One of Australia’s closest neighbours across the ditch (Tasman Sea), is the land of the Kiwi, New Zealand. Because it is so close and has very affordable air fares, I have visited New Zealand on many occasions, and not just to ski the slopes, but to marvel at its splendour. I can give you at least 10 reasons to visit New Zealand that will have you lusting for more.
The country is actually comprised of two islands, aptly named the South Island and North Island. The South Island is renowned for its sharp mountain peaks and fiordlands, whilst the North Island is renowned for its volcanic activity, caldera lakes and beautiful beaches on the west coast.
New Zealand is also renowned for its superb wine growing regions and vast sheep farming. In fact there are 39 million sheep in New Zealand, which is just over eight times their population. That’s why there is a standing joke that refers to New Zealanders as “sheep shaggers”!
The South Island has the best skiing on offer with a choice of ski resorts, such as The Remarkables and Coronet Peak (Queenstown); Cardrona and Treble Cone (Wanaka); Mt Hutt in the Canterbury region. Generally July and August is when New Zealand gets most of its snowfall.
Although difficult to access across the South Island’s mountain ranges on the west coast, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are the two most popular fiords in New Zealand. The beautiful lakeside towns of Te Anau and Manapouri are also located within Fiordland National Park, and the area is known as the sightseeing and walking capital of the world.
Nestled between mountain ranges and set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is known as the “adventure capital” of New Zealand. Outdoor enthusiasts and adrenalin junkies flock to Queenstown for the kayaking, bungee jumping, jetboating, white-water rafting, mountain biking, hiking and skiing.
Providing some of the best “ice architecture” in the world, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are located on the west coast of the South Island. There are a variety of guided glacier walks and climbing experiences, to suit all ages and abilities. Plus heli-hikes and scenic flights with or without snow landings are also available.
The highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook with its glacial surrounds, pristine blue lakes and towering alpine peaks is a hikers and photographer’s dream. You can stay at the bottom of the mountain at the village of Mount Cook and embark on hikes from here or take a scenic flight over Mt Cook.
Rotorua, on the North Island is renowned for its geothermal activity with hot springs, thermal parks and surging geysers. The city is located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and is also famed for its Maori culture with a living Maori village. Nearby is Lake Taupo, a caldera lake and the Waikato River and Haku Falls. Trout fishing is very popular in the river.
Located in the subtropical north, the Bay of Islands encompasses 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula and includes the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. The area is a boaties and yachtsman paradise with an abundance of fish and wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more.
The Coromandel Peninsula juts out from the east coast of the North Island, only 168 kms from Auckland. The densely vegetated and hilly peninsula has some lovely little coves and beaches and stunning views from the steep hill tops. What I loved about the peninsula was the fact that it is predominantly unspoilt and untouched.
New Zealand’s largest city is geographically blessed with its location on two harbours and surrounding lush green countryside. A must do is to scale the iconic Sky Tower that has spectacular views of Viaduct Harbour, full of super yachts and lined with bars and cafes. Jump aboard a cruise on the stunning Waitemata Harbour and take in the unique Auckland landscape from the water.
Think of the movie The Piano and the mesmerising beach scenery. It was filmed on location along the West Coast beaches of New Zealand. Less than an hour’s drive from Auckland on the west coast are some of the most striking surf beaches bordering the Tasman Sea. Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Bethells and Muriwai beaches all feature volcanic black sand, rocky clifftops and good surfing waves. You can also walk all of these beaches as part of the multi-day Hillary Trail.
On each one of my trips to New Zealand it has revealed something different and rare. The scenery is breathtaking wherever you look and the best way to see it is to hire a car or campervan, design your own itinerary and get on the road and experience it for yourself. I could easily return here again and again and still lust for more.
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
merry christmas 2017