Day 18: Why You Should Visit New Zealand

New Zealand has a lot to offer to the rest of the world. However, being a small country in a middle of Pacific Ocean means some people only knew about its existence after watching Lord of the Rings movies.

I’m not going to talk much about its culture, people, lifestyle because I find them quite similar to what we have in Australia (or any Western country really); except with the Maori culture of course.

The most amazing thing about New Zealand is its diverse landscapes and topography on both islands. Glaciers, volcanic plateau, geysers, thermal areas, beaches, fiords, all of them packed into this land smaller than Italy. Oh yes, and more than 40 million sheep!

Straddled over the Pacific and Indo-Australia tectonic plates and sitting on the Pacific ring of fire, New Zealand has its fair share of volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural hazards. But don’t be discouraged, most of the earthquakes are hardly felt. In fact, the last big earthquake with human casualty happened in 1968.

So, here is the New Zealand natural hit list that I visited and hope to visit in the future:

1. Glowworm Caves – Waitomo

It is located on the North Island, only 2-hour drive from Auckland. There are around 300 limestone cave systems in the area but only a few that can be accessed and operated for tourism. We visited Glowworm Cave and Ruakuri Cave which took around 3 – 4 hours. The glowworms live on the cave’s ceiling with 20-30 sticky follicles function to trap the insects flying towards their light. Inside the main cave, hundreds of glowworms attached to the cathedral-like ceiling. It’s so gorgeous that they have famous singers performing the Christmas carols underneath the glow.

Ruakuri Cave has a spiral entrance that reminds me of an old nuclear bunker from the Cold War era. Apart from the beautiful yet fragile stalactites and stalagmites (we’re not allowed to touch them at all or you’ll get NZ$10k fine), the highlight of this journey is the opportunity to touch a 28 million year old fossil of a bird. Normally something this rare and precious would be guarded in a museum, but there it sits on an altar-like rock formation. And yes, it’s hard.

2. Rotorua

Champagne Pool

Champagne Pool

The small town is famous for its thermal spring, volcanoes and … its sulphur smell. After a two-hour drive from Waitomo, the first thing I said to my beloved was “Is it you?”. Some people say it will only last an hour and then your nose will get used to it. Guess what, I couldn’t get over the lingering smell until we left the town.

Still, if you could visit the beautiful Champagne Pool, geyser and mud pool (which is sold for hundreds of dollars in boutique spas), you will bear it for a day or two.

3. Fiordland – Milford Sound

Located in the South Island is this spectacular sunken mountains or fiords (or fjords as they call it in Norway… where the trolls hide). Unfortunately, our trip didn’t go this far but we’ll sure do it in the future.

Check out their photos here.

4. Glaciers

Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are also located on the South Island. They are one of the few glaciers left on earth above the sea level making them precious relics of the last Ice Age. Winter or summer, you can have your guided walk across the glacier.

Check out their photos here. You’ll be crazy not wanting to go there.

If you know other natural wonder in New Zealand worth visiting, please let me know, cos I’m going back there for sure.

3 Responses to “Day 18: Why You Should Visit New Zealand”
  1. Awesome review of New Zealand!

    I would love to travel someday, and this sounds like it’s a location that packs a lot of punch for the visit!

    Although, I might skip #2 Roturua, and go to #4… I don’t know why but glaciers facinate me for some reasons…

    Alaska has some glaciers, and I want to go there to check them out too. Whale watching is another activity I want to do in Alaska.

    Hehe, I always though glowworms were made up things. Thanks for educating me!!!

    • Bytta says:

      You’re gonna love it. Everybody does. It’s chock-full of adventure and the cost is reasonable.
      Rotorua is not too bad. Don’t let the smell scare you 😀 Plenty to see there.

      You can see Aurora Borealis from Alaska as well, right? Awesome!

      Glowworms are interesting little things. It was a romantic setting in the dark cave with glowworms at the ceiling. If only they allow you to have a private dinner there.

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