If you are from Europe, New Zealand is one of the most remote places in the world. In the very distant past New Zealand separated from other continents. Today it is situated alone 2000 kilometers from the closest continent – Australia. In the following weeks we are going to discover and explore many beautiful places in Zealand. Let's start by introducing you to the lesser and more "civilized" part of the country. The Northern Island.
The main reason why to visit both islands of New Zealand is amazing nature. It changed after the men had arrived. Still you may find there animals and plants unlike anywhere else in the world. For instance, fern growing here look like they came straight from the era of dinosaurs, the iconic non-flying bird kiwi is an example of the fact that the island is not only home to predators. The men brought in here the first mammal to the island. If we don't count the ones which either swimmed there or flied here. Mere thousand years ago perhaps only bats, sea lions, and seals lived there.
It is not just fauna and flora what lures in visitors from all around the world here. The Lord of the Rings, Hobit, and Narnia movies bring here many visitors as well for these movies made local breathtaking, gorgeous nature famous. It changes constantly. The North Island resembles green Ireland at some places. However, here the weather is much better. Hills around here have sheep and corws grazing upon grass. Except vast area around Auckland and Wellington, mostly there are quiet towns, villages, and farmsteads.
You may stop on some of the local beaches almost any time. Ninety Miles Beach, the longest of them, with its dunes is one of the most beautiful places in the whole island. Roundish green hills give place to forest covered mountains and waterfalls .
In the middle of the North Island there is subsequent volcanic activity. Thermals springs, smelly fumes, toxic colored lakes of Rotora, and Tongariro National Park. The latter became the template for Mordor in the Lord of the Rings. Making an alpine hike is one of the best things you can do in New Zealand.
Each of us has a dream that you either meet, or is life just a dream. My dream has always been seen at least once a paradise on Earth, which is almost untouched by human activity - and this paradise is called New Zealand. I am glad that I belong to that group of people who have their dream fulfilled, even at the price that had to touch you deeper into the wallet.
Nelson town is one of the oldest in New Zealand. It was the very first town on New Zealand's southern island. Sights, however, are not what is interesting the most about this town. It is the place with most sunny days on the Southern Island. Moreover, it is surrounded by amazing nature. Among the most popular activities are trips to the Abel Tasman national park.
In the last parts of our series we saw several places in the northern island of New Zealand. Now we start exploring the southern one which is larger, wilder, and there are more mountains. It is dominated by the summits of the South Alps especially Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the country – 3 754 m.
Are you traveling to the north of New Zealand? Be sure to stop behind Whangarei town with 16 kilometer wide Bay of Island. Nature there is great as well as waterfalls and trips to see dolphins, whales and amazing beaches.
In the very heart of New Zealand's norhter island there is the most active volcanic area in the country. There is high geothermal activity around hte town of Rotorua. You may smell sulphur all around and sulphur steam springs out of the ground on many places. Also you may see bubbling mud lakes, hot springs, and other interesting natural phenomena.
New Zealand is fascinating for its diversity and extremes. Tongariro national park is no exception. Beautiful, pleasant landscape surrounding Taupo lake changes to volcanic desert. Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 20 kilometer trail which is one of the most popular in the country. Infoglobe brings you closer to this amazing experience.
Both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Ring trilogies were shot on New Zealand. The movies inspired many tourists to come to the country. Many fly in solely to see the film sets. The most famous one is Hobbiton. Today, we make a short trip to introduce it to you.
Have you ever heard of gannets? These blue-eyed sea birds who come unbelievably fast head down right into the ocean to catch their food. I have been always fascinated by them when I saw them in nature documentaries. I managed to get a close look at them on Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand.
A mere hour and half southeast from Auckland, there is the paradise for people who love nature and the place which is, according to me, one of the most beautiful of norhtern island's – the Coromandel Peninsula. The peninsula is largely covered with tropical rain forest and beautiful mountains. Let's see it for ourselves.
A visit to New Zealand begins in Auckland in case of many. The city is situated on the northern island. Even though Aucklad is not the capital, about one third of country's population lives there. There is majority of economic activity, culture, art, and gastronomy. Let's make a short stop in Auckland. It would be pity to see Auckland only from the airport.
The largest city of New Zealand's southern island was badly damaged during heavy earthquakes between 2010 and 2012. Still, it has been developing quite fast since. It is worth visiting to see, how a restoration of such a place might look like.
After a five hour bus ride we arrived at Vienna's Schwechat airport, where we have about another 5 hours to departure. The flight from Vienna to Zurich, Switzerland was relatively quick and calm compared to the other two.
Our first stop after Auckland was according to scheduled Rotorua represents area of geothermal activity and centre of Maori culture. In Rotorua we arrived around noon by bus company InterCity (journey from Auckland took about 4 hours) and already on arrival we could feel its magic.
The next morning we were going to the next thermal area called Waiotapu, which is lying about 27 km south of Rotorua. Our original plan was that we go from Rotorua further by hitchhiking and the buses we will use just rarely. The reality, however, was eventually reversed.
It was my dream for since ever I wanted to visit New Zealand. It was like a magnet and after all those years I finally fulfilled my dream. So I bought a ticket, planned a route, said good bye and set out for real adventure!
The captain of a ship just wrote me from the Bay of Island. I had to hurry and get to Wellington as fast as possible. The road was supposed to take me about two days however, I managed to hitchhike to Picton in a day. So I get to the captain a day earlier. He took me from the south of the Northern Island up to Bay of Island where we spent a nice week on a boat.