Best places to experience multicultural New Zealand
We've come a long way from the stubbies, pies and lamington culture in New Zealand and as much as much as talkback radio telephone lines may deplore it, New Zealand is richer for the diversity it offers – not least because you can get a taste of international cultures without even packing your passport.
OK, some comparisons may be a stretch (we are an awful long way from anywhere) but some of these spots offer more than just a taste of foreign lands and peoples.
They say the last real Kiwi in Queenstown left not long after AJ Hackett started flinging himself off bridges with rubber bands tied to his feet. Walking around Lake Wakatipu you'll more likely hear accents from England, Ireland and France than any rolled 'R' from a Southlander.
With transient international workers, ski bunnies, tour buses and high prices this winter resort is our little corner of Aspen or Whistler (and with just as many Aussies). Beautiful, but try finding a New Zealand passport holder amongst the crowds.
The "winterless North" holds a lot of charm and its bays hold even more bobbing boats. With daytime temperatures often above 15 degrees in winter, the seaside life is embraced by many – again many of them tourists happy to find some sunshine and T-shirt weather in May.
The palm-lined streets, moored vessels at Russell and the day trips to outlying islands, not to mention the abundance of seafood and embracing of local wine feels rather Mediterranean.
Dominion Rd, Auckland
Our own unofficial Chinatown smack bang in the middle of the Auckland isthmus. This stretch of road in our busiest city offers arguably the cheapest and most authentic Cantonese cuisine, served up with no-nonsense efficiency .
Add to that some dynamite discount dumplings, noodle houses and hot-pot stores and you've got yourself a mid-week date night slightly cheaper than a trip to Shanghai.
Snow capped mountains, sheer grey cliffs merging into thick green growth. Fjord fever. Year-round rain, mist and waterfalls. Kayakers like summer day flies only to be swatted away by full-to-the-brim tour cruises. Eye-watering prices.
Norway can paint a pretty picture, but I could have just as easily been talking about the southwest corner of the South Island. Milford Sound is one of our tourist-faves, and for good reason too. Get a taste of Scandi in Southland without crossing oceans.
If it weren't for the relentless conquer-and-colonising Brits, you could be reading this in French. But rightly or wrongly the influx of berets and baguettes from Rochefort, France on an old ship the Nanto-Bordelaise was limited to a coastal outcrop on Bank's Peninsula. Akaroa's streets go by the French name for the word, Rue.
The settlement has an annual French Fest, but croissants and cafe au laits are commonplace and nearby French Farm winery offers another hint of the French Atlantique coast down under.
In the brighter hues of late spring, when the purple and pink foxgloves contrast with the golden tussock but the air is still bitterly cold, photos from this corner of Canterbury and Northern Otago could be confused for parts of the Scottish Highlands, save for the lack of haggis and potato scones.
For this comparison to work, you do need to ignore the elephant in the room – Aoraki/Mt Cook. But its usual photograph co-star the Church of the Good Shepherd on Lake Tekapo looks like it's lifted straight from bonnie Scotland.
The rolling green hills of south Waikato, with the horsey types, rowing regattas and established oak trees is not too far removed from the home counties of southern England. Mild, if wet. Agricultural, yet clogged with roads.
Chuck in jam and cream scones, the quaint botched English accents of Hobbiton and you're almost there.
Have we missed any off the list? Let us know in the comments.