By Zoe Daniel-Beeby , CNN Written by

Ferry rides, over the water, across the ocean, from Waiheke Island to the Garden of Eden. Our travel correspondent, Zoe Daniel-Beeby, shares her 5 top destinations for summer in New Zealand.

Some of the most breathtaking places on earth are actually on the small side.

On the tiny island of Whanganui in New Zealand, for example, there are 300 places to eat. Yes, 300.

And then there's the small town of Ikaroa-Rawhiti, with its 240 hotels, 22 bed and breakfasts and 86 B&Bs. What is it with these places?

Each week, we travel the world. This week, we've chosen New Zealand for its sunshine, idyllic shores and compelling culture.

So load up the car and get off your fairway. These are our 5 top New Zealand recommendations this summer.

1. Whanganui

Located on the South Island of New Zealand, the island is already well known for the whaling industry and cultural significance.

The black and white whale skeleton, now housed in Wellington's Art Gallery, was stolen from inside a whalebone grave in 1850. The historical objects later went missing from the museum.

"Historically Whanganui has had interesting pasts. It's the birth place of the modern drug culture in New Zealand. It's also known as the Rape Capital of the World as a man was charged with raping 28 women here," says Nick McCallum, author of "Whanganui, New Zealand's Intelligent City."

Quirky Haida artwork from the 12th century village of Haavikataauta remains visible here and was held in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

So where to go?

"Whanganui is the largest coastal harbor in New Zealand and tends to be the most popular cruise port on the South Island, as around 50 percent of all cruise ships go there to refuel their ships," says Hannah Morrison, managing director at Sovereign Cruise Consultants.