I noticed the TSS Earnslaw one evening when it sailed up to the dock in downtown Queenstown, New Zealand and disgorged passengers after a day of cruising Lake Wakatipu. The vintage steamship was certainly unique, but what really captured my attention were the pirates on the dock, complete with three-corner hats, eye patches, and period outfits. They rattled saber swords at the passengers, threatening to make them walk the plank and other such pirate mischief. I never did find out if the pseudo-pirates were Read More »
Tag: New Zealand
New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country. Exquisite landscapes unfold in all directions, from the verdant hills of the Northlands to the rugged Alps on the South Island. With all that beauty to discover, it is difficult to decide which sightseeing tours to take, however a trip to Cape Reinga should be on every list.
Although there is a road to Cape Reinga, tour buses take the more interesting route, diverting from the paved road to free-wheel up 90-Mile Beach. The sand is hard-pack in most places, but the trip has its Read More »
Among the mightiest in the world, Kauri trees grow to more than 150 feet tall up to 48 feet in circumference. These ancient behemoths covered much of the top half of New Zealand’s North Island when the first people arrived around 1000 years ago, but were slowly decimated by sailors who cut them down for ship masts and indigenous Maori using their timber for boat building. In 1952 the Waipoua Sanctuary was finally declared, with all remaining Kauri forests receiving protected status.
Standing more than 150-feet tall, Tane Mahuta is king of the forest and the largest remaining Kauri tree in New Zealand. This 1,500-year old majestic giant towers over and enfolds the surrounding forest, which in addition to being a sanctuary for the remaining Kauri trees, is also a refuge for endangered species. Visitors who hike the 200 metre, five-minute improved pathway leading to Tane Mahuta will almost certainly spot the NZ pigeon (or kukupa), but fantail, pied tit, tui, grey warbler, shining cuckoo and kingfisher are also commonly seen. The second and third largest Kauri trees, Te Matua Ngahere and McGregor Kauri, can also be found in the Waipoua Forest. Waipoua Forest lies on Northland’s west coast, between Dargaville and Omapere. The Tane Mahuta Track is sign posted from State Highway 12, which runs through the Waipoua Forest Conservation Estate. Read More »
In a country that can only be described as stunning, New Zealand’s fiordland may well offer up the most spectacular scenery of all. Sheer-walled granite cliffs soar from fathomless depths and reach for the sky. Waterfalls roar off the black crags and crash into deep aquamarine water hundreds of feet below. Looming above it all, Mitre Peak casts a perfect mirror image onto the placid surface of Milford Sound.
Maori legend maintains that the fiords were created by a “titanic mason,” Tute Rakiwhanoa, who hued out the steep sided valleys with keen edged adzes. Geologists have long understood that advancing glaciers carved these spectacular fiords and that the subsequent Sounds were created when ocean flooded the Read More »