About Me and My Travels

Friday, March 4, 2022

Travel to New Zealand

Travel to New Zealand 

North Island

Hobbiton movie set, matamata

Kia Ora- this is the warm greeting you will hear all over New Zealand. New Zealand is a land with rolling hills, filled with grazing cows and sheep, towering mountain peaks, deep blue lakes, golden beaches and miles of vineyards. The country has a rich culture and diverse population. If you love cricket, you can catch a test match or two if you are lucky. The folks of New Zealand are friendly and welcoming people and they make visiting this island nation a joy. The Lord of the Rings trilogy captivated millions of movie fans when it highlighted the stunning and captivating beauty of this island nation. It certainly motivated me to visit the country. 

The best time to visit New Zealand will be January through March, which is their summertime. The holiday season is over by early January, and you will find pricing for hotels and tours are reduced considerably. 

Geography of New Zealand

map of new zealand,north island,south island

The nation is comprised of the North and the South islands. The North Island lies along the Ring of Fire and as such is renowned for geological activity like frequent earthquakes, and volcanic and geothermal activities. It comprises of rolling hills and lovely beaches. The South island is dominated by the southern Alps and is more rugged. The beauty of the South Island compares to that of Switzerland. 

Rotorua- City in North Island, New Zealand

One of the most interesting parts of the North Island is the area of Rotorua. It is a city built within the geothermally active area of New Zealand. This is the place to visit to see geothermal activity, bubbling ponds and geysers. The local population have steam vents in their backyards which they use to cook meats, corn, potatoes. There are many hotels in Rotorua and the one I would suggest checking out are 

Sudima Hotel Rotorua :  Sudima Lake resort

This hotel is located on Lake Rotorua and only a few blocks from center of town. You can see the geothermal activity in the lake right from the front door of the hotel. 

geothermal activity lake rotorua,hotel sudima

This shot shows the steam rising from the lake. The whole area does have a slight odor of Sulphur, but it is not overpowering. 

Streams leading into the lake also show geothermal activity

Another good hotel is the Novotel Rotorua. The hotel is located near the center of the town and convenient to  get to restraunts and shopping.

This hotel is located near Eat Street which is a lovely place to have lunch or dinner

Eat street ,rotorua

There is a lot of choice in cuisine and plenty of outdoor seating to have a wonderful relaxing drink and dinner at Eat street. Check out the website of Eat street if you are planning a visit: 
Eat Street Rotorua

On the weekends the town holds street fairs, which draws in many locals and tourists. Visitors can sample assorted styles of cuisine at the food stalls. There are magic shows, music and juggling acts too. Local merchants set up stalls to sell ice cream, local produce and crafts. It is an ideal place for visitors to purchase locally made artifacts, curios and paintings. There is something for everyone. 


Street used for fair 

rotorua street fair food stall
food stall at the street fair 


Zip lining  in the forest of Rotorua

There are a lot of things to do in and around Rotorua, which is why I recommend making this town as the base.  One of the most exhilarating attractions is a tour where you can zip line through the thick forest around Rotorua. I highly recommend taking the tour offered by the following company: Rotorua Canopy Tour
They offer two tours called Original Canopy Tour and the Ultimate Canopy Tour. I recommend the Ultimate tour. 
Watch my youtube video of this tour to see how well laid out and comprehensive it is ;
Zip through the forest of Rotorua,New Zealand

ultimate canopy tour,zip linine

This tour has a lot more stations and things to do. The tour begins at the company office where you are fitted out with safety harnesses, helmets. For those who have not worn safety harnesses before, wearing one can be confusing. However, the guides help you through it and double check to make sure all straps are positioned correctly and secure. Each of the helmets has an attachment for a GoPro camera, which can be rented from the company. They go over the course and the safety tips. Then its off to the forest. 

Rotorua canopy tour, ferns in the forest
The tour begins with a short trek through the forest . There are at least two guides who provide you with interesting facts about the flora and fauna that is prevalent in that part of New Zealand. Further down you will read more about another eco program that was remarkably interesting

rotorua canopy tour, zip line station.
There are a many steps to get to the station where you begin your adventure. Believe me the huffing and puffing to get up there is well worth it. You are at the top of the trees and view is fantastic

You can see the double ziplines stretched out to the next station which is way out there. This is how your adventure begins. One of the lines is for the roller track and the other is your safety cable. The platforms are big enough to hold about 10-12 people. The fun part is that as you go through the course you get to meet people from all over the world, speaking different languages. However, one common phrase that is uttered by all during the adventure is "Wow"!
Rotorua canopy tour, zipline
Swing bridge 

Along the course you cross three suspended bridges 

50 meter high cliff walk 

You can walk along a  50m high cliff walk. You are well tied off, so there is nothing to worry about.

Before you begin the zip line course the guides give you a comprehensive safety training lesson. They stress that you never touch or hold on to the metal parts of the trolley or harness. This is just in case you accidently open it 

Rotorua canopy tour, safety demonstration

They also stress that you should use the sitting posture so that the thigh straps properly support your weight.  

Walking up some of the suspended staircases is a lot of fun. It is tricky at the beginning but you get the hang of managing the cadence of the step to minimize the swing. 

This tour is not all zip lining. You take a break in the middle to get a lesson of an ecological problem in the forests of New Zealand. The problem created by pests such as Rats, Stoats and Possums was that they almost decimated the population of the indigenous birds, like the Kiwi and made them an endangered species. The government of New Zealand has instituted various humane methods to cull the pest population. The goal is to reduce their population as close to zero by 2050. The guides provide a comprehensive description of this issue and its solution. Please link to my youtube channel to see the video on this and the tour.

Rotorua canopy tour and pest control method       

Stoats in New zealand forest

It is believed these pests came over on the ships of the explorers.
Rats in New Zealand forest
Possums in New Zealand forest

Rotorua Canopy tour guide explaining the pest reduction program

The guide explaining the pest problem and the methods to solve it.                                                       

If you have enjoyed reading this blog I hope it motivates you to visit Rotorua. Using Rotorua as a base you can visit many wonderful attractions nearby. Click on the you tube link below and don't forget to press the Subscribe button on the video.

Check out the following blogs on Travelwithravi

1.     Tamaki Maori Village. Tamaki Maori village

2.   Wai-O-Tapu thermal wonderland 

3.     Hobbiton Movie set in Matamata.


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