Travel To New Zealand
With its pristine landscapes, New Zealand provides tourists with a once in a lifetime experience. It’s a country perfect for those seeking a unique adventure. Despite it being relatively small in area, New Zealand boasts a diversity of opportunities for visitors to explore.
Visitors to New Zealand have several choices when it comes to seeing and experiencing the sights and sounds of the country. Here are some of the must-see places in New Zealand:
1. Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland
In the Maori language, Wai-O-Tapu means ‘sacred waters.’ Located on New Zealand’s North Island, the Taupo Volcanic Zone boasts some dramatic geothermal landscapes, including hot springs and boiling mud pools. Wai-O-Tapu is just north of the Reporoa caldera.
The government protects these 18 square kilometers of geothermal area. However, a portion of the reserve is open to the public. It is currently operated by Te Arawa Group Holdings which is a local Maori tribal business.
The area’s thermal lakes and pools create a rainbow of colors, with the dramatic geysers spouting steam and water into the air. Most notable among the many sights is the Champagne Pool, so-called because the water looks reminiscent of a glass of bubbly.
The Lady Knox Geyser is another unmissable landmark. It erupts at 10:15 each day. The water jet it emits is up to 20 meters high, and the eruption can last for over an hour.
Fiordland is immediately recognizable to fans of the Lord of the Rings films. It is here that the epic adventures were filmed, across panoramic landscapes, breathtaking in their beauty. It is located on New Zealand’s southwestern side.
What makes Fiordland so spectacular is that the area is mostly untouched by humankind. The government has restricted access to the area to maintain its natural splendor.
Consequently, the area can be only be reached at certain places by boat or airplane. Trees cling to cliffsides in seeming defiance gravity. Tranquil waters bisect misty mountains and erupt into the sea in powerful cascades.
Its rivers, lakes, and fjords together with the towering mountains and forests remain remote, untouched, and untamed. Their massive scale is impressive from the air, where visitors can take guided flights around the area.
It’s important to have a lot of time on your hands if you wish to cover the entire area. The best way to feel it is by turning off your laptops and mobile and immerse yourself in the purest form of nature.
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3. Franz Josef Glacier
Located on the South Island, the Franz Josef Glacier is part of the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Right in the rain forests, the glacier lies beckoning those who answer the call of the spirit of adventure. Franz Josef is a 12-kilometer glacier originating in the Southern Alps and culminating near the Tasman Sea.
The glacier is constantly on the move. On average, it moves 50 centimeters each day. As a result, no two trips to the glacier are the same. Its continuously changing landscape makes Franz Josef Glacier a fascinating place to visit.
For those who don’t feel up to hiking the glacier, there are several walks and trails around it that offer spectacular views. The only way to access the glacier to hike it is by helicopter. This preserves the glacier and makes accessing safer for visitors. The Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s steepest, making it a challenging, yet rewarding, climb.
4. Te Papa Tongarewa
image: Wikipedia: Rheins
The Te Papa Museum is located in the country’s capital, Wellington. The museum keeps the many stories of New Zealand alive for both citizens and tourists to learn about. The government is active in preserving the language, history, and culture of the Maori.
As the country’s indigenous inhabitants, the Maori people, and their culture take center stage at the museum. Exhibitions seek to educate visitors about the past, present, and future of the Maori people. The cultural exhibitions shine a light on this unique group and their importance in modern-day New Zealand.
In Maori, Te Papa Tongarewa means a ‘container of treasures,’ which is exactly what the museum offers. The treasures aren’t limited to New Zealand, its natural heritage, and people alone. Several of the science and history exhibitions have an international flavor, with a focus on space and technology.
The museum offers an interactive experience for the visitor. When going to the museum, visitors can choose to walk around by themselves or take advantage of guided tours.
5. The Glow Worm Caves of Waitomo
By far, one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences is a visit to Waitomo’s Glow Worm Caves. Waitomo is located on the country’s North Island in the Waikato region some 200 kilometers from Auckland.
What sets the sleepy rural town of Waitomo aside from any other New Zealand town is the presence of some very special worms. Interestingly, the worms for which Waitomo is famous aren’t worms at all. The fly larvae in the nearby caves are what the tourist attraction is centered around. They emit a phosphorescent glow that lights up the walls and roof of the caves.
While the scientific explanation might not sound too attractive, the effect of the glow in the caves is captivating. There are different options for visitors wanting to experience the magic of the caves.
The more adventurous might want to try the blackwater tubing option but should know that it involves abseiling and climbing as well. Some of the bigger caves can be visited by boat for those who want to experience the glow without too much of a workout.
From its rich history to its bio-diverse ecology, New Zealand is for many tourists an as yet undiscovered gem. While it might be described (accurately) as being on the edge of the world, the country offers visitors many experiences they won’t find anywhere else.