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Date: 29/02/2012

Top Destinations in New Zealand

New Zealand, situated in the southern Pacific Ocean, 1,343 miles southeast of Australia, consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island. The interior of the country is largely mountainous, with some large plains in the coastal regions. New Zealand is one of the least populous countries in the world, with just 4 million inhabitants. The majority of the population is concentrated in the North Island, with many people living in, or around, the largest city, Auckland. Flying time between the UK and New Zealand is 25 hours, or more, depending upon which route you choose. A highly civilised destination, medical and crime risks here are similar to those in the UK but a good quality single trip travel insurance policy is still recommended to cover any unforeseen eventualities.

New Zealand Destinations

Auckland, or "Tamaki Makau Rau" as it is known in Maori, provides an eclectic mix of Polynesian culture and modern city living. Waitemata Harbour provides the main access to Auckland by sea and is crossed at its narrowest point by the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which connects the centre of Auckland to the North Shore. More adventurous tourists can climb the bridge, or even take a bungee jump from it although do ensure that this is covered by your single trip travel insurance policy if you plan to participate. More sedate attractions include the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which is home to millions of objects and is, in fact, one of the most popular man made attractions in New Zealand with 500,000 visitors a year. The Hauraki Gulf is home to 22 species of marine mammals and visitors can take a dolphin and whale safari, with a 90% chance of seeing dolphins and a 75% chance of seeing whales.

At the edge of the Hauraki Gulf, 55 miles from Auckland – 35 minutes by air, or 2½ hours by sea – lies the largely unspoilt Great Barrier Island. Visitors can take advantage of pristine white sand beaches and some of the best surf on New Zealand's east coast or, further inland, enjoy walking tours, horse riding, bird watching and many other activities. In fact, there are many islands in the Hauraki Gulf, some of which are accessible to tourists and some of which are not. Kawau Island, for example, which lies less than 5 miles offshore Sandspit, north of Auckland City, is a popular destination for sailors and day trippers. There is a regular ferry service to the island. A little further afield, 15 miles or so north of Auckland, Tiritiri Matangi Island is undergoing an extensive planting programme and offers walking trails for visitors to explore. If you plan to surf here, check that your single trip travel insurance includes suitable sports coverage.

The capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, is situated at the southern extreme of the North Island. It is actually the second largest city in the country, with a population of approximately 179,000, but is not spread over a vast geographical area. It is therefore easy to explore on foot and, indeed, there are heritage trails and walkways in and around the city, providing scenic views and covering a wide range of landscapes. There is also an excellent public transport system. Wellington is, of course, the birthplace of one of New Zealand' most famous authors, Katherine Mansfield. Her historic family home and garden is open to the public.

On the South Island, Christchurch is the largest city, with a population of approximately 350,000. Known as the "Garden City", Christchurch is not unlike a British university town, with Victorian architecture, parks, gardens and punting on the River Avon. That is not to say that there is not plenty to see and do in Christchurch. For a superb view of the city, you can take the Christchurch Gondola to the top of the Port Hills, over 1,600 feet above sea level, where they can look out on the city, the harbour and Canterbury Plains. The inner city of Christchurch has an historic tramway, which serves all the major attractions within the city, including Canterbury Museum, Cathedral Square and Botanic Gardens.

Single trip travel insurance is a necessity when travelling to New Zealand, not least because the healthcare system in New Zealand is similar to that in the United States. Any medical treatment that you receive, whether a routine appointment with a doctor or treatment at a private medical centre in case of emergency, will need to be paid for, either out of your own pocket or by your single trip travel insurance provider. In the worst case scenario, you may need medical repatriation to the UK, which, without single trip travel insurance, can be hugely expensive. Tourists to New Zealand, as with most other holiday destinations, are common targets for criminals and there is always the possibility of travel delays or accidentally causing injury or damage to others or their property. Single trip travel insurance typically provides cover for all these eventualities as standard.