miles southeast of Australia, it’s worth the trek for the jaw-dropping geography alone, but our guide opens up a world beyond the bungee-jumping mainstays to take in the best of this young, energized country known for its friendly people. From Auckland, a cosmopolitan hub with a burgeoning fashion scene, we explore the wine trail, which has gorgeous locations on both North and South Islands and includes the country’s capital, Wellington, before ending in the snowcapped Southern Lakes region. Along the way, New Zealand’s full panorama emerges: a passion for wine and food distinguished by low-key vineyards and farm-fresh cuisine; an eco- and design-friendly approach to lodging influenced by native Maori culture; and towns rife with quirky charms.

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