(Photos courtesy of Flickr members j0055 and Kiwi Discovery and Stephen Prescott)
With 2012 coming to a close, we're doing a lot of thinking about where we want to travel in 2013. New Zealand (NZ) is at the top of our bucket list, and even though we've been there before, we're seriously considering going back. Here are a few reasons why NZ should be on your bucket list, too:
- Given last week's release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, this first reason shouldn't really surprise you. The country's North and South Islands were the backdrops of Peter Jackson's latest film. SmarterTravel has put together a list of filming locations you can visit—from the rolling green hills of Matamata, the home of Hobbiton, to the volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park that became Mordor. Even if you aren't a huge fan of the film, these breathtaking locations are still worth visiting.
- Speaking of breathtaking, the locations above don't even begin to scratch the surface of the scenery NZ has to offer. Just rent a car and drive around—you'll understand why people say it's one of the most natural, untouched places on Earth, like nothing you've ever seen before. The highlight of our trip was Milford Sound. Located on South Island, it was carved by a glacier and has been referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.
- One word: adventure! Kiwis are fearless pioneers, so it's no surprise that Queenstown, South Island, is recognized as the adventure capital of the world. Where else can you bungee jump with the world's original bungee operator, jet boat through narrow, winding canyons, and reach terminal velocity while skydiving all in the same day?
Is NZ already on your bucket list? If not, is it now? What other places are you hoping to travel to next year? Let us know in the comments section below.
About the Author: To learn more about George Hobica, visit him on Google+.