It’s on the other side of the world,  but you’d think you’d never left home looking at the clematis, daffodils and a whole host of other flowers found in English country gardens. The people speak English and the towns vaguely remind you of home with names like Christchurch, Hastings and Blenheim. On the other hand the contrast of hot springs, boiling mud, thousands of years of Maori traditions and mountains bedecked with sparkling glacier fed lakes, really do make you feel you are on the other side of the world.

If you have a long lost relative or friend or if you have that burning ambition to see New Zealand–then now is the time to do it. No build up will be enough for what you are about to see, hear and feel when you experience that Kiwi Magic…Sixteen scheduled airlines serve New Zealand. Okay, it’s a long journey, but the Airbus 380 and the new Dreamliner jets are the ultimate in luxury and technology. On-board video systems track your course–the world shrinks below as you pass through time zones, and over the Polar Region, Rocky Mountains, the tropics, the equator and International Date Line. Fiji, a group of 322 islands in the Pacific is perfect to take time out of your journey and to be utterly spoilt. The islands are overfilled with strange tropical flowers and trees. Echoing sounds of “Bula!”, the people are warm and friendly–nothing but nothing is too much trouble–and the cost of hotels, sightseeing and souvenirs is very, very cheap!New Zealand itself has a lot to offer. Auckland is the City of Sails.

Climb to the top of Mount Eden, an extinct volcano, where you can see the majestic harbour bridge. Auckland is home to more boats per capita than any other city in the world, a seafarer’s dream where multi-million pound yachts camouflage the perfect turquoise waters.Not far from Auckland the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves are a must for every visitor. Tours include a spectacular boat ride through the grotto and the thousands of glow worm lights are a disco-ceiling, nature style!Rotorua and its curative thermal properties were known to the Maoris long before the arrival of the Europeans. Geysers, bubbling mud and hot pools in Whakarewarewa are part of everyday life. The sulphurous smell in the air and the unexpected sight of steam rising from cracks in the ground never let you forget that the earth has a molten core.

new zealand 2006 1 134

Queenstown is a beautiful lake-edged resort town for adventure seekers! The Remarkable Mountain Range (named by Queen Victoria, although she had never been there!) has some of the best ski slopes in the world. The Shotover Jet boat ride, not for the faint hearted, takes you at high speed down the river missing rocks by inches. Challenging opposing rapids in white-water rafting is all part of the fun. To see the river from a different angle, try bungee jumping. On the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, 143 feet high, throw yourself off, see the river hurtle towards you at speeds of up to 130 mph, safely harnessed by your ankles! And then swing like a pendulum.

The most beautiful scenery to be found in South Island is Fjordland, and the main reason to come to Fjordland is Milford Sound. The cruise up Milford Sound is the best way to appreciate the grandeur of its breathtaking scenery, and admire mile-high Mitre Peak and the beautiful waterfalls that encircle you.Mount Cook–rising majestically to 3764 metres is known as Aorangi–“The Cloud Piercer”.

Nudging its side is the mighty Tasman Glacier, a 20-kilometre high ice giant. Scenic flights in ski planes will leave you stunned at the powerful creations of nature.Conjure up names like Lake Tekapo and Taupo, Wanaka, Te Anau and Wangerei and you will know there’s a lot more to New Zealand than the brief glimpse we’ve given you. If we’ve fired your imagination, you’ll need answers to your questions–tours, accommodation, internal travel options, food, entry requirements, etc, etc, etc. The next stop is easy, come to see us at 3 West Street soon!

 

If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!