Experience two countries in one, each with their unique brand of beauty, on a New Zealand holiday with The Co-operative Travel.
Nature created a landscape of real extremes when she gave us the two islands which comprise New Zealand; from vast mountain ranges to spectacularly sweeping coastlines, long, lush green vistas to wilderness beaches and stretches of coastline.
The twin, thin strips of island together stretch for more than 1,000 miles, and extend along the Pacific Ocean from the sub-tropical north to the alpine south of Antarctic Circle territory.
Originally dubbed Aotearoa - the land of the long white cloud - by the Maori settlers, New Zealand is an amazing natural canvas onto which man has grafted several modern, attractive cities, several of which make a great base for exploring on a package holiday.
A nation of friendly, welcoming people, New Zealand is a great country for travelling around, and if you love dramatic coastlines, you've found your idyll here. The rugged outline hides a massive array of secluded coves and sheltered bays, many housing quiet beaches of soft sand.
The north island is considered the nation's birthplace, and includes the cities of Auckland and the capital, Wellington. The former, christened the 'city of sails' on account of its long-time associations with yachting is still heavily influenced by a seafaring culture, while the latter was nominated as the nation's capital on the strength of its extensive wide, natural harbour, and has since acquired the mix of imposing traditional architecture and modern skyscrapers befitting of a capital city.
Tradition holds sway on the southern island, especially in the principal cities of Christchurch and Dunedin. Considered the London and Edinburgh of New Zealand respectively, the two cities share a rivalry which mirrors that of the English and Scottish capitals.
All of these cities offer a bewildering choice of accommodation where you can base yourself on an all-inclusive holiday.
The beauty of New Zealand's mountain scenery is nowhere more apparent than in the Tongariro National Park. Founded only 15 years after the world¿s first national park, America's Yellowstone, Tongariro has three sacred peaks at its heart, and is a fascinating place of soaring geysers, bubbling mud pools and mineral spas.
The mountainous scenery of the south island is no less dramatic, the peaks being christened the Southern Alps for their obvious resemblance to their European counterparts, and plunging down to fabulous, tranquil beaches which are perfect for relaxing on.
A wide range of meats and seafood form the basis of New Zealand cuisine, much of which reflects its former status as a Commonwealth country, but also adds in Maori, Polynesian and Asian influences to add a unique twist.
Late deal holidays have become increasingly popular and affordable with the growth in long-distance air travel. This means that a nation which might once have been considered too remote is now definitely on the map, and just waiting to be explored. On holiday with The Co-operative Travel, its beauty will unfold before you.