Lonely Planet's New Zealand guidebook is full of great ways to cover the whole of this surprisingly large country.
There are quite a few New Zealanders populating the LP offices so, we thought we'd ask them for their favourite spots. Here are their suggestions:
Fierce blue seas. I grew up close to the East Coast region, in the North Island. It's a quiet area, populated by sleepy surfies, a few forestry workers and farmers, and the proud Ngati Porou tribe, and well and truly off the beaten tourist trail. The roadsides are dotted with colourful marae and the ocean is so fiercely blue that it's near impossible to resist leaping in. If you've seen the Kiwi movies Boy or Whale Rider, you'll have some idea why it's so special. - recommended by Errol Hunt, NZ commissioning editor
Fish and chips with a view. One of my favourite spots is the tiny fishing village of Jackson Bay, the southern-most spot that you can reach by car on the West Coast of the South Island. There's a little shack perched beside the beach serving the best fish-and-chips I've ever eaten, and the view out onto the bay and beyond to the Southern Alps is spectacular. It's entirely likely you'll be the only person wandering around as it's so far off the main tourist line, so it's the perfect place to sit on the beach and feel the serenity (while keeping an eye out for dolphins), and have a classic New Zealand feed at the same time. - recommended by Averil Robertson
Golden beaches and glow worms. The best spot to visit is Totaranui, Golden Bay. I spent my summers frolicking in the (okay pretty darn cold) water, running over the golden sand and gaping in amazement at the glow worms at night, not realising our annual camping trip was at, what I deem now, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. - recommended by Caroline Swallow
Wellington's walkable eat streets. I’m gonna say New Zealand's capital, Wellington (I’m biased 'cause I’m from there). Best thing about it is the compact, pedestrian-friendly size and layout. All the bars, restaurants and cafes are packed in close and easily walkable. - recommended by Julian Doherty
Tranquility and beauty of the Sounds. I’m a Kiwi from Dunedin originally. My favourite part of Nu Zilund is the Marlborough Sounds. Have only been there a couple of times, but love the tranquility of it. The simple, back-to-basics of life in the crib (South Island for bach, which is North Island for holiday home). Cruising round the Sounds in a little tinny (small boat), discovering little beaches and even communities that you didn’t know were there. Reminds me a little of Halong Bay in Vietnam, but without the constant mist and with a higher likelihood of finding a dairy (Kiwi for corner store) in the bays at which to buy a 50c mixture (lolly bag). Fishing off a jetty. One day I’d like to own a place there. - recommended by Ryan Miller