"The Land of the Long White Cloud" is familiar to most audiences through the stunning backdrops of Peter Jackson’s iconic films. Rest assured, the scenery is no less awe-inspiring in real life. A heady mix of lush tropical foliage, pounding waves, mountain highlands, snow-capped mountains and fjords juxtapose themselves against one another—the country is a sight to see beyond the silver screen. What Middle-earth does not convey is the warmth and easy-going charm of modern New Zealand life. Though not the nation’s capital (that honor goes to Wellington), Auckland is home to nearly a third of the nation's population, forming an international metropolis that nevertheless remains true to the Kiwi spirit, where world-class facilities and luxury labels are seen hand-in-hand with ancient Māori culture and a passion for the natural surrounds.