There are just 4.8 million New Zealanders, scattered across two main islands from the Coromandel’s unspoiled beaches in the north to the almighty Milford Sound in the south. It’s bigger than the UK with one-fourteenth of the population. Chalky-blue glaciated mountains, smoking volcanoes, dense forests and swell-soaked beaches give adventurers a vast array of playgrounds to explore. If “tramping” sparks your interest you can retreat to any one of the 14 national parks. Surfers will find their bliss on the long dreamy points of Raglan – know that you will always spend longer than what you planned here. But it’s not all parks and recreation. Māori regions display deep native heritage. There are wonderful vineyards that produce world-class wines. There’s even an edgy-craft beer scene and a vibrant art culture thrives in cities like Auckland and Wellington.
New Zealand isn’t a place where you will encounter many on-the-road problems. Buses and trains usually run on time. Main roads are in good condition. Pickpockets, scammers and bedbug-infested hostels are pretty much non-existent and the food is unlikely to send you running for the nearest loo. And best of all, there are no snakes, only one poisonous spider – the endangered katipo. This incredible nation is a place where you can relax and enjoy (rather than endure) your travels.