Alive. That’s the best word to describe Rotorua. This lakeside town in the center of the North Island literally bubbles with life, whether it be the cultural energy which permeates the town or the forces of nature beneath it. While the somewhat-smelly, sulfurous city is known for its geothermal attractions (such as towering geysers, steaming vents, and pools of bubbling mud), the Maori culture which courses through the town only adds to its vibrant allure. Of all the cities on the North Island of New Zealand, Rotorua has one of the highest concentrations of native Maori inhabitants. And even though New Zealand’s population is only 15% native Maori, Rotorua exhibits a rich cultural influence which is beautifully inescapable. Hear the chants of a Maori warrior as they dance the famous haka, and taste the flavors of perfectly-cooked meat as it emerges from an underground hangi. Learn the art of facial tattoos and what they mean to the Maori, and tour the confines of a Maori marae to learn about village life and culture.
While the capital city is no doubt artistic (much of the Lord of the Rings movies were created here), and the weather can definitely be blustery, there are also a number of surprisingly-nice beaches you can enjoy when the weather is sunny. Of all the free things to do in Wellington that involve being outdoors and active, spending a day at the beach in Wellington is an affordable way to relax. If you plan to spend a few days in the capital and love sitting out by the sea, here are some of the best beaches in Wellington for leaving footprints in the sand.
For most people traveling to the Bay of Islands, it’s the beauty of the coastline above the water that warrants all of the attention. Beneath the surface, however, reefs and shipwrecks provide aquatic homes for an fascinating amount of marine life, and the scuba diving in the Bay of Islands is also considered the best in New Zealand.
When it comes to lakes on the North Island of New Zealand, Lake Taupo is often the inland waterway that immediately comes to mind. Seeing as it’s the largest lake in New Zealand, it’s understandable that massive Lake Taupo gets the bulk of all the attention. Heading up towards the mountains, however, in the wilderness […]
When it comes to steaming vents, sizzling fissures, and pools of bubbling mud, most travelers who are visiting New Zealand think of Rotorua. Indeed, this odiferous city (which smells like sulfur) is known for its geothermal attractions, but there are also sites in the surrounding area where the Earth appears to boil. One of these […]
Situated at the top of the famous Cook Strait, Wellington Harbor wraps its arms around visitors like a family member welcoming you home. The sheltered protection of this large harbor is one of the reasons why the city was chosen to be the nation’s capital, having been moved from the smaller harbor area at Russell to the north in the Bay of Islands. More than just the spacious harbor, however, Wellington for cruise visitors is a convenient port where many of the city’s best attractions and are only minutes from the ship.