New Zealand Scenery
Awe inspring natural beauty !
New Zealand scenery is always a major drawcard for our tourists. With so much variety, it would be impossible to choose an absolute favourite. The North and South Islands are very different.
If time is short you may prefer to choose to holiday in just one island.Our scenery in New Zealand will keep you smiling, and clicking those pics all the way. Thank goodness for digital cameras so you can take as many as you like.
This is a personal descriptive overview of New Zealand scenery as I think of it. For the fine detail,and inspiration, have a look at some of the videos I will include on this page.
Looking around the rest of my Holidays in New Zealand site you will find several more videos and pictures of our amazing scenery.You are sure to see some areas which will go on your "must do" list when you holiday in New Zealand.
Beautiful Northland Scenery
New Zealand scenery in the north of the North Island is about beautiful bays overhung by our native pohutakawa trees. If you are here in November/December- you should see them in full bloom - a glorious mass of rich velvet red.
The pohutakawa is our informally declared Christmas Tree. With silver grey leaves, and clinging to coastal cliffs, they make an amazing sight.The bays and beaches may be small curves of white sand bounded by rocky outcrops, with ever changing colours of blue and aqua, stretching in to the distance.Or long stretches of white sand edged with foam crested waves roaring in for a great surf.
With too many to mention look out for Matai Bay,Matauri Bay, Coopers Beach,and Mangawhai Heads in the north.
You can find more information on Northland here.
New Zealand Bush is Unique
Vivid green bush clothes the hills and mountains, and driving through native bush scenery in New Zealand country areas is just beautiful.
There are any number of short or long walks, some well defined and looked after tracks, others less used may be a little overgrown.Time in the bush is a wonderfully uplifting experience. The many New Zealand native birds sing, while in summer cicadas chirp so loudly it can be almost deafening.
Yet it is cool, refreshing and so peaceful under the branches of the huge native kauri, rimu, totara, kahikatea, and tanikaha.While native ferns,pongas, and tree ferns spread their lacy fronds.
The New Zealand silver fern emblem you so often see depicted on sports clothing, and flags, is symbolic of the tree ferns.If you look under their dark green leaves, they are silver.
Rolling emerald green farmland< of the Waikato often brings comments from visitors when they first encounter our scenery - " New Zealand is so green!"
The Waikato river is a major source of water for farms, industry, hydro power and even Auckland, as some water has been harnessed for household use. Not a popular decision for many! The Waikato River which starts at Port Waikato runs down to Lake Taupo.
Coromandel Peninsula for Beaches
The Coromandel Peninsula,south of Auckland has a string of beautiful beaches including
The Many Lakes of Rotorua
There is a sprinkling of pretty lakes, usually set against a bush backdrop, around
Lake Rotoiti, the Green and Blue Lakes, Lake Rotoma, Lake Tarawera, Lake Okareka and Lake Okataina.Hamurana Springs always fascinated me as a child.Water like glass, with incredibly intense vivid aqua blue shining through.
Thermal Activity for Unusual Scenery
If you are looking for colourful thermal activity,boiling mud pools,geysers and plumes of steam from streams and holes in the ground, the area around
Rotorua, and Taupois where you will find plenty to amaze you.Waimungu Valley, Orakei Korako,( between Rotorua and Taupo) and Wai-o-tapu all have wonderful parks for you to wander and enjoy New Zealand's unique thermal scenery.Those are my favourites and come recommended. There are others.
The huge redwood forest at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua is a pleasant hours walk.Driving south you will arrive at Lake Taupo.
New Zealand's largest fresh water lake and a favourite spot for trout fishing. As this whole Central Plateau is a major foresty area for New Zealand,it is a scenic drive into Taupo and refreshingly different, as you travel through pine forests.
Look for Huka Falls.Just before you arrive in Taupo, you must take this short detour to see the Falls. As the normally 100 metre wide Waikato River narrows to a mere 15 metres, the water pours over the 20 metre rock cliffs,through a gorge, before quietly sliding into the Lake a little further south.
The volume of water being squeezed through this narrowing gorge means while they may not be the biggest waterfall, they are pretty impressive.
North Island Mountains
The middle of the island< and the scenery changes totally.New Zealand's Tongariro National Park featuring still active Mt Ruapehu - the tallest mountain in the North Island at 2797m (9175 ft), Mt Ngaurahoe and Mt Tongariro make a threesome emerging from the yellow tussocky plains below.
On a clear day you can look across from these three and see Mt Taranaki( it was called Mt Egmont when I was young).This would be the nearest to Japan's Mt Fuji - especially with snow on it, that I have seen anywhere else in the world.A few Japanese themed movies have been filmed here, including "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise, who became well known in Taranaki when he was filming there.It is actually situated near the coast and New Plymouth.
The Desert Road runs through this area - the name telling you all you need to know. With Lake Taupo 97 kms, so just over an hour away, this is pretty much the centre of the North Island.
Hawkes Bay Scenery
Napier and Hastings are accessed from Taupo, over the Napier-Taupo Hills.240 kilometres and a 3.5 hour drive,Napier is known as the Art Deco City of New Zealand.
There was a big earthquake in 1931 that damaged so many structures the city was rebuilt, and Art Deco was the architecture of the time.
A coastal area, it is also home to a huge winery industry.The Marineland on Napier waterfront is a popular family attraction. The beaches are stones rather than sand, but the climate in this part of the island is wonderful with warm, sunny weather.
The gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is well worth the walk.If time is limited there are tours.
Gisborne and the East Coast
Travelling round East Cape to Gisborne is more stunning coastline, with quite a Maori cultural view of New Zealand's scenery. Many marae and Maori communities live here, and it was one of the last areas where the Maori language was used in every day life, until the resurgence of the language.
Gisborne is a small city set on the coast with lovely surf beaches, and another excellent area for wine production. The first place in the world to see the new day, you can expect a better chance of warm sunny weather here than other parts of New Zealand.They too have an enviable climate.
Detour via Taranaki
Wellington can be reached by various routes. The most direct is through the Desert Road.You could go through Taranaki where dairy farms spread beneath the foot of Mt Taranaki, the coastal beaches have black sand, and it can be cool.
Wanganui may be of interest if you want to do some tramping or kayaking on the Wanganui River.There are some very remote, seemingly untouched bush areas and the river is scenically one of New Zealand's great kayaks.
If you travel through the Wairarapa you may want to enjoy some
on the way.This is another good area for
and gardens.Greytown is a pretty town, while Martinborough is the wine centre.From here you go over the Rimatuka Ranges to Upper Hutt and on to Wellington. The road can be closed due to
snowfall in winter.
Walk Around Wellington
If you travel south via Palmerston North you will pass through the Kapiti coast area. With cliffs on one side and the waves crashing on the rocks on the other it is a very scenic drive into Wellington.Eventually you hit the motorway for a cruisy ride into our capital city.
Wellington is compact, but after a revamp some years ago, it is a lovely city in which to spend some time. Village like, you can walk most places. I spent a week with no transport and just rode any bus that went somewhere different, revisiting childhood haunts.
There are historic buildings and archives, beaches and hills, and Te Papa - our national museum.The historic funicular Kelburn cable car takes you to the top of the Botanic gardens and some spectacular views over the harbour.