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New Zealand 's South Island was made for road trips. It has glaciers, fjords, volcanoes, vineyards, Lord of the Rings -style forest, impeccable roads, and very few people sharing it. With only a million inhabitants in a landmass the size of New York State, the South Island feels largely untouched and like the ultimate place to connect with nature. Pick up your campervan or car in the "big city" of Christchurch, then drive to the turquoise waters, golden beaches, and verdant palm trees of Abel Tasman National Park . The 37-mile coastal trail along the granite headlands, lush forests, and sandy coves classifies as one of the country's nine Great Walks , though the ability to combine tramping with kayaking, biking, and boating sets it apart. Full story

22 October