The Call of Nature
It’s where the Lord of the Rings series were filmed and even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, the landscapes shown in the movies are incredible. And you get to experience these every day you’re out there. A mixture of picturesque hills, snowy mountain peaks, the clearest blue, green or even ice white waters and a rugged coast line – just to name a few.
As it comes to wildlife, it’s slim pickings – but one animal that’s hard to miss out there is the notorious sheep! When driving through the numerous green hills and farm lands, we were thinking that sheep could easily take over this country if they would bundle forces and decide to turn against men. Sounds crazy? Well, you should see the numbers of them. And there’s even a movie made about it (Black Sheep)…
We love hiking – short walks as well as day hikes and there are plenty of those in NZ. Some are very technical, certainly if it has just rained (e.g. Blue Pools & Valley Hike). Others are piece of cake, but offer unique views (e.g. Pancake Rocks & Blowholes Walk). The one we enjoyed most was the 1 day Tongariro Crossing.
Experience the Sound of Silence
Plenty of opportunities to go kayaking in Maoriland. We took a 2-day kayak trip in Doubtful Sound. You feel very insignificant when floating in between the vast cliffs. When it has just rained (and it mostly does around there), the waterfalls coming from the rocks are bigger – but when that unexpected ray of sunshine touches your face for just a second, the purity and beauty of the place is even elevated to another level. A must-do!
Drink more Ciders and Ginger Beer than you can handle
Ok, I’m not saying that you have to travel to the other side of the world just for cider or ginger beer. Of course you can find it in other places as well, but there are a lot of local producers here and the choice is ample. We nearly needed to step into a rehab program when coming back home… Our favourites? Bundaberg Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic for my husband) and Forbidden Cider Simply Apple (5,6% alc for me).
Featuring the most ridiculous “bird” ever
We love the Kiwi! The bird, that is. Well, actually the people too, of course – but the creature that is the symbol of the country is just awesome. It’s pretty difficult (read impossible) to find them in the wild, so we went to the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park to admire them. It was just too funny to watch! The one we saw was actually attacking one of the care-takers over and over again – a great show, I must say.