13th March, 2019
Most breathtaking New Zealand scenery
It’s hard to rave about New Zealand without sounding like we are trying to promote one of our most far-flung, long-haul destinations, but if you haven’t visited this beautiful antipodean beauty, you really are missing out.
New Zealand is a land of stunning contrasts, with some of the most picturesque scenery and freshest air on the planet. From the tropical rainforests and rolling hills of the north-island, to the glaciers and fiords of the south-island, it’s hard to believe that there is such a spectrum of landscapes all packed into a country that’s roughly the same size as the UK.
Here is a run down of some of the most breathtaking scenery in New Zealand, broken down by island.
Bay of Islands
Located in the far north, this archipelago of 140 sub-tropical islands is a paradise for those wanting to explore unspoilt beaches and hidden coves and discover Maori culture. If you’re keen to get out onto the water, there are a number of boat trips that will take you around the islands, and dependent on the swells, through the infamous Hole in the Rock on Piercy Island. If you prefer your feet to be on dry land, visit a traditional Marae (meeting place) and Maori village in Paihia.
Under the town of Waitomo lies a complex network of limestone caves and interesting rock formations. It is most famous for its glowworms, also known as arachnocampa luminosa. There are thousands of them that light up the cave system and people travel far and wide to see them. Inside Ruakuri Cave, you can marvel at the stunning waterfalls.
In the centre of the island lies Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, by surface. It sits at the foot of the Taupo volcano and is a freshwater lake where you can enjoy an array of boating activities and watersports. North of Lake Taupo is Huka Falls – where the Waikato River narrows through a ravine of volcanic rock. The result is a ferocious, perpetual blast of water that plunges into a pool below, where jetboats provide exhilarating experiences for adrenaline junkies, in the spray.
Milford Sound is New Zealand’s most popular tourist destination – a stunning fiord located in the south-west of the south-island and home to Mitre Peak. Set in the Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site, its surrounded by waterfalls cascading from the rainforests and is a beautifully serene place to take a gentle boat trip to perhaps spot seals and dolphins. So picturesque is Milford Sound, it was named the eighth Wonder of the World by Rudyard Kipling.
This stunning mountain range in Otago, south-island, provides a dramatic backdrop to Lake Wakatipu. Just 40 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, this alpine region is a haven for skiers, owing to its north-facing slopes and its five terrain parks that cater for beginners through to pros. For great views of the Remarkables, take a trip up Cecil Peak via cable car and look back over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.
Coined New Zealand’s finest coastal park, Abel Tasman is a wilderness reserve at the top of the south-island. It may be New Zealand’s smallest national park, but it offers an incredible track, covering ridges, beaches and coves. It’s an adventure-seeker’s paradise, with options to explore on foot or by water, with many choosing to traverse the coastline by kayak. At Separation Point, you may be lucky enough to spot bottlenose dolphin, blue penguins and fur seals.
When it comes to New Zealand scenery, this really is the tip of the iceberg. There are very few places that don’t offer breathtaking views and you really do need to see it for yourself to fully appreciate the magnitude of its beauty.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.
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