100 hot and cold winter getaways [Pictures]
By now we're all three layers deep into our down-filled parkas and up to our ankles in slushy, cold white stuff. Perhaps a winter getaway is not in order. Maybe a beach vacation? But whether you like it hot or cold, here are 100 destinations sure to hit the spot.
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New Zealand( Karolina Werner DuBois, For The Baltimore Sun / April 28, 2009 )
Distance from Baltimore: About a 22-hour flight (with stops)
Why it's hot: "The Hobbit" movie was filmed in this South Pacific nation, know for its vibrant green landscape. (The film is so popular here that Air New Zealand recently unveiled a Hobbit-themed plane in Auckland.) The two-island nation offers a vast array of attractions. On the North Island alone you'll find snow-capped mountains, national parks full of hiking trails and roaring white-water, thermal pools to soak in, wildlife found nowhere else on Earth and enchanting Maori culture.
Don't miss: Rotorua, above. Geothermal activity and Maori culture draw visitors to the Rotorua area, where roughly 35 percent of the 70,000 residents are native people. A variety of places offer Maori performances and the traditional hangi meal, cooked in underground pits by geothermal heat. The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is just south and features a bubbling mud pool.
Information: Go to newzealand.com.