Located somewhere over the equator next to Australia and Antarctica, New Zealand is not on our list of countries where we would spend our vacation. It’s far away. So far away, in fact, that it’s very expensive. Flying across the world map, spending a day and a half in the air and paying as much for the flight as a week’s vacation in Europe, and that’s if they even give us a visa… For what?
What is it worth spending two weeks of vacation on the other side of the world? What do we know about New Zealand? Perhaps everyone has heard of The Lord of the Rings and hobbits, someone knows about the kiwi bird and has even tasted New Zealand wine. But we are still in no hurry to add New Zealand to our list of upcoming trips. And for good reason. And here’s why.
New Zealand is a country the size of Japan and in its tiny territory houses almost all the natural beauty that you sometimes go to another continent for. Stretching from the subtropics in the north to the harsh cold regions in the south, it has amazing geography. The North Island has volcanoes, deserts, tropical jungles and beaches, while the South Island has plains, fjords, glaciers and alpine peaks. It even has its own Blue Lakes, the Valley of the Geysers and the Icelandic Strokkur.
Such compactness allows one day to go on a trek through the national park, and the next morning already to surf, sunbathe on a beach with black sand or descend into the caves with fireflies, and then climb to the top of a volcano. Besides, no matter where you are, you’ll always be less than 130 kilometers from the ocean.
New Zealand is:
- hiking mountain tracks among mountain ranges like Torres del Paine;
- take a boat ride through fjords that are indistinguishable from those in Norway;
- ride a bicycle along vineyards;
- nestle in a window on a train, driving along a scenic railroad that would give the Trans-Siberian and the Swiss Jungfrau a head start;
- Have a crazy road trip in a minivan with overnight campsites and enjoy driving on New Zealand roads.
Nature and wildlife
Walking kilometres of trails, there is a good chance of meeting rare animals or birds, because New Zealand is a place with a huge number of endemics. For example, almost everyone has heard of the kiwi. Not the fruit, but the wingless bird with a long thin beak, which is a New Zealand symbol (even New Zealanders themselves have a nickname “kiwi”). Kiwis are in the Red Book, and their population is declining year after year, so it’s a good luck to see them. However, it is not easy: Kiwis sleep during the day and are active only at night.
Fans of all things New Zealand will add a few unusual locations to their lists when traveling through New Zealand. First, here on the East Cape the very first to greet the dawn of a new day (although many are used to thinking that the Land of the Rising Sun is Japan). Secondly, the New Zealand capital of Wellington is the most southern capital in the world, and Blue Lake in Nelson Lakes Park is the most transparent.