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Fly to New Zealand.
Begin with the first of many high points. In Auckland you can enjoy unrivalled views of the city from the top of the 700 foot tall Sky Tower, the tallest structure south of the Equator, with its death-defying, glass-floored viewing platform.
Or you might prefer to take a short boat hop across the Hauraki Gulf to Waiheke Island, with its wonderful beaches, luxurious resorts and hinterland featuring deep green forests, rolling farmland and boutique vineyards.
Stay: Two nights in a two bedroom suite in Quay West Suites.
Time to collect your car and head off on your voyage of exploration. The scenic Pacific Coast Highway will whisk you into the Coromandel Peninsular – an area of beautiful coastline backed by indigenous bush, natural rainforest and beautiful parklands. Go surfing at Whangamata – you can hire the gear – or visit Hot Water Beach where naturally heated water bubbles up through the sand.
If you take the ‘Kiwi Dundee Adventure’ you’ll be able to walk through an ancient kauri forest, visit a well-preserved 1890s gold mining town, see glow worms and learn about the local flora and fauna.
Stay: Three nights in a two bedroom apartment at Grand Mercure Puka Park.
A morning’s drive along the wonderful Thermal Explorer Highway takes you to the bubbling cauldrons of hot mud and the spouting geysers of Rotorua. This town is also the heartland of traditional Maori culture.
You may well be welcomed with a fearsome haka and indulge in a sumptuous hangi feast, but you can also opt for equally spine-tingling adventures like zorbing and luging down a winding track on a cart!
Stay: Two nights in a lake view family suite at Koura Lodge, on the tip of Kawaha Point.
Follow the Volcanic Loop Highway and you’ll find yourself in astounding, alien-looking landscapes created by volcanic action over millions of years.
Fans of the Lord of the Rings movies may find the place eerily familiar; the countryside took a starring role in the films as the backgrounds for Mordor and Mount Doom.
Stay: Two nights in a family room at Bayview Chateau, Tongariro.
Wellington is a unique city in that it has a real cosmopolitan buzz, with the friendliness of a small town. It’s very pretty, being gathered around a charming waterfront and surrounded by a horseshoe of green hills.
You can spend your days in New Zealand’s capital city browsing through the excellent Te Papa Museum – with its absorbing, children-oriented discovery centres – or wandering around the interesting and stylish waterfront district.
Stay: Two nights in a two bedroom suite in Museum Hotel, opposite the Te Papa.
It’s time to say goodbye to New Zealand and head for home.
Unless you’ve decided to extend your trip to three weeks by sailing across the Cook Strait and enjoying a tour around the South Island. Or you could drive or fly to Auckland and spend a few days discovering Ninety Mile Beach, the old whaling town of Russell and the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds..
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