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Destin-Nation New Zealand: Southern Hemisphere Madness (PHOTOS)

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There are few countries better suited for adventure travel than the remote island nation of New Zealand. The intersection of breathtaking landscape and death-defying Kiwi ingenuity has made New Zealand one of the top destinations for brave souls looking to try a variety of extreme sports and outdoor excursions.

New Zealand's North and South Islands have their own distinct offerings: The North Island is best known for it's beaches, volcanic formations and major metropolitan life while the South Island holds the majority of scenic and daredevil destinations.

Though these islands may be hard to reach, once a traveler makes landfall they will find it fairly easy to get around, whether on group bus tours or on cheap domestic airlines. The even better news is that friendly Kiwis are always eager to help tourists.

Bonus: New Zealand's seasons are opposite to North America's, so the best rates can be found during the Northern Hemisphere's summer months - a great time for skiing though the weather may not be favorable for much else.

The best times to visit? February through April or September through November, but keep in mind that the 2011 Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand from September 9th to October 23rd. Rates can be expected to be higher than average during the cup.

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