New Zealand By Train

Riding the rails through vineyards, volcanoes and snow-capped peaks Road-tripping across New Zealand via camper van is a free-spirited traveler's dream.

But a simpler and more sustainable way to go is by train. Opt for a 17-day journey on the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine trains offered by Great Journeys, the tourism division of KiwiRail, New Zealand's national rail operator.

The journey starts in Auckland and explores transcendent sites like volcanic peaks of Tongariro National Park and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum.

Guests ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island and board the Coastal Pacific for a ride through world-class vineyards and along the jagged coast, stopping to whale - and dolphin - watch before ending in Christchurch.

The last leg on the TranzAlpine starts on the lush Canterbury Plains then climbs over Southern Alps.

Accommodations are in four-star properties at stops along the way. Coming in spring : carriages with luxurious reclining seats, panoramic windows and partial glass ceilings. [ Stephanie Pearson ]

Maui Hawaii

A mindful resurgence of tourism after a catastrophic fire.

Maui, Hawaii's second largest-island and one of its most popular among visitors, was dealt a devastating blow last summer when wildfires blazed across its western shores, killing at least 100 people and razing the town of Lahaina.

Nonessential travel to the affected areas was paused for two months; with such tragedy came concerns among travelers and residents about the resurgence of tourism, Maui's top economic sector.

Though Lahaina remains closed, the island is once again welcoming visitors and still brimming with an abundance of activities and lush landscapes to enjoy:

In the community of Kihei, Kamaole State Beach Park is ideal for snorkeling and spotting sea turtles.

Farther north in Kapalua, a gentle walking trail meanders through lava fields and along the sea. And some of Maui's most cherished natural attractions, like Haleakala National Park, are far removed from the fire zone.

Travelers can also go a step further by volunteering to help people displaced by the wildfires. [ Christine Chung ]


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