NUTS FOR NEW ZEALAND

Head to New Zealand’s South Is­land to dis­cover wild ad­ven­ture, top-notch res­tau­rants and bars, and a thriv­ing in­ter­na­tional street art scene.

Virgin Australia Voyeur - - EXPERIENCE -

CHRISTCHURCH

A cul­tural haven, Christchurch is full of rich his­tory, a thriv­ing arts scene, botanic gar­dens, mu­se­ums, brew­eries, cafes and much more. High­lights in­clude the arts cen­tre. Dat­ing from 1877, this en­clave of gothic re­vival build­ings was orig­i­nally Can­ter­bury Col­lege, now re­opened to the pub­lic.

For magic views across the city, hop on board a gon­dola ride to the top of Mt Cavendish. Grab a bite at Black Betty, an in­dus­trial chic ware­house pop­u­lar with stu­dents and renowned for its cof­fee.

If jazz is your thing, en­joy a night out at Fat Ed­die’s, now re­opened on the river­front. Think comfy couches, retro styling and a big dance floor.

Road trip­pers should head north to Han­mer Springs, which has a slightly Euro­pean feel and is ringed by moun­tains. The town is the South Is­land’s main ther­mal re­sort, and it’s as re­lax­ing or adren­a­line-pump­ing as you’d like. Try ac­tiv­i­ties such as quad bik­ing, jet boat­ing, bungee jump­ing or raft­ing. Fin­ish the day by re­lax­ing at Han­mer Springs Ther­mal Pools and Spa.

Keep driv­ing on to Kaik­oura, which has the snow-capped Seaward Kaik­oura range at its back. The pretty penin­sula town is home to a va­ri­ety of wildlife, in­clud­ing whales, dol­phins, pen­guins, New Zealand fur seals and sev­eral species of al­ba­tross. Don’t miss out on a Kaik­oura Whale Watch Tour, or the chance to swim with the seals.

DUNEDIN

New Zealand’s sev­enth-largest city, Dunedin is home to Scot­tish his­tory and an artis­tic vibe. The ‘Ed­in­burgh of the

South’ is proud of its Scot­tish her­itage, warmly em­braced by the stu­dents — who make up more than 20 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion — at­tend­ing the coun­try’s old­est univer­sity (Univer­sity of Otago) and savouring the city’s cosy bars.

Dunedin is a great base from which to ex­plore wildlife-rich Otago Penin­sula, which is home to New Zealand fur seals and sea lions, yel­low-eyed pen­guins and even a royal al­ba­tross colony.

The city can lay claim to the world’s steep­est res­i­den­tial street: Bald­win Street in North East Val­ley. The ori­gin story sug­gests the city’s streets were laid out by plan­ners sim­ply plonk­ing grids onto maps rather than check­ing out the ac­tual ter­rain, which is why there’s a road at a 19-de­gree an­gle in the mid­dle of the sub­urbs. If you’re feel­ing fit and strong, you can walk the 350 me­tres your­self then quench the thirst you’ve built up from the wa­ter foun­tain at the top. You can even grab your­self a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion from the sou­venir shop to com­mem­o­rate your jour­ney.

The most pop­u­lar free at­trac­tion is the Dunedin Street Art Trail, which lets vis­i­tors dis­cover more than 30 vi­brant and whim­si­cal art­works cre­ated by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional artists. Pop into the Dunedin i-Site Vis­i­tor Cen­tre to pick up a map, not­ing the self-guided walk takes about 90 min­utes.

QUEEN­STOWN

For ad­ven­tur­ous sorts, Queen­stown is ar­guably the cen­tre of the uni­verse.

The town plays host to some of the globe’s best out­door and thrillseek­ing ex­ploits. Based in the ma­jes­tic moun­tain ranges of The Re­mark­ables and Lake Wakatipu, the city is a year-round buzz of ad­ven­ture, adren­a­line and ac­tiv­ity.

Dis­cover out­stand­ing alpine vis­tas on a breath­tak­ing tree-to-tree zip-line course, or over­come your fear from 109 me­tres up, plum­met­ing at 150 kilo­me­tres an hour on a canyon swing.

For lovers of hik­ing, Queen­stown is par­adise — grab a pack and your walk­ing boots to ex­pe­ri­ence the thou­sands of kilo­me­tres of tracks, rang­ing from 30 min­utes to multi-day hikes.

What’s less well-known is that Queen­stown of­fers some of the best res­tau­rants and bars in New Zealand. It’d be prac­ti­cally crim­i­nal not to grab a burger at Ferg­burger, and with burger names such as ‘Chief Wiggam’, who could re­sist? Madame Woo serves tasty and au­then­tic Malaysian Hawker food, or you can try the award-win­ning rack of lamb at Roar­ing Megs Restau­rant.

Vir­gin Aus­tralia has in­creased flights to Queen­stown, now fly­ing from Mel­bourne, so it’s never been eas­ier to plan your next Queen­stown hol­i­day.

Vir­gin Aus­tralia’s Aus­tralia to New Zealand ser­vice now of­fers a com­pli­men­tary meal and drink, along with a com­pli­men­tary piece of checked bag­gage, en­ter­tain­ment on your own de­vice, and wi-fi (with 15 min­utes com­pli­men­tary) on all flights.

Book your New Zealand ad­ven­ture with Vir­gin Aus­tralia Hol­i­days — call 13 15 16.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.