When God created New Zealand, one cannot help but think that he was showing off a little. This relatively small island nation is absolutely packed to bursting with some off the most jaw-dropping scenery you will find anywhere in the world. What is truly amazing is its diversity; with tropical beaches in the North to snowcapped mountain peaks and glaciers in the south New Zealand is like a microcosm for an entire continent.
With a population of only 4.5 million people on a landmass the size of the UK (and approximately ten times as many sheep as there are citizens), New Zealand is refreshingly peaceful, quiet, unspoiled and not in the least bit crowded. It’s made up of clean, charming and attractive cities and tranquil pastoral countryside, but as soon as you escape civilization it is a wild and rugged wilderness.
There are way too many stunning locations in New Zealand to list in one article, but here are a few of the most mind-boggling natural wonders that you can discover while exploring New Zealand:
Located in the southwest of the South Island, this famous tourist site in New Zealand has been called the “8th Wonder of the World” by Rudyard Kipling. The sound spans a distance of 15 km inland from the Tasman Sea and features sheer rock faces all around that rise a staggering 1200 meters or more. There are verdant rain forests clinging to the cliffs and dolphins, seals and penguins have been spotted in the waters. It’s no wonder that this stunning location was used to film some of the scenes of the Argonath in the first Lord of the Rings film.
The Moeraki Boulders
During your New Zealand travels, head to Moeraki Beach on the East Coast of the South Island so that you can see the bizarre natural phenomenon that is the Moeraki boulders. These naturally formed rocks are such absolutely perfect spherical shapes that they look like giant marbles. They have been made into this shape by being tossed around in the waves and eroded over time and some of them have a diameter of up to two meters. Visit during low tide and you will see them scattered all across the beach.
The Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Imagine walking into a cool and dark limestone cave that is 30 million years old. You are expecting the cave to be dark, but it is lit up with thousands of brilliant blue glowing lights all along the walls and the ceilings. This is truly a natural wonder that will take your breath away.
The lights come from phosphorescent glow worms that live within the caves and their presence makes you feel like you are floating through a radiant starry night sky. There are many ways to explore the glow worm caves in Waitomo, including boat ride tours, cave tubing and guided walks.
New Zealand is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world and it is perched right over top of the Pacific Rim of Fire. The underground geothermal energy here creates many hot and steaming geothermal pools and dramatic geysers, some that are the right temperature for a relaxing soak and others that will boil the flesh right off your bones. For example, the pools in Rotorua are not for swimming as they can reach mind-blowing temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius. It is fascinating to watch the boiling water bubbling up from underneath the earth and feel the sulphur-scented steam on your face.
If you want to enjoy a pool that won’t boil you alive, there are plenty in New Zealand that are good for swimming in, including Parakai Springs near Auckland and the Tokaanu Thermal pools near Lake Taupo.
These are just a few of the amazing natural wonders that will blow your mind when you visit New Zealand.
Frankie Hughes is a freelance writer who has recently returned from six months living and working in Wellington. She took a few great luxury tours New Zealand during her stay to see the country’s most impressive scenery.