A fresh look at New Zealand and Tasmania

The months of February and March are the perfect time for an island getaway. You may not think of Tasmania or New Zealand when dreaming of an island holiday, but these nearby islands are a travel treat and shine especially during the months of February and March.

You might think that you know these familiar destinations but let us surprise you.

New Zealand or Tasmania?  The hardest part is choosing between the two destinations, or you could just pick both!


New Zealand

New Zealand may be just across the ditch, but this gem of a country has some of the most stunning natural beauty in the world. The best part though is that New Zealand is split between two islands, both unique and equally as appealing.

The North Island boasts picturesque beaches, whilst the mountains of the South Island conjure up images of hobbits. Whether you choose to just explore one or both of the islands, you can be guaranteed to have a memorable trip.

The weather in New Zealand in February is packed with sunny days and balmy nights, with temperatures between 16-24C (60-75F), and the nights around 10-15C (50-59F). Things may start to get a little cooler in March, with the nights getting noticeably colder. The weather in the South Island is always colder so take this into account when planning your trip.


North Island

Nature
For the North Island, hire a car in Auckland (around $35 per day) and head north to drive along the Coromandel Peninsula. Only an hour and a half’s drive from Auckland you will find pristine beaches, forests, amazing views of the ocean and laid-back locals.

There is also the treat of visiting Hot Water Beach, with naturally hot water bubbling up through the sand. Make sure to visit at low tide and you can dig your own naturally-heated spa into the sand!

Three hours south-east of Auckland, Mount Maunganui is another great coastal destination, with good beaches and an easy hike up to the top of ‘the mount’ as the locals call it for great views.

Dining
The North Island features wonderful dining, and Auckland has its share of great restaurants. Fish and chips may be an Australian staple, but it is worth checking out Fishsmith to sample how the Kiwis do the classic with a twist. Think fresh fish with hand cut chips or try the soft shell crab burger for something different.

For something a little fancier, Sideart offers multi award-winning dishes. If you are in Auckland on a Tuesday then Sideart’s Tuesday Test Kitchen is a must try. The menu changes each week and the Tuesday night 5-course meal is around $95 per person. It is $70 extra per person to enjoy wine pairing with each dish.


South Island

Nature
Whale watching is one of the key activities in the South Island that you should dive into. Kaikoura has sperm whales feeding off the coastline year round. February and March also offer the opportunity to see pods of orca (killer whales) pass by.

You can find wild wallabies in Waimate, by driving two and a half hours south of Christchurch. These Australian mammals were introduced into New Zealand. You can visit the Tame Wallaby Park for an up-close encounter with orphaned wallabies.

Dining
For a unique dining experience, the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant is something that all ages will enjoy. Seated aboard an old tram, enjoy fine dining combined with a tour of both old and new Christchurch, approximately $100 per person.


Tasmania

If you are seeking an island destination closer to home, why not consider our very own Tasmania? This jewel, lying just 240km south of the Australian mainland, offers some of the country’s best natural scenery, pristine empty beaches, and lively entertainment. Hobart is the best place to base yourself as it offers a gateway to some of the best stretches of coastline during the day, with award-winning dining at night.

Tasmania usually enjoys the warmest weather between December to March, so now is the perfect time to visit Tassie. In February the temperatures are between 12-21C (54-70F); however, the weather can be unpredictable in the summer months, so anticipate that temperatures could go over 30C (86F). In March the temperature starts to drop a little, so expect temps to be between 9-21C (48-70F).

Beaches
We all love a good beach, and Tassie sure does not disappoint. The best way to reach some of the island’s best beaches is to hire a car (starting from as low as $40 per day) and go on a journey of discovery. One of the best beaches without a doubt in the state is Wineglass Bay in the Freycinet National Park. A couple of hours north of Hobart, Wineglass Bay on the east coast offers white sand beaches, and turquoise sea surrounded by granite mountains. You may even be lucky and have the beach to yourself some days.

Another island alternative is to hop onto a ferry and head to Bruny Island. The ferry departs from Kettering, 40 minutes south of Hobart, and the 20-minute ferry costs start from approximately $35 for a single visitor with a vehicle. South Bruny National Park offers unspoilt coastline with Cloudy Bay beach a favourite for those seeking a beach backed by bushland.

Dining
Tassie has some of the best restaurants and bars in the country, and won’t disappoint. The whole family will enjoy The Drunken Admiral, for great seafood set in a wooden dining hall with marine memorabilia. Main meals are between $30-45.

It is safe to say that both Tasmania and New Zealand offer island getaways with a twist. Only short flights away, New Zealand and Tasmania both offer a holiday that is bursting with nature and great food: a must-visit if you ask us.

Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.

 

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