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New Zealand, A Gem Down Under in Australasia..North Island

Updated on April 4, 2013

The Magic of Lake taupo

Part 1, North Island

The distance may put you off scheduling a visit to New Zealand but you would be badly missing out on a scenic wonder. I try to book an evening flight so that you can eat your dinner, imbibe a little and then sleep to wake up in Auckland, city of Sails. The first thing you notice as you leave the terminal is that the pine trees surrounding it are most unusual in that their branches reach sky ward instead of sloping down. They are Norfolk Pines, native of the notorious Norfolk Island, a prison island from the days of transportation. The main trunk is very straight and at first it was cultivated by the British as a replacement for Masts. Sadly the wood proved too brittle and the project was abandoned.

Auckland is a good setting off point for the North Island which is full of amazing sights and fun things to do. For the adventurous, there is bungee jumping, white water rafting, para sailing, parachuting, jet boating and on a quieter note, fishing, hiking (called tramping in new Zealand), pony trekking and site seeing or just sitting around in natural hot springs Many people make for Rotorua which is a volcanic area famous for its geysers and boiling mud puddles. There are usually daily displays by Maori dancers .

To the North of Auckland is the Province of Northland where the famous Ninety Mile beach meanders down the west coast. It was originally a drovers path to take cattle to Auckland. Halfway up is a forest containing the massive Tane Mahuta tree, Lord of the Forest. it is a Kauri tree with the amazing height of 168 ft and over 45 feet around. It is estimated to be over 2000 yrs old. It is an awesome sight.

The Bay of Islands on the East Coast is a yachts man's paradise that was used as a hideout by escaped prisoners from the Australian penal colony. The cluster of islands is a favorite holiday destination for so many visitors to this subtropical area of New Zealand

Lake Taupo in the middle of the North Island is a huge lake, the result of one of the biggest explosions on the planet. It was recorded in China in 186 AD. It is a huge caldera or inwardly facing volcano. It is a wonderful area beloved of fishermen with its clear water in a huge lake approximately 35 kilometers wide. All sorts of watercraft use this huge lake from Pleasure Steamers to Kayaks and Canoes. There is a really good museum in town near the visitors center that show cases Maori early life, early settler days and the huge skeleton of a massive walking bird called a Moa which was hunted to extinction. It is well worth a visit.

Further south around Napier on the East coast you will find the wine, lavender and olive growing areas where excellent wines are produced. The area has many tasting rooms so better find a designated driver. Napier was all but destroyed by a huge earthquake and it was rebuilt in 1930 in Art Deco style. Many vintage car events are held there against the elegant backdrop.

This just a taste of the delights of the North Island of New Zealand. There are so many pastimes available. Golf courses abound at ridiculously low prices, there is horse racing , polo and a new Formula One racetrack at Taupo. The New Zealand Equestrian Center is also on the outskirts of Taupo. Skiing is available almost all year round at Mount Ruapehu an hour and a half's drive from Taupo. Wouldn't you like to come and check it out?

i am fortunate enough to travel there frequently. This year, 2013 there has been a dreadful drout that has stricken the whole country. The formerly green island turned brown and is only just recovering in April, the start of the Autumn or Fall. It has had a devastating effect on the farming community. Let us hope this isn't the start of a catastrophic climate change for this beautiful country.

Scenic Wonders

Tane Mahuta in all its glory "The Lord of the Forest"
Tane Mahuta in all its glory "The Lord of the Forest"
The base of Tane Mahuta
The base of Tane Mahuta
Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo
Pleasure steamer on Lake Taupo
Pleasure steamer on Lake Taupo
Norfolk Pines
Norfolk Pines
Northland Church
Northland Church
There's always surfing!
There's always surfing!
Mount Taranaki
Mount Taranaki
North Island Map
North Island Map
Ruapehu 1994 eruption
Ruapehu 1994 eruption
Ruapehu Eruption 1999
Ruapehu Eruption 1999
Enjoying the wonderful Horse Trekking at the Craters of the Moon in Wairaki Forest.
Enjoying the wonderful Horse Trekking at the Craters of the Moon in Wairaki Forest.

South of Auckland

In this area you will find exciting things to see and do, from rural scenes to the excitement of Rotarua and the wonderful mountains. The  Ski area in the north island is Ruapehu which erupts from time to time. Sensors n the mountain give due warning for a mass exodus!

More Views of Rotarua and surrounding areas.

The exciting Maori Dance troupe perform the Haka a war chant and native dances in a Pa or Maori Meeting house
The exciting Maori Dance troupe perform the Haka a war chant and native dances in a Pa or Maori Meeting house
Steam and boiling pools at Rotarua
Steam and boiling pools at Rotarua
Boiling mud pools at Rotarua. The Earth's crust is the thinnest at New Zealand
Boiling mud pools at Rotarua. The Earth's crust is the thinnest at New Zealand
New Zealand called "The Land of the Long White cloud" by the Maoris, enjoys wonderful sun sets
New Zealand called "The Land of the Long White cloud" by the Maoris, enjoys wonderful sun sets
Sheep being mustered near Wanganui
Sheep being mustered near Wanganui
Ngarahoe a volcanic vent from Tongariro
Ngarahoe a volcanic vent from Tongariro
Ruapehu a volcanic mountain the North Island Ski field.
Ruapehu a volcanic mountain the North Island Ski field.

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    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for the comment Mark. It is a truly wonderful place to visit. Maybe you will get there one day?

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      It may have one one day, who knows?

    • profile image

      desmond faafoa 5 years ago

      wellington should have a volcano

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Rotarua is especially stinky!

    • profile image

      clumsy 5 years ago

      stinky

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      New Zealand is well worth a visit. Hope you get to visit.

    • Team A profile image

      Team A 6 years ago

      Cool pics. I hope Team A can visit New Zealand at least once in our lifetime. Again, thank you for sharing.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hi Dim Glad you enjoyed the pics. Lots of different trees in New Zealand.Thanks for stopping by!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      What wonderful pictures to go with an excellent hub. Thank you. Those pine trees fasinated me. I love trees anyway. All the best. Dim.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I think New Zealand will be a very good place to be in future. Don't forget to check out the South Island too.

    • qwark profile image

      qwark 8 years ago

      Willos..very nicely presented. I've travelled extensively, but never to NZ or australia. TY for this short informative trip...:-Qwark

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Australia is just across the ditch as they call it, about a 3 hour flight. Easy to get there if you buy a ticket. You would love it I'm sure, Lots of macho things to do like parachute jumping, bungee jumping etc. Glad you enjoyed the hub. Did you check out the South Island one as well. They are quite different.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Wow, NZ sounds like heaven, except for the occasional and awesome eruptions, (heaven and hell?). You have definitely convinced me to go visit. I'm interested in all the water activity, and I like the tidbit about the explosion that created the lake being visible in China. Is it hard and / or far to get to the mainland, (Australia)? Thanks for a great hub.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
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      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks,CennyWenny. You would not be disappointed!

    • CennyWenny profile image

      CennyWenny 8 years ago from Washington

      I love sheep (I knit, not the other kind of love:) and the scenery looks gorgeous! I truly hope I can visit someday. I met some folks who had lived there once and they just loved it, though the Aussies I met were a little derisive. If I ever lived outside of the U.S. this would probably be my number one pick.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      You would not be disappointed, it reminds me in many ways of Wales You would feel at home. Thanks for the comment

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      New Zealand has long held an allure for me as the kind of place I would like to live.  I haven't been yet.  But your gorgeous photos and the information on this hub have rekindled my desire to go.  Thanks!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image
      Author

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for the comment, ameliehub. New Zealand has so much beautiful scenary to offer. I love visiting down under!

    • ameliehub profile image

      ameliehub 8 years ago from UK

      Hi Gypsy, I think you have enjoyed enough your New Zealand visit. The pictures you have published are very beautiful specially i like that of Lake taupo and Mount Taranaki. I thik I would love to go there.