The secret is out – New Zealand ranks as one of the world’s top travel destinations!

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It’s official – New Zealand has been voted one of the very best countries to visit.

No surprises there! New Zealand packs the best of every landscape – from beaches, craggy mountains, and lush rainforest to volcanos, caves, fathomless fiords, and glaciers – into two small islands.

Add to that a booming tourist industry and a population known for its friendliness, and you have the perfect holiday destination.

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Of course, the growing popularity of New Zealand means it’s becoming more important than ever to plan your travels in advance. A few years back, you could walk up to a hotel and book your room on the spot; now, if you show up unprepared at the height of the tourist season, you might just find yourself camping!

But don’t worry! If you plan your New Zealand holiday the right way, you won’t have to worry about anything.

Here are a few New Zealand travel tips for planning the perfect holiday:

  • If you’re travelling in the height of the tourist season (from December through the end of March), try to book your holiday at least 6 months in advance. Accommodation all across the country is already filling up for December 2016 through February 2017, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a room at the last minute.
  • If at all possible, consider travelling in the shoulder season. The weather in October, November, and April is wonderful, and you’ll be able to stay in nicer accommodation at lower prices – though you still need to book at least three months in advance.
  • If you’re travelling for less than two weeks, avoid Queenstown between Christmas and January 2nd. Most accommodation operators in the area have very strict rules regarding minimum length of stay, and you’re not allowed to check out on public holidays.
  • Book with a travel agent during the height of the tourist season. Many accommodation operators raise their prices significantly for the peak travel times (especially around Christmas and during Chinese New Year, which falls in late January/early February), but travel agents often get fixed room rates throughout the year, so you can avoid the inflated holiday prices.
  • Visit a few hidden gems to avoid the crowds:

Doubtful Sound

Doubtful Sound Cruises

Milford Sound gets all the fame, but Doubtful Sound is even more spectacular – and it’s off the beaten track. Book a day trip or an overnight cruise to experience the grandeur of this incredible fiord.

 

The Bay of Islands

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North of Auckland, the Bay of Islands is much quieter than its coastal counterparts to the south. Take a boat cruise around the islands, or even swim with dolphins in New Zealand’s warmest water!

 

Glenorchy

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Glenorchy, an oft-overlooked gem just 45 minutes north of Queenstown, was made famous by its appearance in The Lord of the Rings. With mountains on every side, mysterious beech forests rising up from the grasslands, and turquoise rivers cutting through every valley, Glenorchy looks exactly like a scene out of a fantasy world.  Drive over and explore, jump on a Safari of the Scenes to see the Lord of the Rings filming locations, or join a Dart River Jet Wilderness Safari for an awe-inspiring wilderness experience.

 

Blenheim

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At the heart of the Marlborough wine region sits the small town of Blenheim. The town may not look like much, but it’s surrounded by gorgeous vineyards where some of the finest wines in New Zealand are grown. Hop on a wine tour and experience the area’s signature Sauvignon Blanc!