Head south to Australia and take a sharp turn east to arrive in New Zealand. It’s a landscape both magical and majestic, surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea and southwestern Pacific.
The country is divided between two primary landmasses — the North Island and the South Island — with about 600 smaller islands sprinkled about. Each delivers different landscapes and opportunities for adventure.
The warmer North Island is home to Auckland (the largest city) and Wellington (the capital). That’s also where you’ll find hot springs, volcanoes, and pristine beaches, as well as Hobbiton, the filming sets from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The North Island is also the place to immerse yourself in Māori culture with dance performances and hangi feasts (traditional Māori dish cooked in a pit oven).
The South Island — with the cities of Queenstown and Christchurch — is the place for skiers and snowboarders, with snowy mountains, fjords carved by glaciers, and stunning views from the Southern Alps.
In this episode, we get curious about life in New Zealand, then recommend books that transported us there, including a moving essay collection, a memoir from an American woman who married a Māori, a novel about the 1860 gold rush, a tale of Māori mythology, and a fantasy novel set in Wellington. (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Init1alP/Shutterstock.
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