Although often times in the gigantic shadow of its Australian neighbor, New Zealand is worlds apart from any experience found elsewhere and it is geographically much farther southeast than most people imagine. New Zealand is a former British colony, with fascinating cultural influences due to its location in southern Polynesia. Large swaths of rolling green meadows, churning geysers, creaking glaciers, and never-ending stretches of magical overgrown beaches encourage travelers to make the long haul across oceans to indulge in the disarming natural beauty of New Zealand year after year.
New Zealand was one of the last landmasses to be inhabited, only discovered in 800 AD by Polynesian navigator Kupe. The discovery initiated a steady stream of migration from today’s French Polynesia until Dutch Abel Tasman and finally James Cook came across the islands and claimed them for the British Crown, ruled from Australia. The native Maori people are still a considerable minority, enriching the cultural climate of the largely European (Pakeha) nation.
Cinematic Sanctuaries and Bungy* Jumping Buffs
New Zealand’s geography is divided into two major north-south islands. Depending on where you travel and the time of year, the activities and topography will change dramatically. The South Island is famous for its unique relics of the last Ice Age, the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers, which plunge just below the islands tallest peak in the Southern Alps, Mount Cook. These glaciers are particularly spectacular because they continue to flow through temperate rainforest strikingly close to sea level. Winter in the Alps region is excellent for skiing, mountaineering and filmmaking – scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia were filmed here. For a thrilling wildlife experience, do not miss the South Island’s Otago Peninsula where you can enjoy a cozy bed and breakfast among sea lion, sea elephant and penguin habitats, to name a few.
The North Island is relatively warmer during the summer and milder all year long. Put yourself ‘on edge’ with a trip to serene Lake Taupo, which also happens to fill the caldera of one of the largest super-volcanoes in the world. Extreme outdoor sports abound on both islands, as New Zealand is the original inventor of Bungy Jumping (also found at Lake Taupo) among other creatively dangerous activities. The west coasts are extremely popular for black water rafting, otherwise known as cave rafting. This exhilarating experience should not be missed, even by the beginner. If a new heart rate is not what you are looking for, make your leisurely way to Ninety Mile Beach at the very north end of the island; the name is not deceiving and the experience is absolute paradise in the summer months. The Great Barrier Island to the east is a mind blowing underwater experience for most scuba divers and an equally sensational getaway for the sand-bound.
New Zealand is a destination for all seasons, with activities spanning the elements and progressive cities to keep up with those of faster pace. Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown are all very youthful and spirited cities with the distinct eclecticism of New Zealand culture to overload the senses and invigorate the spirit. New Zealand may be far from most places in the world, but it is certainly worth any length of travel to reap the fruit of this nation’s existence. Travel to New Zealand and experience it all for yourself.
Planning a trip to New Zealand
Beauty of Nature found in New Zealand. Many of us have always dreamed of planning a visit down under. Traveling through countries like New Zealand can be an eye opening and interesting experience for everyone. It is something that requires a lot of planning and a lot of thought, so you should be sure that you are up to the task of the planning before you begin.
Try to imagine outside areas that are completely different from anything that you have ever seen before. This is what is awaiting you in New Zealand. The best thing that you can do while planning a trip to this country is to get ready to be outdoors.
One of the things that you can discover while in New Zealand is the Maori culture. This is a big part of life in New Zealand. The culture came from migrations by Polynesians about 700 years ago. This is 200 years before the European history even really begins. Most of the names of the places, the arts, and the architectures in New Zealand come from this culture, and reflect how they have shaped a society around it.
There are many places in New Zealand where you can learn about the historical significances that happened. In Waitangi, there is much to learn about a treaty that happened to change all of the courses of history for New Zealand forever. There is also much to learn about the gold rush in Otago, because this city still displays many of the relics of the country-wide gold rush that changed the face of New Zealand. Also, in Napier, there is much to learn about the Art Deco architecture, which only came about because of the city’s almost total destruction by an earthquake in 1931.
One of the greatest things about traveling in New Zealand is simply hearing the stories that are told in every city and town. You should be confidant to ask questions of anyone you see, regarding the sties to see, the different buildings or monuments, or the statutes. The people of New Zealand are extremely friendly and love to spend time talking to other people who have come to visit their country. They love to teach others about their land, and will always find time to answer your questions as a tourist.
Being outdoors in nature is the best way to experience New Zealand and all that it has to offer. You should be prepared to spend much of your time outdoors, because there are scenic displays like you have never seen before. What other country allows you to swim with beautify wildlife and also to walk a glacier in the same day? Ocean life, wildlife, and weather all give you excellent shows that you will never forget.