Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kia Ora - Welcome To New Zealand Part 1

The North Island: Te Ika-a-Maui (Maori)

Champagne Pool, Rotorua
New Zealand is broken into two islands: North and South.  Both offer completely different terrains, activities and cultures.
77% of New Zealand's population resides in the North you will find political history, rich Maori culture and a beautiful blend of landscapes from endless coastline and farmlands and geothermal terrains.  

I want to go over with you the various towns, cities and places you can visit while there!

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Northland and Bay of Islands

Explore this subtropical region in the northern most part of New Zealand by exploring the Twin Coasts: the rugged and magical west coast and then heading over to the more urban east coast.  You can get around the entire 800km island via Twin Coast Discovery Touring Route and if you drive non-stop it will take 14 hours but why do that.  Plan for 5-7 days to explore the area so you do not have just a brief visit. 

90 Mile Beach 

After surfing one of the best left breaks in the world stick around for a jaw dropping sunset. People call it "an almost never ending paradise."

Hokianga Harbour

Here is where some of the first polynesian settlers reached New Zealand and almost first made contact with Europeans.  Stop here for a view of the rich Maori culture that created the beautiful country.

Cape Reinga

Here is the northern most tip of New Zealand and also where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea collide and where the Maori people believe is the departing place for spirits making their final journey to the homeland.  It is a beautiful and powerful place. 

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This is the largest city in New Zealand is also the largest Polynesian city in the world.  Being the main travel hub in the country it has created a huge influx of tourists and attractions.  While visiting here make sure you hike any of the 48 volcanic cones in the area for panoramic views of the city and sea.  The most popular day trip is a quick ferry ride away to an island called Rangitoto - great for hikers and bird watchers. 
And while you are in a city there are ample opportunities to get lost in nature.  You are surrounded by lush rain forests, black and golden sand beaches, rollings hills of vineyards, gardens and endless bays to explore.  

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The Coromandel Coast
Cathedral Cove in Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve
Travel across the Gulf of Auckland to Coromandel for everything a city does not offer.  Known for being the most laid back, unspoiled and rustic village and offering some of the most pristine beaches in New Zealand it is one of the most loved destinations of travelers.  Spend your days, fishing, swimming, diving, kayaking, hiking, biking or sky diving.  One of their most popular attractions is the Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own personal spa. Like every laid back, earthy town you will find a plethora of fun, artsy shops and divine local cuisine...you may never want to leave! 

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Hamilton - Waikato Region
This is where the famous blue glow worm resides! Explore the Waitomo Caves by boat to see stalactites and stalagmites lit up by the glow worms...truly an awe inspiring experience.

And for all you Tolkien fans out there head over to the Hobbitan movie set in Matamata to take a guided tour of the hobbit size village that was built for the movie set. 

 Also in Matamata is the North Island's highest waterfalls which plunge a wopping 153 meters and you can walk the trail to see all the falls on the Wairere Falls walking track! 

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Here is one of the places where the fierce earthly forces that formed New Zealand are most apparent.  The city is located on the Volcanic Plateau and has one of the most lively fields of geothermal activity in the world because it sits directly on the Pacific Rim of Fire.  As we all know when you are in areas of such geothermal activity you will find geysers and hot springs so take the time to explore all of them for a spa like experience.  
Also, this area is known for its outdoor activities like sky diving, zip lining, luging, zorbing, mountain biking, white water rafting and trout fishing.  

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Hawkes Bay

Welcome to New Zealand's wine country.  This region is the sunniest and driest and produces some of the world's best red wines and also some delectable whites.  If you were to tour the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail you would start here.  Or tour the region via hot air balloon!

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"The coolest little capital in the world." That is what Lonely Planet guide book said about New Zealand's capital city recently and for good reason.  Wellington buzzes with world-class museums, art galleries, restaurants, food and wine delicatessens as well as outdoor activities.  This young and hip city lacks nothing!

Spend your days or nights at any of the fun and eclectic cafes for live music and local art or grab a sandwich before you hit the trails to Makara Peak.  

And you cannot leave Wellington until you have tour this grand city via cable car.  The Wellington Cable Car is a functional railway that provides access to all the residents and businesses in the city and also one of the most fantastic views of the area.

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If you decide to plan your trip to New Zealand start sooner rather than later and call United Military Travel to speak to a travel consultant to help in your planning. 

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Thank you so very much for taking the time to visit my blog! Traveling is very dear to me and sharing my travels and desires with you makes my heart smile. I want to hear all about your adventures because sharing travel stories is the root to all inspiration. Also, any suggestions you may have on how I can improve this blog - I am all ears!!
Allie xoxo