New Zealand’s treasures are its cinematic natural fantasia, befitting any Tolkien legend. Swirling mists cloak mysterious caverns; ancient mountains tower over crystalline crater lakes; seaside waterfalls crash unto ocean swells; ice-blue streams churn through prehistoric forests of dark emerald green. It is the country where the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Last Samurai were all filmed. Indeed, New Zealand is the most transformative place on earth.
Imagine the massive presence of Franz Josef Glacier where visitors can walk right up to its base and be awe-struck by its ice-bound apex; or Westland Tai Poutini National Park, where Fox Glacier ascends from a rainforest just 300m above the sea level into a twisting grotto of dramatic ice caves and caverns. The unique curvatures and patterns of these frozen sculpted walls are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Rotorua, the thermal wonderland of New Zealand, contains numerous hot springs, mud pools, and geysers – the most famous being Pohutu, the largest and most spectacular; the Prince of Wales Feathers with its topaz-colored fissures; and Lady Knox Geyser, a regularly erupting, singular jet propulsion set amidst a nature-created amphitheater of stepped limestone. Pohutu is a multi-streamed fountain that shoots up 100 feet, streaming along deep rock beds and sending down steaming, cascading “waterfalls”. Quieter geysers such as Papakura (slowly recovering from man-caused drilling) and Tehoru (the Cauldron) are surrounded by bubble-like mounds of stone. Visit Rotorua’s Te Puia Arts and Crafts Institute featuring Maori native concerts, educational geyser tours, and the enchanting Kiwi bird observatory. Roturua’s spas and hot spring resorts are another favorite stopover. And if you have traveled the world over as a golf aficionado, truly New Zealand features breathtakingly spectacular golfing – Kauri Cliffs Golf Course in the Northland and Cape Kidnappers Golf Course with its ocean vistas! If there is golfing in heaven, then New Zealand is Eden on earth!
The Bay of Islands has an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins and dolphins. Its wealth of snapper, leatherjackets, mullet, tuna, kingfish, blue cod and the big marlin also provides the most exciting locale for international sports fishermen. Lying at the northernmost end of Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound offers the most sublime coastal scenery with cliff-surrounded capes and dark azure waters. You will see hundreds of rain-formulated waterfalls tumble through Milford Sound’s ravines. The formidable crags are softened by lush rainforest, and its radiant Stirling Falls has been filmed countless of times. Several majestic peaks are whimsically named for animals and objects they resemble, such as Mitre Peak, The Elephant and The Lion. Fur seals, dolphins, Sperm whales and albatrosses haunt the shores of Milford Sound, but it is Kaikoura which is an absolute must for whale-watching. The seals, dolphins, Sperm whales, Blue whales, Humpback whales, Minke whales, and Pygmy Sperm whales have all made Kaikoura their permanent home. But! If you are lucky, you will catch sight of the migrating Beaked whales and the nearly extinct Southern Right whales. The other treasure of Kaikoura is the hidden off-shore undersea canyon. Two strong converging ocean currents trap an abundance of minerals and nutrients into a deep corralled trench, resulting in all-encompassing biodiversity.
Whether diving, kayaking, swimming with the seals, hiking, or flying by hydroplane and helicopter, the joyous New Zealand paradise can soon be yours through Travel Benefits by Design!