Ever since the first movie of The Lord U. of the Rings series released in 2001, New Zealand has been known as the ‘Home of Middle-earth: New Zealand’s dramatic scenery of ancient glaciers, snow-capped peaks, lush forest valleys, golden plains etc. form the lands of Lothlorien, Hobbiton, Rivendell, the mythical world of Middle-earth. While ‘The Lord of the Rings’ triligoy captured the imagination of the global traveller, the recent first release of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has put the stunning landscape of the country into spotlight. Apart from its natural beauty and wildlife, New Zealand have vibrant cities, long list of thrilling activities, hot pools, vineyards and cultural attractions to keep visitors entertained. Over the years interest and traffic has picked up for New Zealand in the Indian market with Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington (North Island), Queenstown, Christchurch, fjords of Milford & Doubtful Sound (South Island) as favourite destinations.
Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and one begins to get a picture of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. Auckland is a shopper’s paradise, with everything from top-end designer labels to open-air street markets as well as diverse cafes, restaurants and nightlife.
Rotorua is the place of skyrocketing geysers, hot springs and boiling mud pools. Travellers can try a hangi feast – cooked in the steaming ground, take a tour of an authentic pre-European Maori village or treat themselves to a spa therapy. It is also offers host of adveture activities. Situated at the Southern end of the North Island, nestled between a sparkling harbour and rolling green hills, Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city. Tourists can relax at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s golden-sand, inner-city beach and delve into the many museums, art galleries and theatre shows that make up the city’s cultural scene.
In New Zealand, travellers are never far from a naturally-heated soak in a hot pool and North Island is loaded with volcanoes, and hot pools are a very pleasant side effect of all this subterranean activity. Whale watching is also a popular activity along the coast of North Island.
A palette of dramatic scenery, South Island is home to the most beautiful natural landscapes comprising of towering mountains, rugged coastline and sweeping plains. While glaciers around the world are retreating, the World Heritage-listed Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level. One can take an easy walk on the foot of the glaciers or pass along ancient river valleys with steep sides or take a scenic flight and even land on the mountain top.
Fiordland in South Island is one of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of New Zealand. Carved by glaciers over 100,000 years the landscape is one where waterfalls cascade hundreds of metres into deep black fiords; where ancient rainforest untouched by man clings to mountains and where shimmering lakes and granite peaks look as they did a thousand years ago. Milford Sound fjord, described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World, is mesmerising and its majestic beauty can be experienced either by a cruise or a scenic flight. Doubtful Sound fjord is three times longer and a staggering ten times larger than Milford with equally spectacular scenery and an abundance of wildlife, flora and fauna. Hundreds of waterfalls cascade from the steep hills during the rainy season and some of the larger ones, notably Helena Falls at Deep Cove and the Browne Falls, fall over 600 mts.
Cities of South Island have a unique character. Dunedin, known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand sports its Scottish heritage in many buildings and monuments with the train station being the most famous landmark. Surrounded by dramatic hills and at the foot of a long harbour, Dunedin is one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Dunedin has incredible wildlife on its doorstep including the world’s rarest penguins and, at Taiaroa Head, the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross. Christchurch which was hit by a huge earthquake in February 2011 and major portion of the city centre with its classic neo-gothic architecture destroyed is on its road to recovery. It is a city where tourists can indulge in fine dining and entertainmentor activities like surfing.
Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, is a vibrant city with a picturesque setting. The lake and mountain landscape make Queenstown suited to all kinds of adventure. There’s skiing in the winter and activities such as bungy jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting all year round. In 2012, New Zealand won the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Award 2012 for Favourite Emerging Destination Overseas, as well as the World Travel Award (WTA) 2012 for ‘World’s Leading Destination Marketing Campaign’ for their 100% Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.
Tourism New Zealand has been marketing and promoting the destination in India aggressively. FIT, Family, MICE and Honeymooners are the traget segments for Tourism New Zealand in India. In past couple of years the tourism board has also been promoting the destination for Self-drive holidays. Apart from conducting workshops for the travel trade, the tourism board also conducts an annual Kiwi Link programme in Indian metros, its key marklets, where suppliers from New Zealand get an opportunity to interact with Indian travel trade. In 2008, Tourism New Zealand launched an India gateway -www.newzealand.com/travel/india – to meet the travel needs of Indian consumers. In an effort to increase awareness about New Zealand as a tourist destination in the Indian market, Tourism New Zealand will relaunch its Kiwi Specialist online training programme for the travel trade soon.
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