These protected places are a chance to leave civilisation behind for a few hours or days.

Beautiful parks - both natural and created - are places to walk, practice your photography or doze under a tree in the sunshine. Some are huge - like Fiordland National Park at 1.2 million hectares; others are small but beautifully formed, such as Oamaru’s very Victorian public gardens.

New Zealand’s gardeners and conservationists are famous for their energy and perfectionism. More than a third of the country’s land area is contained within the boundaries of a park or reserve, so you’re never far from some kind of botanic paradise.

If you love wild places, there are 14 national parks to discover - from Tongariro in the North Island to Rakiura on Stewart Island. There are also numerous forest parks, scenic reserves, conservation areas and wildlife sanctuaries.

For those who appreciate cultivated environments, beautiful gardens and public parks can be found in every New Zealand city. Enjoy rhododendrons in Taranaki, roses in Rotorua and camellias in Dunedin.

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