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New Zealand: Places to See and Things to Do
If you are taking the trip of a lifetime and visiting the beautiful country of New Zealand there are a few places that you must stop in order to truly enjoy all that New Zealand has to offer. New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is an island nation divided into two separate islands, which are referred to as the North Island and the South Island. The average temperature in New Zealand is anywhere from 50 degrees to 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
When traveling through New Zealand travelers can see the influence of the native people, the Maori. The Maori were the first people to arrive in New Zealand, and they were influenced highly by tropical Polynesian islands.
# 1 Milford Sound
Milford Sound is located on the west side of the south island. The sound was carved by ancient glaciers hundreds of year ago which slowly moved through the sound. Today the sound looks like a page ripped right out of the dinosaur ages. The sound is covered with lush greenery, waterfalls around every corner, and rocky landscapes. From inside the sound, cliffs and mountaintops reach high to the sky and waterfall cascade to the water below. Visitors can take a boat tour of the sound, looking for seals that are sunning on the rocks, or if you are really lucky a shark fin. The drive to the sound is a wonder all of its own, with the roads winding between the snow covered mountain tops. The drive alone to the sound is worth the visit to the sound. Visitors will not be disappointed at the sights and sounds they find at Milford Sound.
# 2 Waitomo Caves
These historical caves have long been an important aspect to the people in New Zealand. For over 120 years the caves have been near and dear to New Zealanders hearts and now visitors are falling in love with their beauty. Not only are the caves beautiful but they hold something even more magical inside them. The Waitomo Caves house thousands of tiny glow worms. Visitors can tour the caves and then take an unforgettable boat ride through the caves to view these beautiful and magical creatures. Glow worms give off an L.E.D like blue glow and it will be one of the most memorable things you will see in your life. Glow worms are very gentle creatures and they make the most beautiful cave dwellers ever seen. Unfortunately you may not take pictures of the glow worms because of the light from your flash, but you may purchase as many post cards as you would like in the small gift store outside the caves.
# 3 Kaimai Ranges
Also known as Middle Earth to the "Lord of the Rings" fans. This area in New Zealand is in the middle of the New Zealand countryside. Now, I saw and loved the “Lord of the Rings” movies but I was not a big enough fan to travel to another country to see middle earth or where the hobbits lived. However, my husband was a big enough fan and he dragged me on the journey to Hobbiton, and I have never been so thankful. Even if you are not into “Lord of the Rings” the beautiful, lush, green, hilly, and bountiful country side is well worth the drive to Hobbiton. The hill sides are a green that you can only imagine in your mind, a green that you would expect to see in Ireland, and it’s beyond words to describe. Then of course, is the added bonus, visitors are able to see the little town where the hobbits lived, which was used for the “Hobbit” movies and “Lord of the Rings” movies.
# 4 Rotorua
Rotorua is a very different kind of place to visit and one your nose certainly won’t soon forget. Smelling always like sulfer, because it is on a volcanic plateau, Rotorua is home to one of the world’s most active geothermal areas. Visitors will be able to see smoke rising from the ground in every direction they look and hot mud pools will bubble from the earth below. Guest can tour the lake, and watch as the volcanic steam rises from the lake side. If you’d like the opportunity, visitors can take a dip in the warm mineral pools, or visit a local village to see how the people still use the geothermal activity to survive.
# 5 Whakarewarewa Forest
This red wood forest just minutes away from the town of Rotorua is like stepping into a whole new world. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk trails through the beautiful forests, as the tall trees tower high above them. This red wood forest is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural attractions and it is one not to be missed.