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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Holiday Travel -Explore New Zealand on wheels

ONE of the best ways to experience New Zealand is by driving around. It is easy and you get to enjoy breathtaking landscapes at your leisure. You also get to stop and take as many pictures as you like, enjoy a picnic or stay longer at places you wish to explore.

New Zealand’s touring routes are generally of a high standard. All roads, including those in rural locations, are signposted. Just remember to drive on the left side of the road!

Auckland – 30 Minutes To Anywhere. Imagine an urban environment where everyone lives within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanted holiday islands.

Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get a picture of how Auckland is like. In just 30 minutes, you can be almost anywhere... sailing to an island, trekking through a rainforest, picnicking on a volcano, sampling wines at a vineyard or wandering on a wild, black sand surf beach.

Auckland is on four touring routes — Twin Coast Discovery, Pacific Coast Highway, Thermal Explorer and the Great New Zealand Touring Route.
Spirit Of The Earth In Rotorua -To get to Rotorua, you can rent a car from Auckland’s international airport (three hours’ drive). Advance vehicle rental booking is strongly suggested. Other transportation alternatives are domestic flights and by bus.

Rotorua is the spiritual home to the Maori of Te Arawa. Here you will experience Earth’s natural forces, bubbling mud pools, spouting geysers and hot water beaches.

Many of the district’s attractions are based around Rotorua’s two greatest assets: geothermal activity and lakes. Just minutes from the city centre, you’ll see geysers of hissing, steaming, scalding water roar from deep within the Earth’s crust and hurl spray 100ft into the air. Pools of bubbling mud pop and belch like pots of porridge.

Rotorua’s awesome natural setting provides thrills and adventure that will take you right to the brink. Here, you can run, slip or slide down the slope of an extinct volcano. Race along huge tracks down a mountainside or take a more scenic route.

Throw yourself from bungy towers, Rotorua style. Hurl yourself down white water rapids by raft or sledge, and try out the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the southern hemisphere.

Must Stops
  • Rainbow Springs Nature Park with lush native plants and trees.
  • Kiwi Encounter hatchery and nursery. When kiwis are mature enough, they are returned to the wild in the areas they came from.
  • The Agrodome sheep and cattle farm offers you the chance to experience farming and get close to sheep, goats and cattle. Don’t miss the world famous Sheep Show.
  • The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is the most colourful and diverse geothermal experience in New Zealand. Unique features include naturally coloured hot and cold pools, the world-famous Champagne Pool that occupies a wide explosion crater, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations. The Lady Knox Geyser erupts daily at 10.15am.
  • Hells Gate is Rotorua’s fiercest thermal area and largest active mud volcano. See boiling whirlpool, largest hot waterfalls in southern hemisphere, naturally hot mineral foot pools, water and steam vent geysers, hot spraying pools and more.
  • Polynesia Spa is recognised by the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller’s magazine (2004-2007) as one of the top 10 Medical/Thermal Spas in the world. Choose from its 26 mineral bathing pools and an extensive range of spa therapies.
New Zealand has four seasons: autumn 10oC from March to May; winter 9oC from June to August; spring 12oC from September to November; and summer 14oC from December to February.