Aotearoa. New Zealand. The Land of the Long White Cloud. A small island nation far away from everywhere, but a destination that begs to be explored.
New Zealand is a land of contrasting landscapes, and a place where a drive can take you from rugged wind-swept beaches, to rolling green hills and snow-capped mountains in only a couple of hours. It's a place where Lord of the Rings country meets white sand beaches meets adventure tourism. You can drink world-renowned wine, drive some of the most beautiful roads in the world, hike amongst untouched and pristine landscapes and find dozens of ways to get your adrenaline going - from bungy jumps, to skydives, to paraglides, to jet boats and white-water rafting.
New Zealand is no easy place to get to, but it's worth it once you're here. And with that, here are 20 Incredible Photos That Will Make You Want to Travel to New Zealand.
At the very tip of the North Island is the fantastic Bay of Islands - a wildly popular subtropical destination that has a massive bay dotted with 144 islands.
Queenstown is a resort town high in the mountains of the South Island. Summers bring about hiking and mountain biking, winters bring about skiing and snowboarding. And sunrises like this one.
3. New Zealand is made for road trips. Wide-open roads with mountain views.
Road trips in New Zealand are like nowhere else in the world. Check out these views outside of Glenorchy - a quaint town at the end of the road on the South Island.
4. I learned to fly in New Zealand, and you can too.
I learned to fly so I can walk up mountains and fly down - like this one, Roy's Peak in Wanaka.
5. This guy learned to fly too.
If you don't want to paraglide when you're in Queenstown. You can bungy jump. Or skydive. Or go rafting. The adventure opportunities are endless.
6. New Zealand has just over 4 million people, and 40 million sheep.
So whilst there are crowds in the big tourist towns, it's not hard to get away and feel like it's just you and the sheep.
7. New Zealand's national parks cover over 30,000 square kilometres, filled with stunning mountains and peaceful forests - just like this one.
And unlike New Zealand's neighbor, there aren't any creatures that will kill you in our backcountry. Except for Haast Eagles - always be on the lookout for Haast Eagles.
8. Mountain bike trails lead you to views like this.
Some of the best mountain biking in the world is found in New Zealand. Come bike the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds, and get views just like this.
9. Backcountry huts like this are found all around New Zealand.
That little building to the right. That's the toilet. Talk about a throne with a view.
10. This hut has views of Aoraki Mt Cook - New Zealand's highest peak.
If you came to New Zealand, you could hike to this hut in about 4 hours. You'd fall asleep to sounds of ice falling off glaciers across the valley, and you'd wake to views of Aoraki - The Cloud Piercer.
11. Come to New Zealand, and see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean - Cape Reinga.
The word Reinga in Maori means “underworld” and Maoris (New Zealand's native people) believe that after you die, your spirit makes its way north over New Zealand and along the 90 Mile beach before entering the underworld after leaping off the Cape. Pretty incredible spot for your spirit to end up, eh?
12. Check out the beautiful blue waters of Lake Ohau.
The South Island of New Zealand has many glacial lakes that take on an intensely blueish greenish color thanks to the glacial dust that ends up coming down the rivers from high in the mountains. Epic photos take themselves on the South Island.
13. One Word. Hobbiton.
Hobbiton is a real place. So is Mt Doom. Travel to New Zealand and see for yourself.
14. There are hundreds of kilometres of well-maintained hiking trails around New Zealand.
Traveling New Zealand on a budget? No worries. Bring your hiking boots, a backpack, a sleeping bag and explore the country on your own two feet.
15. Bring your hiking boots and hike above the clouds for views like this.
This hike to Cascade Saddle is found just outside of Wanaka. Looks okay?
16. Continue hiking past Cascade Saddle, and get views like this of the Dart Glacier.
Continue hiking out the Dart Valley, and you'll end up at place that is aptly named Paradise. No pictures I'm afraid, you'll have to come check it out yourself.
17. Get Lost in the Catlins
A quick three hour drive outside of Queenstown - New Zealand's mountain resort town - and you end up at the sea. This Catlins Region is full of coastal views just like this. Not to mention, surfing at beaches where dolphins sometimes come play with you in the waves.
18. Wide Open Ocean Views
Captain Cook found Castle Point in 1770 - and he reckoned the coast had similarities to the battlements of a castle. You'll love seemingly endless stretches of deserted beaches and views like this.
19. Backcountry Huts: $20 per night, views like this.
Spend a night at Mt Aspiring Hut. Million dollar views at $20 per night.
20. The Adventure Capital of the World
Come visit New Zealand, and come to Queenstown for the adventure of a lifetime. Or chill out, and take in views like this. Have you been to New Zealand? Tell us about your trip in the comments below.