If Planet Earth chose to bestow virtues and gifts for each country, then New Zealand was undoubtedly handpicked for natural beauty. Stunning landscapes with long stretches of emerald green water bodies and mountainous scenery running along the length and breadth of the country, New Zealand needs nothing more than the natural beauty. It has been endowed with to attract the hordes of tourists each year. If you find yourself in the "Land Of The Long White Cloud" as its Māori name translates, here are 10 natural wonders that you cannot miss seeing!
1. Champagne Pools, Wai-O-Tapu
2. Waitomo Glowworms, Waitomo
3. The Blue Pools, Haast Pass
4. Tongariro Alpine Crossing
5. Moeraki Boulders, Dunedin
6. Milford Sound, Fiordland
7. Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki
8. Tane Mahuta, Waipoua Forest
9. Fox And Franz Josef Glaciers
10. Lake Matheson, West Coast
Much as you’d like to think otherwise, this is not a place with endless pools full of bubbly (if only)! This 900-year-old hot spring derives its name from the abundance of Carbon Dioxide, which keeps it bubbling, like a glass of champagne. Located a little outside Rotorua, this stunning geothermal formation has a surface temperature of a whopping 74 degree Celsius and its steamy orange lining comprises mercury, gold, silver and Sulphur deposits. This is as exotic as it gets!
If you were fascinated by glow in the dark objects as a kid, then you definitely need to check this off your list. While glow worms can be found all over New Zealand, the most stunning ambience to find them in are the caves at Waitomo. Sign up for a boat ride that wades you through the streams under caves to witness a galaxy of living lights - the most ethereal display of glow worms which can be found only in New Zealand.
Ever seen waters so clear that you can see right till the bottom? The calm, tranquil waters are a formation of pure glacial water gathered from the mountains around. Situated in the South Island, on the Haast Pass Makarora Road, Blue Pools are a part of the Mount Aspiring National Park. The pools are easily accessible and can be reached by a short trek through the Tawhero forest that lead to a bridge that allows you to walk over the Blue Pools for a magnificent view and experience.
Touted one of the best day walks on the entire world, the national park takes you through emerald lakes, magnificent volcanoes and the Lord of the Rings landmark, Mt. Doom. A World Heritage Site with noted cultural significance, the trek through Tongariro National Park is a dramatic scenic experience which is guaranteed to be a treat for the eyes and the soul. Trekkers to note that there are hardly any potable water sources in the National Park.
Located in the South Island, these larger than life boulders carry majesty of their own. These old rock formations have been silent witnesses to history for over 60 million years. As per Māori myth, these boulders are the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of a large sailing canoe.
Hailed as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the fiord of Milford Sound is located in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. Famous for the wide variety of coral and marine life, it houses dolphins, penguins and even fur seal colonies. The best way to explore its magnificence is through a boat tour that will take you through lush rainforests, powerful waterfalls and the towering Mitre Peak.
Yet another wonder work of rock and soil formation are the Pancake Rocks situated on the West coast. The ancient rocks were formed from marine fossils and lifted from the seabed due to seismic activity. Limestone erosion solidified it together into layers. Be prepared to witness nature’s most bountiful waterworks when the sea rushes into the structures and hits the blowholes.
The “Lord of the Forest” is an ancient gigantic kauri tree which has stood for over 2500 years at the Waipoua Forest. Named after the Māori god of birds and forests, this majestic tree is a grand reminder of the ancient tropical rainforests that once existed on North Auckland Peninsula. A symbol of pride of the Flora and Fauna of New Zealand, Tane Mahuta is a sight to behold today, thanks to the conservation efforts made by the government.
If you have dreamt of striding across frozen streams, then Fox and Franz Glaciers are the places to be. Easily the most convenient glaciers to visit in the world, these mazes of icy valleys extend well below the snowline, almost to the sea level. You can access the glaciers by helicopters or ski planes and only if accompanied by professional guides.
Famous for mirroring Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, the reflective Lake Matheson was formed by the retreat of the Fox Glacier from its last major advance towards the sea, which created a depression and was later filled with water some 14000 years ago. Home to many water birds and the long-finned eel, Lake Matheson is a traditional food gathering place of the Māoris.
Blessed with infinite amounts of ancient beauty, New Zealand is one unique destination which needs no man-made wonder to attract the throngs of tourists that it does every year. Its natural beauty provides the perfect landscape for a quiet and adventurous vacation, making it the perfect tourist destination that you need to visit on your next holiday!