Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013
Why Go Now Tolkien tourism is about to spike higher than the Tower of Isengard. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, just-released and the first of a trilogy, promises to draw plenty of fans looking to explore Hobbit holes and Weta Caves. But you can take advantage of New Zealand's Middle Earth madness even if you're not a fan of the movies. The dramatic, scene-stealing landscapes are more accessible than ever with more tourism companies throughout New Zealand packaging trip-of-a-lifetime experiences that include some of the world's finest natural spas, fantastic wine regions, scenic lodges, and exhilarating outdoor adventures. –by Eric Wechter
Where to StayFor an immersive experience in Tongariro, one of New Zealand's—and by extension, the world's—most spectacular national parks, check into Chateau Tongariro. In Wellington, home of Weta, you can stay in the heart of the city at the CityLife Wellington.
Insider TipLook into the New Zealand Travelpass to save money by combining bus, ferry, and train costs. The Travelpass has no fixed itineraries and give you 3,000 different stops from which to choose.
Word of Mouth "I suggest driving from Te Anau to the Catlins (via Invercargill or Gore)," suggests Fodorite Diamantina. "Stay a couple of nights in the Catlins, where there is much to see and do (hiking, beaches, wildlife). Nature-lovers adore the Catlins. Then drive up to Dunedin via Taieri Mouth and Brighton. Basically, you will be following the 'Southern Scenic Route.'"
When to Go New Zealand's winter happens during North America's summertime (June to September). For warm temperatures, travel October to April, especially in alpine areas.
Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's New Zealand Travel Guide.