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New Zealand's Real Icons

New Zealand have today unveiled the four finalists in the public competition to design what could be the country's new national flag. Each of the designs has evidently drawn upon some of the country's symbols and, in some cases, the current flag as well. The finalists have been met by a mixed reception to say the least, with some critics dismissing them as too conservative and even boring. A flag isn't the best way to truly represent a country we feel, so a look at the true icons of New Zealand may be in order.

If it's the icons of New Zealand that you're after, then you need look no further than the Classic New Zealand Panorama Tour for a comprehensive view of all of the finest sights and experiences that are on offer.

Arrive in awe-inspiring Auckland and head to the iconic Skytower in the city centre where you can take in stunning panoramic views and spy a good looking place to head for lunch in the famous waterfront area of town. Here, you'll also be treated to fantastic shopping opportunities right by your hotel on the city's strip where you'll also discover lively nightlife in and around Queen Street. The City of Sails doesn't disappoint with the beautiful Viaduct Harbour making for an excellent place to draw in the evening with fresh food and dancing after dark.

skytower

Another icon of New Zealand is it's stunning landscape and Maori heritage, two things which can truly be admired at the Bay of Islands. From here, you'll learn the history of the area with a Maori tour, before a relaxing cruise to wind down from a long day. You'll then have a free day to enjoy the area as you please, be it by discovering some of the surrounding areas, swimming with dolphins or heading to New Zealand's most northern point - Cape Reinga. Here you can learn more Maori myths, go sand boarding down giant dunes and stroll down 90 mile beach to make an entertaining day.

bay of islands

Next, a few action-packed days lie ahead as you discover Rotorua, Masterton and Wellington. After learning the secrets of local agriculture, meet some of the local wildlife at Rainbow Springs Park and enjoy an encounter with the iconic Kiwi. Take in the culture of Rotorua with an unforgettable evening watching traditional performances of a formal Powhiri (welcome) and the famous Haka. There's plenty of travelling to do afterwards, with stops at successful vineyards separating stretches of farmland before you arrive at Wellington and take an informative tour of the city. Be sure to ride the cable car whilst you're here!

rainbow springs

Embark on a cruise from Wellington Harbour and stop off at the quaint village of Picton, before proceeding south to Blenheim. A short, yet fulfilling stay by the vineyards will prove to be a strong contrast to Christchurch's International Antarctic Centre that you will experience later that day. Passing the various local gardens en route, head back into town aboard the "Tourist Tram" and take a look around the so-called most English city outside of England.

Milford Sound 

You'll experience all of that in little over a week and with a week of fabulous itineraries ahead, all with incredible optional excursions too! Bask in the highlights of Queenstown, most notably the instantly recognisable set of The Lord of the Rings or exhilarating boats rides in the adventure capital of New Zealand. You'll also discover unparalleled views of the Southern Alps, before you enjoy a cruise through the "eighth wonder of the world" (according to Rudyard Kipling) as you sail through the heart of Milford Sound, an unbelievable area of pure natural beauty. 
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