Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Romantic Escape to New Zealand, Why Not?

I’m bummed the "Amazing Race" is over for the season but glad the hippie couple won. What I love about the show is how it takes viewers around the globe and inspires the passion of travel. One of my favorite episodes (not this season but many seasons ago) was when the teams rolled down a New Zealand hill in a Zorb. (Zorb photo included).

New Zealand is on my life-list of places to visit and my friends over at Cheaper than Hotels have reminded me how easy it is for a budget traveler to plan a visit and indulge in the romance of the country while staying in affordable New Zealand hotels. The country seems to be one of those places where you can just escape to discover (or rediscover) inner peace or connect with a loved one all the while indulging in the fabulous outdoors.

New Zealand’s diverse topography with mountain vistas, lush forests and hypnotizing coastlines seem to appeal to all travelers. There’s also the funky, off-beat side of New Zealand, which is probably why Lord of the Rings was filmed there.

Auckland, is perhaps the best known romantic destination in New Zealand. It’s an area with cosmopolitan-Polynesian flair set in a melting pot of European and Asian cultures. The scenery includes dormant volcano cones, enchanted rainforests and island getaways along with coastal regions. Auckland hotels are as diverse as the scenery, with hotel rates fitting everyone’s budget. There’s more to New Zealand than Auckland, there’s Wellington and Christchurch:

The capital city of Wellington is a must for any New Zealand visitor and makes a romantic escape. Wellington is located on the southern end on the North Island. Urban-coastal chic may be the best way to describe this city with funky cafes, boutiques and a night scene which doesn’t stop with theater and live music. Luckily, there’s a wide range of Wellington hotels to choose from when planning a stay.

The city of Christchurch, The Garden City, is a coastal town on the country’s east coast of the South Island, perfect for couples seeking a romantic seaside retreat. The lovely Botanic Garden is the city’s signature attraction along with Arts Centre Te Pokap Toi o tautahi, the arts community. Travelers who embrace the unique will enjoy this community. Christchurch hotels are as diverse as the city’s personality, including a former jailhouse now a hotel!

Romance seeps from New Zealand so why not visit and take it in? It’s easy to sort through the New Zealand hotels, the difficult part is deciding what not to see.

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