When it comes to once-in-a-lifetime trips, these two destinations can often be found at the top of the bucket list. Whether you’re celebrating a special birthday, a big anniversary, or just want to splash out and explore, Canada and New Zealand will both give you an amazing, out-of-the-ordinary holiday full of experiences you’ll never forget. Canada is nearly 37 times the size of New Zealand, they occupy different hemispheres, border different oceans and yet these two apparently disparate nations have a remarkable amount in common.
Epic Road Trips & Iconic Rail Journeys
Having travelled all the way to Canada or New Zealand, it’s understandable that most people don’t want to stay in one place, preferring to see as much of the country as they can before starting the long journey home. In both New Zealand and Canada, private touring by car and by train is a popular holiday option. In Canada the Sea to Sky Highway in British Columbia will take you on an incredible scenic journey from the coast of Vancouver through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Meanwhile in New Zealand, the Great Coast Road is a spectacular drive down the West Coast of the South Island, which you can follow all the way to Mount Cook. When it comes to rail journeys, our Personal Travel Expert, Garry, highly recommends a trip on New Zealand’s Tranz-Alpine Train and Marketing Manager, Kathryn, was bowled over by her ride on Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer.
Both of these countries are famous for their magnificent scenery and each boasts everything from gorgeous ocean vistas and bright blue lakes to awe-inspiring mountains and shining glaciers. The islands of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland, have a similar rugged beauty to the coasts of New Zealand. A scenic flight over Mount Cook & Lake Tekapo was a highlight of Garry’s trip to New Zealand while First Class Canada expert, Diane, counts hiking around the famous Lake Louise as one of her all-time-favourite experiences. The landscapes of New Zealand’s smaller shores certainly rival those of Canada in beauty but can’t quite hold their own when it comes to scale and variety: Canada has 39 National Parks to New Zealand’s 13 with its tallest mountain reaching over 2000m higher than Mount Cook.
Amazing Wildlife Experiences
Kaikoura, a coastal town on South Island’s West Coast, is perhaps the most famous whale-watching destination in New Zealand. The waters around Kaikoura are teeming with life, so much so that whale sightings are almost guaranteed. Species regularly spotted include dolphins, orca, grey whales, sperm whales, humpbacks and even the largest animal on the planet, blue whales. This area is also home to 75% of the world’s coastal bird species and inland you can expect to see herds of deer graze on rolling farmland. However, despite this impressive inventory, it’s hard to beat bears (both literally and metaphorically). Canada is renowned for its wilderness lodges and in the Great Bear Rainforest you can spot grizzlies, black bears and rare spirit bears. You can even see polar bears in Hudson Bay and you can still go whale watching off Victoria Island or the coast of New Brunswick.
Both Canada and New Zealand have a rich heritage relating to their indigenous peoples and Canada has a wealth of colonial history, from the Gold mines of the Yukon to the old walls of Québec City. Francophiles will adore Montréal’s charming streets and famous cuisine but if you just love food and wine, there’s no better place to enjoy it than New Zealand. New Zealand wines are some of the most popular in the world and the country is known for turning its beautiful fresh produce into mouth-watering dishes. It goes without saying that New Zealand’s cities are far smaller than the likes of Toronto and Vancouver but they do say that good things comes in small packages. Auckland and Wellington, while compact, are both cosmopolitan centres with great galleries, restaurants and everything you would expect from a major city. What’s more, Wellington’s booming movie industry is a great draw for film lovers who can visit a variety of sets including the (almost) real-life Hobbiton!
Canada has the benefit of size on its side, more space equals more to see; more cities, bigger mountains and richer wildlife. However, Canada’s vastness can also be its drawback, visitors have to cover great distances between stops and most have to make the choice between East or West. This being said, if time is of no issue and you’re the type of person who enjoys the journey as much as the destination, then Canada is for you! If you’re not keen on those long drives, you can still experience incredible dramatic scenery and epic adventures on a smaller scale in New Zealand, where breath-taking beaches, vineyards, mountains, lakes and more are all packed into two islands just larger than our own sceptered isle.
If you want to speak to one of our Personal Travel Experts about a holiday to Canada or New Zealand, just give us a call on 0191 285 9321 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more about Canada and New Zealand on our holiday destination pages.