Taranaki

Head west to experience the Taranaki region, one of the North Island's best-kept secrets. The  perfectly symmetrical Mt Taranaki (a double for Japan's Mount Fuji),  located in Egmont National Park, is the optimum vantage point to take in  the region's lush, rolling countryside and black-sand coastline.Prefer  getting your feet wet? Taranaki's famed 'Surf Highway 45' has a dozen  world-class surf breaks, interspersed with pretty beaches, quaint rural  towns and mountain views.

Photo by mostafa meraji / Unsplash

Don't miss: New  Plymouth's Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand's first  contemporary art museum, is dedicated to internationally renowned  modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye. The Govett Brewster Gallery is to New Plymouth what the Guggenheim is to Bilbao, a visual feast both inside and out.

Head west to experience the Taranaki region, one of the North Island's best-kept secrets. The  perfectly symmetrical Mt Taranaki (a double for Japan's Mount Fuji),  located in Egmont National Park, is the optimum vantage point to take in  the region's lush, rolling countryside and black-sand coastline.Prefer  getting your feet wet? Taranaki's famed 'Surf Highway 45' has a dozen  world-class surf breaks, interspersed with pretty beaches, quaint rural  towns and mountain views.

Don't miss: New  Plymouth's Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand's first  contemporary art museum, is dedicated to internationally renowned  modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye. The Govett Brewster Gallery is to New Plymouth what the Guggenheim is to Bilbao, a visual feast both inside and out.

Câmara De Lobos fishing boats
Photo by Daniela Turcanu / Unsplash

Wellington

New Zealand's capital regularly features in lists of the world's most livable cities. Wellington  is ridiculously pretty. Look out for quirky wooden homes perched on  vertiginous slopes, lots of green space, mountain biking tracks, the  award-winning bird sanctuary Zealandia and innumerable beaches.It's  also home to Peter Jackson's film empire (look for the 'Wellywood' sign  as you fly in or drive across the Miramar Peninsula) and the extremely  kid-friendly Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, the country's  national museum.Wellington's  position at the base of the North Island, between the Tararua Ranges  and Cook Strait, makes it the windiest city in the world. Prepare to be  invigorated by northwesterly gusts and do as the locals do -- wear a  raincoat instead of carrying an umbrella when exploring.Don't miss: Head  to Point Howard and the majestic Massey Memorial, a white marble  mausoleum to former Prime Minister William Massey and his wife  Christina, hidden high above Shelly Bay on the Miramar Peninsula. Climb  up through the bush to the memorial, or the gun emplacements above, for  views of the distant mountains of the South Island.

sunset in ilha do mel
Photo by Thaynara Souza / Unsplash

Marlborough Sounds

This intricate web of sheltered  waterways accounts for 20 percent of New Zealand's total coastline. The  three distinct waterways, Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds,  formed from sunken river valleys that were flooded in the last Ice Age. There  are more than 50 reserves in this scenic playground pick up a kayak,  fishing charter or relaxing boat ride to appreciate them fully. The  Marlborough region produces nearly 80 percent of the country's wine  (particularly sauvignon blanc) and there are nearly 40 wineries to  choose from.

Don't miss: The  70 km (44 mile) Queen Charlotte Track gives you the chance to  experience the best of the area's history, scenic delights and cuisine,  either on foot or by bike.

Anitra M. Wheeler

Anitra M. Wheeler

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