Thursday, August 11, 2022

Things to see in New Zealand

Australia and OceaniaNew ZealandThings to see in New Zealand

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Mountains, lakes and glaciers

You could say that in New Zealand it is the landscape that is beautiful, and perhaps nowhere more so than in the Southern Alps of the South Island. In Mackenzie country, the jagged snowy peaks rising above the turquoise lakes have inspired many postcards. The country’s highest peak, Mount Aoraki Cook, nestles behind. The lakes and mountains continue south, providing a stunning backdrop to the towns of Wanaka, Queenstown and Glenorchy.

Another area where mountains meet water is Fiordland National Park, where steep, densely forested mountains rise from the sea. The most accessible and perhaps one of the most beautiful is Milford Sound. The drive there is spectacular and the views are even more spectacular when you arrive.

Glaciers may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an island in the South Pacific, but New Zealand has several. The most famous are the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in the Westland National Park. These glaciers are unique in their proximity to sea level and are supported by the enormous amounts of precipitation that fall on the west coast of New Zealand.

Volcanoes and geysers

New Zealand is a geological hotspot and has many dormant and active volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. The best place to start is Rotorua, where the smell of sulphur lets you know you’re close to the action. There are many parks in the area with geysers and hot springs, and Mount Tarawera, the site of one of New Zealand’s most famous eruptions, is just a short drive away.

South of Rotorua, the town of Taupo lies on the shores of the country’s largest lake, which was formed 26,500 years ago in a massive volcanic explosion and increased in size 1,800 years ago in an equally massive explosion (it would have turned the skies over China and Rome red). Beyond Lake Taupo is Tongariro National Park, dominated by its three volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. All three mountains are still active (Tongariro last erupted in 2012) and Ruapehu has a crater lake that can be seen while hiking. Ngauruhoe is famous for its role as Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

North-east of Rotorua is Whakatane, with excursions to White Island, a volcanic island not far from the coast. The island is truly another world with its plume of smoke, green crater lake and pohutukawa trees clinging to a fragile existence on the volcanic rock.

Extinct and dormant volcanoes dot the landscape in many other areas, including Taranaki and three of the largest cities (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin). Hot springs are scattered throughout the country and are often popular bathing spots.

Flora and fauna

New Zealand is so isolated that it has some very special plants and animals. One of the most impressive is the kauri, one of the largest tree species in the world. There are only a few of these giants left (due to overpopulation), but you can catch a glimpse of them on a visit to Waipoua Forest in the Northland. New Zealand has a large number of ferns for a temperate country, including the silver fern, the national “flower”.

The beaches of the South Island, especially those of the Catlins and the Otago Peninsula, are good places to see marine animals such as penguins, seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. The Otago Peninsula is also known for its albatross colony.

Unfortunately, the introduction of parasites and human activities have meant that many of New Zealand’s most unique animals are now threatened with extinction and can only really be seen in captivity. This is the case with the kiwi, the country’s national bird; this nocturnal, flightless bird the size of a chicken is unique because it has its nostrils at the end of its beak and lays the largest egg in the world for its size. Other unique (yet endangered) wildlife species include the takahe, the kakapo (made world famous by the “rare parrot” incident) and the tuatara (a small reptile thought to have existed in the time of the dinosaurs). One of these non-indigenous parasites is the brush-tailed opossum, which was imported from Australia for its silky fur used to make warm, lightweight knitwear.

New Zealand’s national parks are maintained by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and various local governments. Access is generally free, but may be restricted in some parks at certain times of the year due to weather conditions (e.g. avalanche danger) or agricultural requirements (e.g. lambing season). Up-to-date information on accessibility is best obtained from local tourist information centres.

Proposals to eradicate or heavily manage non-native animals are a controversial issue in New Zealand. The most common means of pest control are poison baits. They are applied by ground-based bait stations or, more cost-effectively (though controversially), by helicopter drops. The Department of Conservation and OSPRI/TBfreeNZ provide pesticide summaries that include warnings, maps of affected areas and poisons used. These pesticide summaries are updated regularly.

Urban fare

Although the landscape is New Zealand’s main attraction, it is worth spending some time in the cities. Auckland is a pleasant city with its coastal neighbourhoods like Viaduct Harbour and Mission Bay, its ancient volcanoes (Mt Eden and One Tree Hill), a handful of museums and the Sky Tower, the tallest freestanding building in the southern hemisphere. The most interesting architecture and the beautiful Te Papa Museum are in Wellington, the capital. Napier is worth a visit, if you have time, for its Art Deco shopping centre and Christchurch is interesting for its English character.

How To Travel To New Zealand

By plane New Zealand is very far from any other country, so most travellers fly to New Zealand. The flight time alone from the east coast of Australia is over 3 hours. Auckland and Christchurch are the main entry points. More than 20 airlines connect Auckland Airport with over 35 destinations...

How To Travel Around New Zealand

By bus Buses are a relatively cheap and environmentally friendly way to travel in New Zealand. Services are usually only available once a day, even between major cities. Most roads in New Zealand are quite narrow and winding (compared to US highways), and travelling a long distance by bus can...

Visa & Passport Requirements for New Zealand

Minimum validity of travel documents⦁ Citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand and Australia are only required to present a valid passport on the day of arrival and departure.⦁ Other persons entering New Zealand as visitors, students or temporary workers must present a passport valid for at least 3...

Destinations in New Zealand

Regions in New Zealand New Zealand is a very diverse country with many areas worth seeing, but at a high level it is easier to divide it into its two main islands and the smaller offshore islands. North IslandGentle, with landscapes ranging from sandy beaches, farmland and rolling forests to active...

Weather & Climate in New Zealand

New Zealand has a temperate maritime climate, characterized by warm summers, cool winters, as well as regular precipitation all year round. There are four seasons: Summer in December to February and Winter in June to August (the opposite of the Northern Hemisphere). The country's geography creates about 10 distinct...

Accommodation & Hotels in New Zealand

New Zealand offers a wide range of accommodation. Luxury hotels of international quality can be found in the larger cities. New Zealanders seem to have perfected the art of staying in a private home at a high price. Luxury lodges are the high-end equivalent of the bed-and-breakfast market and there...

Things To Do in New Zealand

Outdoor and adventure activities include: Abseiling from WaitomoRound trip (helicopter and plane)BirdwatchingBlack water rafting (rafting in caves)Boat toursBungy Jump Queenstown, Auckland, Taupo - the modern bungy jump was invented here by New Zealander A.J. Hackett.Canoeing and kayaking on rivers and lakesCanyoningCaving: Waitomo, Nelson, West Coast of the South Island, Te...

Food & Drinks in New Zealand

Food in New Zealand Modern New Zealand cuisine is mainly influenced by the country's British heritage, although immigrants have begun to give it Mediterranean and Asian-Pacific accents since the 1950s. The Māori have their own traditional cuisine. The evening meal, called dinner or tea, is considered the main meal of...

Money & Shopping in New Zealand

The currency in New Zealand The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD, $), divided into 100 cents. It is freely floating and exchange rates can change dramatically in just one week. As of October 2015, one US dollar is exchanged for about 1.50 New Zealand dollars....

Festivals & Holidays in New Zealand

Public holidays in New Zealand are as follows: 1 January: New Year's Day2 January: New Year6 February: Waitangi Day, marking the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.Easter weekend: a four-day weekend in March or April (set according to Western Christian dates) that includes Good Friday,...

Traditions & Customs in New Zealand

Social behavior New Zealanders are generally warm and sociable, but they keep strangers at bay. New Zealand is a country where the words "please" and "thank you" can be used more than once in a sentence without being inappropriate, and where an initial rejection of an offer is part of polite...

Language & Phrasebook in New Zealand

English is the main language of New Zealand, spoken by 97% of the population, and one of the country's three official languages. Te Reo Māori, the language of New Zealand's indigenous Māori people, and New Zealand Sign Language, the language of New Zealand's deaf community, are the other two...

Internet & Communications in New Zealand

Phone New Zealand has a well-developed and extensive telephone system. The country's former telephone company, Spark, claimed in 2009 that there were about 4,000 phone boxes in New Zealand, easily recognisable by their yellow and blue colours, but these numbers are now declining. They accept all major credit cards and...

Culture Of New Zealand

Initially, the Māori adapted the tropical culture of eastern Polynesia to the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, and eventually developed their own distinctive culture. Social organisation was essentially community-based, with families (whanau), sub-tribes (hapu) and tribes (iwi) led by a chief (rangatira) whose position was...

History Of New Zealand

New Zealand was one of the last large land masses to be colonised by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability in Māori populations suggest that New Zealand was first settled by East Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, completing a long series of voyages across the...

Stay Safe & Healthy in New Zealand

Stay safe in New Zealand The main emergency number in New Zealand is 111 and can be used to contact ambulance, fire, police, coastguard and rescue services. 112 works from mobile phones; 911 and 999 can work but are not dependent on them. You can call *555 from your mobile...

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