NORTH ISLAND : The subtropical Northland experience promises
a contrast between the relative sophistication of the east coast and the soulful
simplicity of the west coast.
Much of Northland's extensive coastline remains unspoilt - an aquatic playground for adventure activities and escapist relaxation. Whangarei and Opua are havens for international and local yachts; Tutukaka and Russell are game fishing hot spots; the beaches of Doubtless Bay are endlessly beautiful.
Throughout the region you'll also enjoy the shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities that stem from the distinctive local culture, which embraces art, creativity, organic farming and alternative thinking.
Northland's history is rich and interesting. It is believed that the first Polynesian voyagers arrived in Northland during the 11th century. Today Waitangi is the seat of Maori culture, which is very much alive in this region (32 percent of the population are Maori). European settlement began in the 1840s, further enriching the region's colourful past.
MAIN VISITABLE PLACES IN NORTH ISLAND
Auckland's blend of harbour, islands, Polynesian culture and modern city
environment has created a lifestyle ranked amongst the best in the world.
The natural assets of Auckland have made it a dream destination for all kinds of travellers, from doing-it-on-the-cheap backpackers to cost-is-no-issue super yacht owners.
Rustic, relaxed and unspoiled, the Coromandel is one of New Zealand's best-loved holiday destinations.
The rugged volcanic hills are cloaked in native rainforest, and more than 400 kilometres of spectacular coastline promises you can find the beach of your dreams. The Coromandel is a place where bush and beach are both easily accessible. In the same day, you can experience the blue dazzle of the Pacific Ocean and calming greenness of the kauri forest.
Inspired by the region's idyllic setting, many artists and crafts people have made the Coromandel their home - visitors to the area are welcome in their studios. The area's fascinating history is evident in gold mining relics, logging dams and ancient Maori pa sites. The past can also be found in the charming colonial architecture and historical buildings preserved in several towns around the region.
» Cathedral Cove : A 20 minute walk, or a guided kayaking trip, will bring you to the white sands and arches of Cathedral Cove. It's an idyllic place to swim, snorkel, picnic or simply relax under the pohutukawa trees.
» Hot Water Beach : This beach lives up to its name. For two hours either side of low tide, you can create your own hot pool by digging into the sands. The hot spring bubbling up through the sand is the legacy of an exciting volcanic past.
» The 309 Road : From 'The 309 Road' you can walk to the foot of the Waiau Falls, where the Waiau River crashes over a rock face. Another 10 minute track will take you to the 309 Kauris, the finest stand of kauri trees in the region.
The Waikato region has two spectacular landscapes - one above ground, the other below. In both cases, nature has been generous. on the lush surface, the scenery is green to the extreme. Fertile soils, reliable rainfall and kind temperatures have created a pastoral heaven.
Below the surface, miracles have been wrought with water and limestone. Vast cave systems, huge sink holes and underground streams provide huge scope for adventure.
» Waikato River : The mighty Waikato River travels through the
region. At 425 kilometers from end to end, it is the country's longest river.
As well as providing recreational opportunities, the river drives eight hydro
» Waitomo Caves : The Waitomo Caves were formed over 30 million years ago, and drip by drip they're still changing. The natural beauty of stalactites and stalagmites lit by the blue light of glow worms has to be seen to be believed.
» Hobbiton : On a Matamata sheep farm, you can visit the remnants of Hobbiton, the hobbit village created for the Lord of the Ring's movie trilogy. View the hobbit holes and find out how the set was created on a guided tour.
A steaming, hissing landscape complete with exploding geysers greets you on arrival in Rotorua, along with a tradition of hospitality and warmth more than one hundred years old.
Each and every day is a fresh one in Rotorua, with tourism pumping through the veins of the city. Rotorua knows how to do tourism well - and it should. It was the birthplace of tourism more than a century ago when visitors from foreign shores came to marvel at the awe-inspiring Pink and White Terraces set on the side of Rotomahana. Sadly these terraces were destroyed by the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera, but visitors to this unique region continued to grow following the catastrophic event. Many of the guides found at the city's iconic attractions today are simply following in the traditional of their ancestors and informing people of the area.
Rotorua has it all as a destination. It offers visitors a chance to free their spirit at one of the many spectacular lakes, rejuvenate their spirit at the natural geothermal complexes around the city, challenge their spirit with a burst of adrenalin, experience the spirit of a living culture both in the contemporary and traditional sense and feel the spirit of the earth as it rumbles beneath your feet.
With striking Tudor-style architecture, exquisite scenery and top class attractions, hotels, luxury lodges, backpackers and motels, Rotorua offers a complete package for any traveller on any budget.
Manaakitanga is a deep-rooted concept in Maori culture. It is a challenge for the people of the city and the region itself to offer visitors the best experience possible during their time in the city. Discover the important parts of the culture and land of New Zealand in this exceptional destination.
» Geothermal phenomena : From the moment you arrive, the scent of sulphur tells you that Rotorua is different. Steam escapes from crevices in the ground, gardens bloom alongside bubbling craters and geysers shoot for the sky.
» Spa therapy : Rotorua's beauty products have been centuries in the making. Lie back and soak in the minerals of a sensual mud bath, or sink into one of the many geothermal spas - from luxury complexes to hot water beaches.
» Maori spirit : In Rotorua's geothermal villages, the tradition
of guiding and sharing cultural heritage has been passed down through the
generations. You'll find it expressed with true warmth and energy.
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