|One of the most exotic places not just in Oceania but also the world, New Zealand is a rare non tropical place in the southern hemisphere where it’s possible to go surfing, diving, hiking up and mountain climbing all in the same country. As New Zealand isn’t far from Australia, I had assumed that these two countries would be alike, but in fact as far as geography goes they couldn’t be more different! New Zealand’s weather is much cooler than Australia, with the country’s South Island covered with glaciers and home to penguins. Whatever your reason for your visit, you can make your stay more enjoyable with the best Wellington hotels.|
|Above is the only photo I took of any kind of man made object in Zealand. This trip was taken along with my Australia trip way back in 2004 when I only wanted to explore nature and was somewhat close minded of visiting cities. As a matter of fact, the only reason I took the photo above was because it was part of a national park. All of New Zealand is full of geothermal activity, and this place I called the thermal village because of all the steam rising up from the ground.|
|Above are two other photos from the same national park, showing some small lakes and ponds that would burn at the touch. The same can be said about the temperature of the boiling mud below. This boiling mud pond made some exaggerated noises that I thought sounded like a witches pot from a cartoon.|
Home to hundreds of geysers as well, New Zealand is probably the best place in the entire southern hemisphere to view them. Above is a photo of one erupting in a national park I visited. On the right you can see some of the raw material spewed out to earth’s surface. The large geyser above was constantly erupting, maybe every hour or so.
Almost at the end of the North Island is a place known as the Bay of Islands. This bay is one of the most famous places in the country for both fishing and sailing. Of course it gets its name from the dozens of different exotic islands located within the bay here. While visiting I took a boat out that passed by most of the islands, and it seemed that almost each one was unique in some way. The photo of the left is probably the highlight of the Bay of Islands and is know as ‘hole in the rock’. Our boat even got to drive through the whole, just like the ship above is about to do. Below are two other islands that I passed by. The one on the left is known as seagull island, and the white on top is usually said to look like snow, even but is actually the result of birds that seem to like to land here for some reason. I liked the color of the water here against the green trees above in the other island on the lower right. After we left this island, we had a school of dolphins follow our boat who began jumping about 5 feet up in the air, a free show!
|The waterfall on the right, is actually from the Bay of Island area. On the left is Whangarei Falls, located farther south but still in the North Island. This is known as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of New Zealand, I regret not having a better camera and sun at the time!|
|These two above photos are from random parts of the country. Like I said earlier, before arriving to New Zealand I was expecting the land to be similar to east Australia for some reason. Obviously I couldn’t have been more wrong, and even before my plane landed in Auckland I looked out the window and saw some of the greenest scenery I had ever seen in my life.|
Despite all of New Zealand’s unique wildlife, I only took these two photos. I suppose the horses on the right are obviously cheating since they are domesticated, but at least I got the large goose on the left. I’m not sure what the name of this species is, but it’s a pretty big bird and not too shy so I was able to get close up. The national bird of New Zealand is called the Kiwi, and nationals also call themselves Kiwis as well. These flightless birds have five species, all are endangered and endemic to both islands of New Zealand. Kiwis are shy and nocturnal, so normally they are hard to find, below is a Kiwi habit in the north.
|These surrounding four photos are from the seaside town of Tauranga. I did some hiking here with some great friends who showed me a trail that goes up into the mountain and gives some great views below. Above are two shots of the rocky coast, and below are two shots taken from a high vantage point. I’m not sure of the species of bird below, but my friends here said they often see wildlife here, once even seals!|
|I’d say my two most amazing experiences in New Zealand were definitely adventures I did in the caves in the north island. Unfortunately you can’t bring any cameras so I could only photograph the outside of one of the caves I entered seen above. This cave took me on my ‘blackwater rafting’ trip, which involves taking a rubber tube and basically flowing down an underground river with a headlamp on. At one point we all turned off our headlamps to see glow worms lining the ceiling 40 feet above us looking like stars. The other adventure I did was a 300 foot rappel down into a cave called the lost world. The cave opens up through a vertical hole that you descend into and then climb out the cave later. I Below are photos of me, on the right descending into the lost world, and on the left, a photo of me and the entrance.|
|These last two photos are random pictures of a swamp I came across. At first, I took these pictures because the swamp reminded me of one used in the movie lord of the rings, so I thought maybe part of the movie was filmed here. At the time of my visit in 2004, lord of the rings were very popular, and they were offering tours to places where the movie was filmed, in many locations some of the props were still left behind.|