Sunday Herald Sun - Escape


Get ready for Trans-Tasman travel with Kiwi Brett Atkinson’s guide to the hits across the ditch


I’ve seen the All Blacks beat the Wallabies in Sydney, and witnessed the Wallabies knock off New Zealand rugby’s finest in Wellington, but after multiple Australian journeys exploring Western Australia, Tasmania, Outback New South Wales and the Murray River for Lonely Planet, I’ve come to the conclusion we’re actually all on the same team.

By my reckoning, no two countries are closer, and across the ditch in New Zealand, we Kiwis have really been missing our Aussie cousins. When that Trans-Tasman bubble opens up, New Zealand has plenty for you to visit to further strengthen our essential Anzac bonds.

IDEAL FOR Roadtrippi­ng empty nesters

Warmed by a subtropica­l microclima­te, Northland combines insights into New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori culture and colonial history, and the coastal thrills of the Bay of Islands. Discover Aotearoa’s shared heritage at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, cruise through the spectacula­r Hole in the Rock, and embark on a spiritual journey with Footprints’ Māori guides amid the centuries-old kauri trees of the Waipoua Forest. The new Manea Footprints of Kupe experience showcases the ocean-crossing journeys of the legendary Polynesian explorer Kupe.


Fans of urban culture

New Zealand’s biggest and most cosmopolit­an city offers the country’s most eclectic dining scene. Standouts include Gochu’s modern Korean flavours and Ahi’s blend of fine dining and Indigenous ingredient­s in the new Commercial Bay precinct, while raffish Karangahap­e Road combines street art with the hip Tel Aviv style of

East Street Hall. Nearby, Tautai is a gallery and performanc­e space showcasing contempora­ry Māori and Pasifika art and culture. Waiheke Island’s vineyard restaurant­s, meanwhile, are easily reached on a 45-minute ferry ride.


Beach fans and active travellers

Framed by the southern Pacific, the Coromandel is a favourite holiday getaway for Aucklander­s. Negotiate winding coastal roads enlivened by the scarlet blooms of pohutukawa trees, explore Cathedral Cove and the surroundin­g Te Whanganui-A-Hei-Marine Reserve by boat or kayak, or bike the Hauraki Rail Trail through the sylvan glade of Karangahak­e Gorge.


IDEAL FOR Active families Explore Mount Tarawera’s geothermal terrain by 4WD or helicopter, learn about Māori art and culture at Te Puia in Rotorua, and get active with the family on the Redwoods Treewalk or Canopy Tours’ forest zipline. Mount Ruapehu’s profile as a snowsports centre segues to the warmer weather hiking challenge of the neighbouri­ng Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

5 WAITOMO CAVES IDEAL FOR Younger adventure travellers

Discover New Zealand’s reputation as an adventure sports hub amid the subterrane­an caverns of the Waitomo region. Blackwater rafting combines floating along an undergroun­d river in an inner tube with leaping off a pitch-black waterfall, while Waitomo Adventures’ Lost World activities include abseiling and undergroun­d ziplines. It’s an easy 75minute drive northeast for Middle Earth movie magic at the Hobbiton film set.


IDEAL FOR Food and wine buffs Welcome to a sunny region of wine, cider, farmers’ markets and great eating. Dining highlights amid the 1930s Art Deco oceanside architectu­re of Napier include Bistronomy and Pacifica, while the spectacula­r leviathan bulk of

Te Mata Peak looms above Craggy Range’s winery restaurant. The best of New Zealand’s craft cider scene include relaxed taprooms at Zeffer and Three Wise Birds.


Food lovers and craft-beer fans

New Zealand’s compact harboursid­e capital features one of the world’s best urban craft-beer scenes – don’t miss innovative brews from Garage Project, Heyday and Fork & Brewer – and the interactiv­e displays at the country’s spectacula­r national museum of Te Papa are also essential viewing. Book (well) ahead for innovative fine dining infused with traditiona­l Māori ingredient­s at Hiakai, and experience Lord of the Rings cinematic wizardry at the Weta Cave.


Food-focused and active travellers

Negotiate the remote coastal coves of Abel Tasman National Park on foot or by kayak, or take to two wheels to explore the Great Taste Trail’s menu of orchards, vineyards and brewery taprooms. Adjacent Marlboroug­h is the heartland of New Zealand’s wine industry, with globally famous wineries including Cloudy Bay, Nautilus Estate and Wither Hills.

Exploring by bike along vine-framed byways is a popular option.


IDEAL FOR Wildlife fans

The Kaikōura submarine canyon off the rugged east coast of the South Island is a superb place to experience marine and birdlife. Whales, fur seals and dolphins are all regular visitors to feast in Kaikōura’s cool, nutrient-rich waters, while penguins and albatrosse­s are also regularly seen on trips by helicopter, excursion boats or kayak. 10

Travellers seeking classic experience­s Across the South Island’s rugged mountainou­s spine, the icy highlights of the West Coast stretch from near the Tasman Sea to the foothills of the Southern Alps. Opportunit­ies to explore two of the planet’s most accessible glaciers include bush-clad walking and mountainbi­king trails, and heli-hike adventures that land high on ice-fields explore turquoiseh­ued ice caves. Scenic flights also take in Aoraki/Mount Cook, at 3,724m New Zealand’s highest peak.

FOX & FRANZ JOSEF GLACIERS IDEAL FOR 11 CHRISTCHUR­CH Food lovers and street-art fans

The post-earthquake regenerati­on of the South Island’s biggest city continues amid the street art and laneways of the SALT District, the multi-cuisine street-food opportunit­ies of the Riverside Market, and innovative dining destinatio­ns including Inati, Earl and Gatherings. Detour for daytrips to explore the raffish port town of Lyttelton, or the Frenchheri­tage and harbour spectacle of Akaroa.


Nature fans and art seekers

Dunedin is New Zealand’s most historic city, and was once the country’s richest thanks to gold, wool and sheep exports. Now the 19th-century heritage buildings of the Warehouse Precinct are enlivened by contempora­ry street art and cosmopolit­an cafes and bars. Nearby, seals, sea lions, albatrosse­s and the endangered hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) are all easily spotted on the rugged Otago Peninsula.


Families and younger independen­t travellers

Stellar lake and mountain scenery is the backdrop for scaring yourself silly around New Zealand’s adventure-sports capital. Experience­s include bungy jumping, canyoning, and the zero-to-100km an hour blast of Oxbow Adventure Co’s new jet sprint boats. Relive the day’s thrills exploring Queenstown’s lively bar scene or in the classy restaurant­s framed by Arrowtown’s heritage vibe.

14 CENTRAL OTAGO IDEAL FOR Wine aficionado­s and cycling fans

Cycle through gold-mining history along the Otago Central Rail Trail, recharging and relaxing at heritage pubs en route, and also explore one of New Zealand’s finest wine regions. Pinot noir is the star here, best enjoyed around the stony and hardworkin­g terroir of the Bannockbur­n and Bendigo subregions. Kiwi actor Sam Neill is also regarded as a Central Otago local, with his Two Paddocks vineyards turning out excellent pinot noir and riesling.

15 FIORDLAND IDEAL FOR Bucket-list travellers and hikers

New Zealand’s most spectacula­r meeting of land and sea occurs in this region of remote forest-shrouded sounds trimmed by quicksilve­r waterfalls. Explore Milford Sound by kayak or on a day cruise, or embark on an overnight or multi-day experience negotiatin­g more isolated Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound. Fiordland also hosts the Milford Track and the Routeburn Track, two of New Zealand’s Great Walks.

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 ??  ?? Opposite: Queenstown. Clockwise from top: glow-worms in Waitomo Caves; the Bay of Islands; Karangahak­e Gorge; performers in Northland.
Opposite: Queenstown. Clockwise from top: glow-worms in Waitomo Caves; the Bay of Islands; Karangahak­e Gorge; performers in Northland.

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