Bro! Welcome to the land of Lord Of The Rings, hokey pokey ice cream and the All Blacks rugby team. But it’s the landscape that makes our jaws drop.
New Zealand is chockablock with natural wonders and adorning beauty, and we’ve decided to share 9 of our favourites with you. Come along and see what makes this island so special.
Oh, and did we mention we are giving you the chance to win a 4 day New Zealand escape? Get in now for your chance to win.
Sweet as, bro!
Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park
It would be unwise for us to not have this on our list. Milford Sound is a natural beauty, with towering snow-capped mountains, wispy hovering clouds and the occasional egret. The popular way to experience this is on a cruise, but you can also tackle New Zealand’s greatest walk called the Milford Track (perfect for photographers), take to the sky or even do a day tour.
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Here’s where a bit of hard work pays off, more so if you’re intending to climb all the way to the top. If not, there’s still plenty of other trails to tackle in a day. One of the popular walks is the Hooker Valley Track, with plenty of opportunities for the ample photographer to snap, including the Hooker Bluff Bridge. You can find an array of other tracks here. If you wish to tackle the mountain, head over to Alpine Recreation for a guided climb. It is always recommended to travel in a group.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Perhaps you’re not keen on the outdoors and prefer to get yourself lost inside a labyrinth of underground passages. Look no further than Waitomo Caves, featuring pulsating glowworms and pools of water. Your hardest choice is how to enter: You can walk in, take a boat, abseil, take the zip line or undertake blackwater rafting – an adventurous trek where you crawl, swim and float through the caves. Packing food isn’t necessary, as a handful of cafes reside nearby.
Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki
Here’s something for those seeking an easy-on-the-legs adventure. Take a 20 min loop track and see the natural wonder of Pancake Rocks, literally named for the pancake-like way the rocks are formed, which took over 30 million years. Good things do come to those who wait! As well as stunning natural rock formations, this little spot features amazing blowholes and surge pools. No swimming here though, it’s not the ideal place for it.
This is the Disneyland of geothermal parks and its all thanks to New Zealand’s unique location along the ring of fire. It boasts some clever volcanic activity which has helped create their range of steaming thermal pools.
Don’t forget to pack a camera, as you’ll be kicking yourself otherwise! Tickets start at $32.50 for adults, with a cafe on site to treat your peckish desires.
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
In Australia, we go to the beach to cool down. In New Zealand, they go to the beach to warm up. Swing by within two hours either side of low tide and treat yourself to a warm spa in the sand. This is thanks to an underground river of hot water that flows from within the Earth’s core to the surface. Hire a spade (or bring your own) and dig yourself a pool to relax in and listen to the crashing waves before you.
Rotomairewhenua – Blue Lake, Nelson Lakes National Park
Welcome to the clearest lake in the world, due to the natural spring-feeding from the nearby glacial Lake Constance. But if you wanna see it, you either need to fork out a bit of cash or a fair bit of physical effort. Take to the skies and get a spectacular aerial view of the lake – please note that helicopters won’t land there! Or, for the physically capable, take a water taxi from Lake Rotoroa Jetty to Sabine Hut, then walk from the Sabine Hut to the West Sabine Hut and then hike to the Blue Lake Hut, where you can stay the night. You cannot drive there.
Important: Do not wash your dishes or your clothes in the lake, nor enter the water. It is a sacred and protected site.
While Great Lake Taupo is a tourist attraction in itself, it’s the Huka Falls that wins the tourists. Huka Falls is a bottleneck along the Waikato River, forming 200 metres of gushing water, splashing rapids and wild waterfalls. The flow is controlled by water gates, which can be as low as 50,000 litres a second to as fast as over 300,000 litres a second. The average is around 200,000. That’s like 100,000 2 litre jugs of milk being poured simultaneously. Careful taking pictures of this natural wonder!
Here’s another reason New Zealanders go to the beach (other than swimming): To look at near-perfect cylindrical boulders. And yes, they’re au naturale. Their formation comes from four million years of erosion and natural exhumation. Currently, there are around 50 boulders along Koekohe Beach, while the largest one is at Otago Museum. It is now illegal to damage, graffiti, or remove the boulders, but before the new laws, many small boulders were removed by visitors.