For a country with a population less than 5 million, New Zealand bats well above average. Approximately half the size of France, few countries pack as much loveliness into their landscape.

To get on your bike for two wheeled fun The NZ Cycle Trail is a well-signed network of 23 country-wide trails suitable for novices through to Tour de France wannabe’s. The Great Rides route covers 2,500km of trails that wind through, around, over and under some of the country’s most spectacular landscape. Snow-capped summits reflected in mirror-like lakes? Tick. Former railway routes winding through wilderness converted into rail trails? Tick. Vineyards, boutique brewers, cider makers and baristas on hand to hydrate parched throats? Tick. So hire a bike or ride your own, either way, New Zealand has nailed it when it comes to cycle touring adventures. http://nzcycletrail.com.

You can explore the City of Sails from the water Almost a national obsession, the Kiwis know a thing or two about sailing. The island nation has claimed countless sailing trophies including America’s Cup and Whitbread Races along with 60 world titles and 18 Olympic medals at last count. Unleash your inner Sir Peter Blake on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. The City of Sails is a water lover’s pleasure dome – a sheltered water playground blessed with sweeping beaches, dormant volcanoes and national parks aplenty. Find a Kiwi with a kayak or a super yacht and get them to show you around their town by sea.

Because the Bay of Islands is the birthplace of modern New Zealand The Bay of Island’s sub-tropical waterways dotted with islands are New Zealand’s answer to Australia’s Whitsunday Islands — with significant more history and heritage. Considered New Zealand’s birthplace, the historic Treaty of Waitangi was signed here and is one of the country’s most important sites. Oceanfront cottages and guesthouses sit alongside alfresco cafes shaded by vines. Boutiques and bars, boats and beaches, the Bay of Islands is quite magical.

For outdoor adventures on the South Island Dominated by the Southern Alps straddling its spine, glacial valleys, coastal fjords, wildlife and wineries make the South Island a dream destination for adventure junkies. During winter ski resorts reverberate to the sound of ski bunnies comparing off-piste calamities, their faces aglow with winter sun. Come summer the melted snow reveals a network of trails favoured by hikers and mountain bikers along with cliffs quaintly named by rock climbers such as Bo Peep Slab and Count Duckluar Wall.

For the world-class food and wine You thought we’d forgotten, didn’t you? We’re well aware that we can’t talk about wonderful New Zealand without mentioning its world class wine industry. Marlborough’s sauvignon blanc is world famous but there are a dozen or so wine regions like Otago and Waipara kicking grape-infused goals on the world stage. New Zealand’s restaurant scene is not far behind either. Renowned for fresh seafood and the world’s best lamb (sorry Australia, the Kiwis have got this one) New Zealand chefs are also at the top of their game.

By Fiona Harper  

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