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VIP NEWSLETTER MAY 2011

VIP DESTINATION: TOP 10 SEE-BEFORE-YOU-DIE SPOTS IN NEW ZEALAND

Not long ago there was a social media campaign called Blog4NZ in which travel writers were asked to blog to promote destinations in New Zealand. We're happy to say we did our bit at the time.

But we thought we might go a step further this month and go completely Kiwi to help the nation's tourism get up and going after the earthquake. After all Kiwi land needs you this year.

With that in mind we've developed a top 10 destination list of special spots we've discovered during our own visits to New Zealand - sort of a list of amazing places-to-go-before-you-die.

Feel free to log onto the blog and send in your own list or email it to blog@vipbackpackers.com
 

1. Queenstown adventure

Visited Planet - www.visitedplanet.comAhhh, Queenstown. A jewel by the side of lake Wakatipu. No list of New Zealand destinations is complete without Queenstown. This is the nation's adventure capital where you can do almost every land, water or sky based activity you can dream of. And if you like screaming, adrenalin and just having a good time you'll want to sign up. There's skiing, mountain biking, zorbing, jet boating, kayaking and pub crawling. There's also some more sedate activities nearby such as wine tasting, simple trekking and a few Lord of the Rings film sites to enjoy. We guarantee you'll love Queenstown!

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2. Blissful Lake Wanaka

Visited Planet - www.visitedplanet.comThere's little you can't do around New Zealand's fourth largest lake. You can ski or snowboard in winter, mountain bike or hike at other times, kayak or jetboat on the lake, and go fishing or swimming. If you just like to relax then take a book down to the shores of the lake for a picturesque read with a view.
 

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3. Take on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

While the Milford Track is far more famous, this track is far more do-able and equally spectacular. It only takes one day to complete, but it is a big day covering 18.5 kilometres (7-9 hours).

The tramp passes over the volcanic terrain of Mt Tongariro, a splendid active volcano with many craters. The terrain is steep but the views are unforgettable. Do it!
 

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4. Go thermal in Rotorua

If you've been travelling for awhile there's nothing better than sitting back in the hot pools of Rotorua and having a good soak to let those weary bones recover. For those that are more active there are plenty of good mountain biking trails, trout fishing, walking tracks and lakes to explore in this region too.

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5. Wildlife bonanza, Otago Peninsula

Visited Planet - www.visitedplanet.comIf you want to get up close and personal with some of New Zealand's wildlife such as penguins, seals and albatross; the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin is a prime spot to visit. Wonderful coastal views, quaint towns, remote beaches and of course the wildlife make this a fantastic escape for a few days.

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6. Relax at Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula

Did you know New Zealand has a beach where you can dig a hole in the sand and form a hot water pool? Well you do now. Hot Water Beach is about 175km from Auckland and at low tide you can make the holes and relax in the thermal water. It's a popular spot so you'll be sharing the experience with many others but it's still fun!

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7. The city lights of Auckland

Auckland is really the only place in New Zealand that you might get in a traffic jam, and even then it might not happen. A million people live in Auckland so it's more hip and happening than anywhere else in the country and if you're seeking some city lights, good eats, markets and restaurants this is the place to come. Central Auckland lies between two harbours and so sailing is a big past time here, or anything sea related. There are some fabulous walks to do around the harbours, some fantastic cafes and restaurants at Viaduct Basin and good beaches nearby. In town you can enjoy the city's many parks, museums and art galleries or travel to some of the islands off the coast.

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8. Wine country around Marlborough

If you want to get to grips with New Zealand's finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc make sure you pass through this region on the north of the south island. Over 60 percent of Kiwi wines come from here thanks to the region's hot sunny days and cool nights - perfect for growing. If you have a limited budget and can't taste all the wines, just make sure you get some Sav Blanc - some think it's the best in the world...

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9. Cycling through Central Otago on the Rail Trail

Visited Planet - www.visitedplanet.comThe Otago Central Rail Trail winds for 150km through Central Otago between Middlemarch and Clyde. You can walk, cycle or horse ride the route and it follows the former Otago Central Railway track. While some may think cycling for four days sounds like a saddle weary exercise do think again. You break the journey up over four days which means really only a couple of hours cycling per day with plenty of time to stop off and see things on the way. And there's plenty to see - quaint towns, the remnants of the railway, wonderful scenery, dramatic gorges and farming country. You can also start or finish your journey on the Taieri Gorge Railway, in itself quite an attraction!

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10. Abel Tasman National Park

Visited Planet - www.visitedplanet.comYou can cruise, walk, kayak, sail, camp or bike your way through the gorgeous Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island. The famed Abel Tasman Coastal Track is an easy 3-5 day tramp for the more active, while others might like to take a sailing or boating trip out to one of the numerous sandy beaches with their interesting rocky outcrops. Sun, sand and temperate climates are enjoyed by all in this region. Enjoy.

Got another place to add to our list? Add it online via our blog!

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