Long and narrow, we have endless kilometres of coastline, with beaches of all kinds – long and sandy, picturesque bays over hung with our gorgeous silver green ,red flowering pohutakawas, and the stony South Island West Coast beaches, just perfect for rock hounds. Beautiful lakes dot the landscape, and fiords dent the coastline. The many rushing rivers carve their way through the hills, and magnificent mountains .
It is little wonder that New Zealand is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. Water sports of every kind, from the most exhilarating adrenaline pumping extreme sports, to the more sedate such as swimming with dolphins, whale watching or fishing. Whether river based sports such as white water rafting, or sea based such as surfing or kite boarding, there is a comprehensive list.
Our mountains offer a different selection of equally nerve wracking options, along with the more usual but popular snow boarding and skiing. Heli skiing is popular with skiiers wanting to try something a little more demanding, while those chasing the dream of climbing as many peaks as they can, are drawn to our many demanding mountain challenges.
Being exposed, we have our fair share of wind! While the views for air sports are magnificent. Wind sports are numerous, and
* kite boarding
* hang gliding
* hot air ballooning
and all those activities requiring a sail and wind, are found in major tourist destinations, all around the country.
Our bush is unique to New Zealand, with lush, green sub tropical growth -ferns, tree ferns, and a huge range of trees native to New Zealand, many over a thousand years old. The kauri is the king of the forest. These great spreading trees form a canopy, in our many tiered bush.
Tramping and Hiking
Tramping and hiking are very popular pastimes, and there are tracks that range from a few hours to a few days to traverse, with rivers and streams, waterfalls , alpine plants, springs and magnificent mountain and coastal scenery. The most famous is the Milford Track, with several other well known tramps ( the New Zealand term for hiking) in the same area -Greenstone, Routeburn, and in the northern part of the South Island the Heaphy Track. In the North Island, the most popular day walk some suggest in the world , certainly the Southern Hemisphere, is the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This 17 kilometre trek is in Lord of the Rings territory or Mt Doom!
Personally, I would not have said New Zealand was a natural for sports such as cycling. We have a lot of hills! But those who are keen, give it a go. There are many wonderful mountain biking locations. Camping, is very well catered for. Our beautifully situated golf courses attract golfers from around the world. Trout fishing, and deep sea fishing are other activities, that bring people from far and wide. The rich and famous find they can escape into the wilderness, here Down Under and often slip in and out quietly, for a break from their high profile lives.
If culture is more your thing, we have plenty to keep you intrigued. The traditional Maori culture and lifestyle, is a unique experience. They came in their canoes from Hawaiiki over 800 years ago. Rotorua, with its thermal geysers, mud pools and fascinating scenery, is the best single town to embrace all things Maori. Most traditional Maori culture is found in the North Island, where the majority lived.