With the release of the latest movie, filmed in New Zealand, "The Hobbit, an unexpected journey" has sparked interest in the spectacular scenery, friendly people and adventurous activities, available to visitors to New Zealand. While summer is the best time to visit the 'land downunder' New Zealand has activities for all seasons of the year.
Summer is a good time to visit, from December to March, residents and visitors alike will find there are lots of outdoor activities, among them festivals and events that celebrate the joys of the season. Foremost among them are, the famous Marlborough Wine Festival on the northern part of the South Island, where wine lovers can sample the many New Zealand wines; and the "Rythms and Vines Music festival" in the city of Gisbourne, which just took place December 29 -31, with musical bands and vino, during three full days of the New Year's celebrations.
New Zealanders like to share their cultures which are featured in festivals and event, all year. Some of the most popular festivals are, the Te Matatini, the National Kapa Haka Traditional Maori performance competitions, and the Pasifika Festival, all celebrating the arts and cultures of New Zealand.
Adventure is another important activity in New Zealand and while it is available all year, some activities are more suitable to a specific season. In the summer residents and visitors alike can spend time river surfin; scuba diving, mountain hiking, cycling along the many trails, and exploring the thousands of acres of National Parks on both the North and South Islands.
From March to June, Autumn is the time for brilliant colors reds, golds, and purples, and long days with clear blue skies, that says to everyone - come and play in the outdoors. The Orchards fare are ripe for the pickings, grapes are ready to be harvested, and many festivals welcome visitors to explore the foods and cuisine of New Zealand.
At the Hotikita Wildfood Festival, on the west coast of the South Island, one can try some of the unusual offerings such as 'Huhu grubs' and 'Wasabi ice cream'; while 'The Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival' offers real delicacies.
The mild autumn weather is a good time for cycling, walking, or horseback riding along the Central Otago Rail Trail on the South Island. And on the North Island it is still possible to swim with the Dolphins, visit volcanic Tongariro National Park where all the outdoor activities are still available or enjoy the Dragon Boat Races on Wellington's Harbor.
Winter is a season for those who enjoy the snow and all it has to offer. Fron June to August, skiers of all abilities, will find spectacular mountains with world-class ski fields. Among them, running the length of the South Island, the Southern Alps has many public ski areas, and many private ones that residents and visitors alike can experience.
But skiing is not the only activity during the winter, other highlights include - the Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival which has something for every style of snow enthusiast; the Winter Games a major international sporting event; the Matariki, the Maori New Year celebration held in June; and the harvesting of Scallops at the Coromandel Scallop Festival in August. These are just a few of the events that help warm up a winter day.
Spring is a renewal, a time when the earth brings forth new plants, flowers and warmer days. It is also another time for more festivals, such as the 'World of Wearableart awards' that takes place in Wellington; the 'Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival; and many blossom festivals in the fruit-bowl regions of Hastings and Alexandra. Walking, jet boating and white river rafting are other activities, that the mild spring weather, encourages one to take part in.
Travelers to New Zealand need to answer the question, what do you enjoy the most" and what season is the best time for you to go. Air New Zealand flies non-stop from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland, they offer many special airfares for travelers visiting New Zealand in the winter season. They also have other promotional airfares during the other seasons, as do the tour companies, hotels, and sightseeing companies. With careful planning travelers should be able to have a great vacation, in the season of their choice, at an excellent rate.