20 reasons to visit New Zealand, now that we finally can

Join the bird bonanza on Kapiti Island

Spotting wild kiwis is not easy. Stewart Island is your best bet, but if you’re not heading that direction, Kapiti Island — a nature reserve and marine reserve accessible from Wellington — is a good option. Visitor numbers are limited, giving Kapiti an exclusive feel. With a local guide, learn about the Maori people who have inhabited this island for centuries. kayak and snorkel in the sheltered waters; Stay in a safari tent, cabin or classic ‘Bach’ bungalow to see endemic birdlife including bellbirds, takahe, parakeets, weka and maybe small spotted kiwis.

A 21-night Wildlife Encounters self-drive with Discover the World (01737 214250; visiting Kapiti costs from £4,077 per person excluding flightss.

Pacific Delights

New Zealand is a really long way. So make the most of all these trips by contrasting the country with the equally distant South Pacific. After hopping across the Bay of Islands, sipping a glass or three of Hawke’s Bay’s best and hitting the gas in the adventure capital of Queenstown (try mountain biking, rafting and kayaking), fly to Laucala, a private Fijian island retreat , the villas sit amidst lush vegetation, mountains, white sand and coconut palms, and the diving and snorkeling is out of this world.

A 14-night Ultimate New Zealand and Fiji bespoke trip with Abercrombie & Kent (01242 547760; costs from £27,995 per person including flights. For more travel inspiration, check out our guide to the best hotels in New Zealand.

how to get there

Virgin Atlantic (0344 874 7747; flies from London to Auckland via San Francisco – codeshare – from £981 return.

Air New Zealand (0800 028 4149; flies from London to Auckland via Singapore – codeshare – from £1,113 return.

Covid rules

Fully vaccinated adults and children under the age of 17 can visit New Zealand from 11:59pm on May 1st without the need to isolate on arrival. However, you must have three Covid tests: one before departure (PCR, LAMP or rapid antigen test), another rapid antigen test on arrival and a third on the fifth or sixth day.

More information here.

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