New Zealand - An overview Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning the Land of the Long White Cloud. It is the most magical country to enjoy a walking holiday; no other place on earth offers such a varied landscape, climate, flora and fauna, no wonder it was chosen as the setting for the "Lord of the Rings" films.

Almost a quarter of the land mass is made up of conservation areas: it has 14 National Parks, as well as the 3 UNESCO World Heritage Areas. There are thousands of tracks maintained by The Department of Conservation. From tropical beaches to lush green forests, stunning mountains, fjords, glaciers, waterfalls, lakes and volcanoes, there are many destinations to tempt walkers of all abilities. Accommodation is plentiful, with numerous award winning campsites, cabins, lodges and hotels. The New Zealand climate is complex and varied, ranging from a cool temperate climate in the far south, to subtropical in the far north. There are small temperature differences between the seasons: January and February are the warmest months, July is the coldest. Extreme alpine conditions can be experienced in the mountains.

The West Coast of the South Island is the wettest region but just over the mountains is the driest. Despite being a top holiday destination, it is still possible to walk for days without coming across any other people. No need to worry about snakes, or anything poisonous or dangerous; hiking or tramping as it is called in New Zealand, is a healthy holiday choice for the mind, body and spirit. Rotorua is heart of New Zealand’s North Island, with a varied landscape composed of farms, vineyards, trout-filled lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, and mud pools and spurting geysers. At Hell's Gate you can relax in the mineral rich waters and enjoy a mud bath, an invigorating beauty treatment with health giving properties.

Further north you can explore the Coromandel with its amazing beaches and Kauri forests and enjoy other activities like white water rafting, kayaking and snorkeling. The Tongariro National Park has 3 volcanoes: Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Tongariro, a rain forest near Lake Taupo and grass lands. With 56 species of birds, some extremely rare, it is a twitcher's delight. The South Island also has much to offer walking and hiking enthusiasts: the Kaikoura Wilderness and the Puhi Nature Reserve are a haven for rare native species of plants and animals. The manuka, beech and fern forests and alpine meadows will delight all nature lovers. Mountains, glaciers and lakes abound, the choice of destinations is endless: there is something to attract people with all kinds of interests and fitness levels.