New Zealand’s natural beauty makes you want to leave your suffocating cubicle in the middle of grey city and fly all the way to cleanse your lungs in pure, natural air. Zone out from your meetings and let us take you on an imaginary ride to the places you should visit in the land of Kiwis. ??
1. Bay of Islands
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Bird’s eye view of the Bay of Islands[/caption]
Just like the name, the Bay of Islands encompasses more than 140 islands along the Northern coastline and hosts a variety of activities for visitors to indulge themselves in.
From appreciating the bloody history of the lands at Ruapekapeka Pa and Roberton Island…
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Ruapekapeka Pa: the land where the Maori tribe fought against British colonials for their independence.[/caption]
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Roberton Island: The island where the Roberton family was murdered by Maketū Wharetōtara[/caption]
…to paving your way across the archaeological walking trails at Urupukapuka Island…
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Trekking on Urapukapuka Island[/caption]
…to scuba diving in the clear turquoise waters of Waewaetorea…
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…the Bay of Islands has got it all.
2. Lake Wakatipu
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Lake Wakatipu painted in all shades of blue.[/caption]
Imagine a scenery painted with all the shades of blue and you’ve got Lake Wakatipu (hey, that rhymed!).
Naturally taking the shape of a lightning bolt, Lake Wakatipu is the third-largest lake and the longest lake in New Zealand situated in the South Island. Drive along the lake or take a morning walk to experience a tranquil panorama that will tug at your heartstrings even after you move on. For those who want to experience being on the lake, they have speedboat and steamboat services for tourists.
3. Lake Tekapo
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Pink and purple Russell Lupine flowers at Lake Tekapo.[/caption]
Before you claim that the above image is a photoshopped image used only for Windows’ background, let me tell you that the scene is indeed real, and it lies in the heart of the Mackenzie Country. Lake Tekapo not only provides hydro electrical energy to neighbouring towns, it also offers a long list of unique activities surrounding the lake and Mount Cook.
4. Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky ReserveCredit:Earth & Sky on Flickr
Following the ride from Lake Tekapo, you will arrive at Aoraki Mackenzie. Due to the high quality of its starry night, over 4300m of Aoraki Mackenzie land is acknowledged as a certified International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) International Dark Sky Reserve. Home to a rare view, you can see the Milky Way all year round!
5. Lake Pukaki
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Sparkling turquoise water of Lake Pukaki sourced from molten glaciers.[/caption]
A neighbor of Lake Tekapo that runs along the Northen Edge of the Mackenzie, Lake Pukaki is no less stunning with a unique color derived from glacial flour. If you’re on a personal drive, have a stop at the Information Centre and Mount Cook Alpine Salmon for their positively-acclaimed salmon dishes. You can even purchase fresh salmon and smoked salmon from the Centre.
6. Koekohe Beach near Moeraki
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The famous dinosaur egg-shaped Moeraki boulders.[/caption]
The main reason people come by and visit the Koekohe Beach on the Otago Coast is because of the spherical boulders located along the shores. These boulders age more than 40 million years and carry a thrilling mythical story behind their creations.
7. Milford Sound
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Milford Sound as viewed from the air[/caption]
Dubbed as the ‘eighth world wonder’ by author Rudyard Kipling, Milford Sound is a natural wonder that is almost untainted by humans. The lake stretches for 16km and houses two waterfalls – the Stirling Falls and the Lady Bowen Falls.
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Getting up close to the waterfalls[/caption]
The lake is accompanied by Mitre Peak, an iconic mountain by the shores of Milford Sound which is the most photographed mountain in the country.
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Seeing double? The Mitre Peak are reflected on Milford Sound[/caption]
You can drink in the cool beauty of Milford Sound and the formations surrounding it in three ways: either by coach, cruise, flight, or all of them. The cruise is highly recommended as they take you as close as possible to the waterfalls (sometimes even under them) and if you’re lucky, you might even encounter a group of seals!
Opt to be dropped off at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory at Harrison Cove. You can dive more than 500 meters deep and view the underwater creatures without actually getting wet and cold.
8. Glowworm Caves
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Glowworms illuminating Waitomo Caves at North Island[/caption]
Usually, we get squeamish at the mention of bugs, much less worms, but the glowworm (arachnocampa luminosa
) is a sensitive creature that naturally emanates lights on the ceiling of the Waitomo Caves. Visitors are streamed down the Waitomo River in complete silence as they are guided under these magical creatures.
Visitors are not allowed to take pictures of the glowworms or the caves. Also, the entire ride requires complete silence as to not disturb the glowworms, so you might need to bribe your kids with a sweet treat to keep them from crying.
9. Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland Credit: paulreiffer
Waiotapu literally translates to ‘sacred waters’ a term befitting this naturally formed hot springs. The Waiotapu Geothermal Wonderland is made up of a Geothermal Area that is known for the vibrant colour of the waters, the Lady Knox Geyser that goes off at 10.15 a.m. everyday, and the Boiling Mud Pool. Although you cannot take a dip in the waters, you can still be charged by the earthly energy radiating from the active volcanic area.
10. Pancake Rocks, PunakaikiCredit: rebeccablachut
Park your cars at the main highway to Punakaiki and walk 20 minutes to witness rock formations that resembles stacks of pancakes. It may surprise you to know that the formation is sourced from fragments of dead sea creatures. The best time to view them is at high tide, where the blowholes are active with the rising water. The entire walk is relatively easy and would only take 20 minutes of your day.
As you can see, New Zealand is the perfect place for natural landscape lovers and the adventurous traveler. So let’s start packing our lunch from home and collect our spare change in a jar. With these efforts, I'm sure we'll get there and enjoy nature's wonders.