It seems like a week of introductions, and we are happy to introduce Artūras, our New Zealand Vayable Ambassador! He hails from Northern Europe and moved to Auckland after getting tired of really bad weather (eg horizontal rain). By day he works as an intellectual capital consultant and spends his time outside of work traveling, reading books, and listening to music on Spotify. He’s a tech geek who’s always on the lookout for the next new thing. As one of the first 50 users of Vayable, he’s excited to share his love for New Zealand and help build the community out there.
Here are his picks for the 5 best natural highlights in New Zealand!
Tongariro National Park
Grab your hiking shoes and equipment and go for Mt Ngauruhoe which served as “Mount Doom” in the Lord of the Rings movies. Though it’s currently resting, Mt Ngauruhoe is considered to New Zealand’s newest and historically most active volcano. The park also has Emerald Lakes, sulphurous pools formed by the park’s volcanic activity, glitter against the dark scree and boulders that surround them. Lakes is one of the park’s most famous sites and a popular place to stop along the Tongariro Crossing which is rated one of the best one-day hikes in New Zealand.
Doubtful Sound and Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most well-known and well-visited destinations for land and water-based activities. You will find a quiet serenity emanating from Doubtful Sound. As stunning as it is, the journey to get there is equally inspiring with wild waterfalls, forested valleys, granite peaks and crystal-clear lakes. Fiordland also contains one of the most renowned NZ’s tracks – Milford Track which takes four days to complete. If you like adrenaline, go for 43-metre plunge off the Kawerau bridge and later on enjoy late night drinks on top of Bob’s Peak in Queenstown.
Waitakeres Ranges National Park in Auckland
After a day of hiking and spending an afternoon by Kitekite Falls, go catch a sunset in Piha. This famous surf beach, with its rugged cliffs and crashing waves, is split in two by the impressive Lion Rock. The surf here is dangerous, even for experienced locals, be warned.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
Despite the sulphurous stink that Rotorua has become known for, there are plenty of enjoyable sites to explore. There are spas, thermal parks, a golf course, museum and much more (heard about The Luge or Zorbing?) Also prepare to see the Champagne Pool hot spring, Lady Knox geyser in a place where visitors have enjoyed these sulphurous geothermal attractions for centuries. Unwind in country’s famous Polynesian Spa.
Cape Maria van Diemen
Cape Maria van Diemen holds the distinction of being the westernmost point of North Island. It was named by Abel Tasman after the wife of his patron, Anthony van Diemen. Later on head straight to Cape Reinga Lighthouse where Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet. Be prepared for some dramatic scenery!