New Zealand – A scenic gem in the southern hemisphere

You may not appreciate it, but there is every likelihood you have seen a lot of New Zealand already. Why? The natural beauty of its rugged mountain ranges, tranquil forests, and crystal-clear waters have featured as the backdrop to so many movies over the years. Did you catch any of the recent Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit films? Much of the outside scenes were filmed among these fabulous landscapes. So if you are looking for a travel destination that is going to allow you to follow in the hairy footsteps of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, New Zealand is definitely worth a visit.
New Zealand lies over 4,000 kilometers to the east coast of Australia, across a stretch of the Pacific called the Tasman Sea (or ‘The Ditch’ to locals on either side.) It is split into two main islands, North and South Island. The former hosts four of the country’s seven international airports, including the one in Auckland which handles most of the international arrivals. North Island is also where the majority of New Zealanders call home, with over 76% of the population living in major cities such as Auckland or Wellington (the capital.) The more sparsely-populated South Island has numerous smaller towns but no shortage of spectacular views.
There is no doubt it’s those world-renowned landscapes that are the biggest draw for visitors. What could be more romantic than viewing majestic mountains and plunging waterfalls by helicopter, or sailing along fiords, keeping an eye open for the abundant sea life? In fact, a terrific place to prepare for any trip would be to spend some time in a New Zealand dating site getting to know someone who could eventually be your own personal tour guide.
No matter who your travel companion happens to be, how about wonderful places to visit once you arrive in New Zealand?
Milford Sound
Located on the Tasman Sea coast of South Island, Milford Sound is a fiord famous for Mitre Peak, an iconic mountain that towers 1,692 meters above the countryside. It stands guard over rain-forests and waterfalls sending water cascading down its rugged slopes to the inlet below. If you like wildlife spotting, you’ll love the opportunity to see dolphins cruising through the waters, playful penguins and large colonies of fur seals. Anywhere these guys call home is bound to attract pods of orcas, so if you’ve organized a boat trip, keep an eye out for those tell-tale dorsal fins cleaving the waves.
It would be well worth paying a visit to the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory where you can get to see rare black coral among the abundance of underwater creatures.
Bay of Islands
This is an enclave consisting of over 140 subtropical islands off the coast of North Island. This offers a splendid variety of activities, from studying ancient Maori artifacts to whale-spotting expeditions, big-game fishing to kicking back and relaxing on unspoiled beaches. You can also go for a romantic stroll back through time when you explore Russell, developed in the 19th century as a whaling port. That industry may long be over after these magnificent ocean-dwelling creatures were almost hunted to extinction, but the waterfront promenade still shows remnants of Russell’s past, not to mention the fact it was New Zealand’s first colonial capital.
Waitomo Caves
Waitomo is situated on the North Island, and its best known for its vast underground caves lit up by thousands of glow-worms. What better way to build up an appetite and a thirst for when refreshments beckon above ground?