The last major landmass to be discovered and the country who is first to see the sun rise on a new day can be found deep down in the Pacific Ocean. New Zealand or Aotearoa (Maori for “Land of the Long White Cloud”) is home to break taking scenery, world renowned food and wines, creative minds and wild outdoor adventure. Native Maori culture is also widely recognized and very prominent throughout the 3 islands that make up New Zealand. The world moves in a much slower pace in New Zealand with the ‘kiwis’ known as very friendly people. The cities and urban life vary constantly throughout the country making New Zealand a great travel destination.
Wellington City, NZWELLINGTON, the bright and vibrant capital city is where art and music mix together with politics and overflow onto the streets. Must see sights of Wellington include Te Papa museum, Mt Victoria lookout, Cuba street, the Weta cave and the parliament building, ”The Bee Hive”. Activities that shouldn’t be missed are a ride on the Cable cars up to the Botanical gardens and a trip to Adrenalin Forest where you can hang from trees like monkeys and test your fear of heights.
Rotorua, NZNew Zealand’s culture centre is ROTORUA. Located in the North Island, Rotorua is an important travel destination for experiencing New Zealand’s culture and natural wonders. Lakes, mud pools, geysers are some of the greatest natural sights and the buried village of Te Wairoa and Matariki Hangi & Maori Cultural Performance are the top culture destinations available. Rotorua also has great activities for all ages. Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland for relaxers and mountain bikes, zorbing and Skyline Luging for the adventure seekers.
Sky Dive over Queenstown, NZQUEENSTOWN is the dream travel location for adrenaline rush lovers. Bungee Jumping, Sky diving, zip trekking, rafting, canyoning, paragliding and jet boating are only some of the thrilling activities available. Situated in amongst the Southern Alps, you are never short of a spectacular views and fresh clean air. For more relaxing entertainment the city has great scenic walks, Spa resorts and Lake tours for all ages.
Auckland City, NZAUCKLAND cannot be missed for its beautiful harbor and variety in both cultures and natural environments. The largest city welcomes you with glistening waters from Waitemata and Manukau Harbour, surrounding rainforests and native bush, dormant volcanoes scattered across the landscape and a family of islands in the Hauraki Gulf. It is a major travel destination within New Zealand because until the last few years it was the main point of entry into New Zealand. But the city is much more than a “point of entry”. To name but a few sights that can be seen; The Harbour Bridge, Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour, One tree Hill, Matakana, the west coast beaches and Parnell Rose Gardens. The varying environment of Auckland provides a wide range of activities for travellers. Boat rides to Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island and across the Harbour to the North Shore are a beautiful way to see the city. Auckland Museum, Harbour bridge guided walk and bungee and a day trip to Goat Island are also other great ways to spend the day.
Christchurch, NZA more relaxed arty atmosphere can be found in the south islands main travel destination, CHRISTCHURCH. Currently going through large amounts of charge due to two damaging earthquakes, Christchurch is still a city with character and spirit. Historical sites include the Arts Centre, Cathedral Square and the trams running on the tramways. For more active ideas, The Botanical Gardens, Pegasus Winery and Avon River provide scenic walks, food and wine and relaxing surroundings. For families and animal lovers the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is a wonderful way to spend a day.
In the recent years New Zealand has become more prolific in the ARTS world. Kiwis are definitely a race of people who think outside the box and find unconventional ways to overcome problems. The Blockbuster, Lord of the Rings trilogy brought intense attention Art Festival, NZto New Zealand, show casing the stunning landscape to the unknown world. Music bands and singers like The Veils, Shapeshifter and Gin Wigmore have crossed country barriers to become worldly popular. The folk comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords, shot into stardom when their stand up show was made into a series and aired around the world, and the TV show, Outrageous Fortune was used as a template for a North American version. Brilliant artists and designers are creating wonders daily, with a lot of influence from nature, theMaori Whare Runanga, NZ surrounding sea and the fact they are thankfully isolated from commercial trends. Culturally, New Zealand a place that appreciates its past influences. Maori CULTURE is seen New Zealand with attention to detail Marae meeting houses located throughout the country. The Maori language is still taught in schools and an official language of New Zealand.
There is no surprise that New Zealanders are huge outdoor lovers, enjoying their backyard through sports and leisure activities. The national sport of Rugby is hugely popular and will always be a topic of conversation. In September 2011, New Zealand will host the RWC for Canyoning, NZthe first time. More than ever you can feel the pride and determination to win on home soil. Other popular sports include netball, tramping, cycling, watersports and EXTREME SPORTS. Many thrill seeking travellers make New Zealand their travel destination for the wide range of extreme sports available in New Zealand. Whether you want to bungee off a bridge, dive the famous Tutukaka waters, body board at 80kph down sand dunes, black water rafting through glow warm cave or sky dive out of a plane. All activities are there and waiting for you to put your body and mind to the test.
New Zealand is truly blessed with a remarkable natural ecosystem. You can move through the country with the scenery constantly changing from beautiful golden Beaches, to Lakeside views, to thick native bush, to Ice Glaciers, to snowcapped mountain ranges and back to the beach but with black sand. New Zealanders take great pride in their clean image, with the marketing tagline being “100% pure NZ”. Walking Tracks snake across the country, in and out of stunning National Parks and are rated in amongst the best in the world. There are both day trips and longer trips available and all are as stunning as the last.
Kaikora beach, NZNew Zealand is covered coast to coast with BEACHES. Going to the beach is a favourite Kiwi past time and when you see them for yourself you understand why! The best travel destinations throughout New Zealand for the sun seekers are; Hot Water Beach, Ninety Mile Beach, Karikari Peninsula Beaches, Raglan, Kaikora, Auckland’s West Coast Beaches, Kaiteriteri Beach and the amazing beaches found in Abel Tasman National Park. Some West Coast beaches in New Zealand have Black sand like Whatipu and Piha. In the high of summer beware for the souls of your feet!
Lake Tekapo, NZLAKES also scatter themselves widely around New Zealand. The largest and most popular is Lake Taupo, located in the centre of the North Island. The lake was made by a volcano, with the fresh water now filling the crater. Here you can mix relaxing activities with high power adventure attractions. Other lakes that make a beautiful destination are Te Anau, Lake Wanaka, Lake Tekapo and Lake Rotorua. Visiting these majestic lakes can make a nice change from the salt water and also provide great locations for water sports.
Fox Glacier, NZA very popular travel destination in New Zealand is to the Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier in Westland Tai Poutini National Park in the South Island. These GLACIERS have to be seen to be believed. Great rivers of ice running down from the Southern Alps to the West coast shores. Without a guided tour you can only get close to the Glaciers for safety reasons, but with a guide you can fully explore the glaciers and be amazed by their sheer beauty.
Tongariro, NZ‘Tamping’ or HIKING is a national pastime in New Zealand and also a strong aspect which makes it a dream travel location for thousands. The Tongariro crossing is a great day trip in the central North Island. Provides great views of Mt Nguahoe and the still active Mt Ruapehu. The South Island is home to the most famous great walks in New Zealand including Heaphy Track, Routeburn Track, Milford Track, Kepler Track and the Abel Tasman Coast Track. All the tracks are located in some of New Zeland finest National Parks.
Kea bird, NZInteracting with the New Zealand environment is the native WILDLIFE. Tui, Fantails, Takahe and cheeky Keas are widely seen birds in the mountains and bush and are magnificent birds to watch. Especially the Kea’s, who are known to unzip unwatchful trampers bags to steal their lunch. Kiwi’s are much harder to spot as they are nocturnal and are surviving through large conservation efforts. But if you are out in the bush at night and stay quiet, you may be lucky to hear their call.
That is only a small, small overview of what New Zealand has to offer the world. It may be geographically isolated but this is what makes it so special. Filled with friendly, relaxed people, New Zealand is a joy to travel around. Take your time, stop at the small places and find all those hidden beaches. It is truly a dreamland.