New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. On the North Island, capital Wellington’s dramatic setting, including Mt. Victoria, the Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The expansive national museum, Te Papa, is dedicated to all things New Zealand.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country’s third-most populous urban area. It lays one third of the way down the South Island’s east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula, which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of Christchurch. The river that flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park) was named Avon at the request of the pioneering Deans brothers to commemorate the Scottish Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was their grandfathers’ farm and flows into the Clyde. Within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungee jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens.
Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island. It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town; Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. Queenstown has an urban population of 12,500 (June 2014 estimate), making it the 29th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the third largest urban area in Otago, behind Dunedin and Oamaru.
The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 square kilometres (3,361.01 sq mi) not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hāwea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). Its neighboring towns include Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Kingston, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. Queenstown is now known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism. It is popular with New Zealand, Australian and international travelers alike.
Rotorua, “The second great lake of Kahumatamomoe” is a city on the southern shores of the lake of the same name, in the Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand’s North Island. The majority of the Rotorua District is in the Bay of Plenty Region, but a sizable southern section and a small western section are in the Waikato Region. Rotorua is in the heart of the North Island, just 60 kilometres (37 mi) south of Tauranga, 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Taupo, 105 kilometres (65 mi) east of Hamilton, and 230 kilometres (140 mi) southeast of the nation’s most populous city, Auckland. Rotorua is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists; the tourism industry is by far the largest industry in the district. It is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers – notably the Pohutu Geyser at Whakarewarewa – and hot mud pools. This thermal activity is sourced to the Rotorua caldera, on which the town lies. Rotorua is home to the Waiariki Institute of Technology. The Lakes of Rotorua are a collection of many lakes surrounding Rotorua.