Haven for thrills

> New Zealand boasts spec­tac­u­lar sights and ex­pe­ri­ences for trav­ellers look­ing for ad­ven­ture

The Sun (Malaysia) - - GOING PLACES -

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.

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