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Land of the Long White Cloud: Exploring New Zealand by cruise

Destination Reviews

There is a reason Brits feel so at home in New Zealand, which sits in the top five countries UK citizens choose to emigrate to. Despite a time difference of 11 hours, and the long 24-hour journey, we love the lush green scenery, the temperate climate and the laid-back pace of life, alongside many shared traditions.

It's a great place to be outside, enjoying lots of exciting activities, with glorious sandy beaches, great native forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords.

This vibrant country has so much to offer, and if you are on a limited timetable, you could do worse than to explore by ship. The manageable scale of the Land of the Long White Cloud (Aotearoa) means that each morning you awake in a distinctly different region, getting a taste for the contrasts of buzzy cities, semi-tropical beaches, bubbling geysers and sparkling glaciers, breathtaking fjords, craggy mountains, amazing marine life and lots of active adventures and adrenaline fixes.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Place that alongside the sometimes tragic history and the unique culture, mythology and performing arts of the indigenous Maori people, and you are set for one of the most fascinating and enjoyable travel experiences of your life.

To make that 24-hour journey worthwhile, don't stint on your plans. Stop off in the Far East en route (or take the western option via Los Angeles); visit your family and friends; and then take time to explore this glorious country, with 11,000 miles of coastline.

Don't miss the sparkling contemporary buildings of Auckland, the busy buzzy waterfront of Wellington, or the Scottish heritage of Dunedin, with its striking Victorian architecture.

Dunedin, New Zealand

Whether you are exploring the hidden coves of the Bay of Islands far to the north, or marvelling at the breathtaking beauty of Milford Sound, in the heart of the UNESCO Fjordland National Park in the extreme south, or any of the beauties in between, New Zealand's North and South Islands have so much to offer.

Lake Te Anau, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

As a burgeoning wine growing region, New Zealand is perfect for dedicated oenophiles, with a variety of climates and growing conditions ensuring a wide range of wines.

The culture of the indigenous Maori population, Polynesian immigrants themselves, is fascinating, particularly as a result of their long isolation from the rest of the world. Maori make up 14% of the population, and their history, language and traditions are central to New Zealand's identity, so don't miss the opportunity to learn more.

Maori canoes in Waitangi, New Zealand

Find out also about the gold rush in the nineteenth century, and the influx of Europeans at that time, explaining much of the Victorian architecture. And whilst on the subject of immigrants, let's not forget the hobbits! Much of the stunning scenery in the blockbuster Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed here, and you can even visit the reconstruction of Hobbiton.

Hobbiton, New Zealand

New Zealand is also the jumping off point to visit the country's sub-Antarctic islands, such as the Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands and Campbell Islands; or indeed for a more intrepid journey to the Ross Sea and Antarctica itself.

Crested penguins on Snares Islands, New Zealand

You could visit as part of a longer repositioning cruise across the Pacific from the Americas to Australia, or as a combined South Pacific islands cruise. Go in December, January or February - whilst good weather is not guaranteed, we Brits are used to that! With lots of luxury and expedition options to choose from, Mundy Cruising will assist in finding the perfect cruise for you.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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