Haven for thrills
> New Zealand boasts spectacular sights and experiences for travellers looking for adventure
WHEN YOU really want to get away from it all, there’s no better place to visit than New Zealand’s North Island. Most of the island’s attractions are accessible via the State Highway, which means that adventurous travellers can easily rent a car or a campervan, and truly make it a holiday to remember.
The place to start would be North Island’s most populous city, Auckland, where you can kick off your holiday with a thrilling base jump off the iconic 192m-high Sky Tower, which offers amazing views of the city and harbour.
Two hours away along the State Highway lies Hobbiton, where parts of the Lord of the Rings movies were shot. Retrace the steps of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, through the Hobbit village, the Green Dragon Inn, and Party Tree.
Next, head to Rotorua to experience true Maori culture, as well as soak in some of New Zealand’s natural hot springs, boiling mud pools, spouting geysers, and silica terraces.
Rotorua is home to the Te Arawa people, as well as authentic Maori villages like the Buried Village, Whakarewarewa, Te Puia, Mitai, and Tamaki Maori village, where you can experience local arts, music and culture.
For daredevils, the Skyline Rotorua theme park offers numerous attractions, including the heart-stopping Skyswing, adventurous Luge, and panoramic gondola rides.
There are also numerous geothermal parks, as well as the gigantic Lake Taupo, formed by a volcanic explosion almost two millenia ago.
At Lake Taupo, visitors can see the volcanic peaks of Mount Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, and the snow-capped Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park.
They can also sail across the lake with Sail Barbary tours for the jaw-dropping Maori rock carvings, kayak across the crystal clear lake, and even take advantage of the region’s reputation as the skydiving capital of New Zealand, and go solo or tandem skydiving.
For more natural beauty, head to Waitomo, where you can walk through native forests and limestone landscapes, and marvel at the magnificent Pirpiri cave formations.
For true explorers, there are the Waitomo Caves, with caving activities for all levels of experience.
One can also see the glowworms inhabiting this subterranean paradise during one of the many on-site tours, before heading back up to Auckland to indulge in the city’s nightlife.
With so much to see and do in New Zealand, visitors are definitely spolit for choice, as stunning natural landscapes, as well as numerous adrenalinepumping activities, promise to deliver the adventure of a lifetime.
For more information, visit airasia. com/auckland. AirAsia X flies to Auckland (via Gold Coast) seven times weekly. All around North island ... Visitors can enjoy a whole range of experiences and sights, including (clockwise from top left) walking through Tongariro National Park; exploring Auckland by night; indulging in local Maori culture; walking through natural hot springs in Rotorua; seeing Maori rock carvings with Sail Barbary tours at Lake Taupo; and exploring Waitomo Caves.