In God’s Own Coun­try

Hindy We­ber-Tan­toco found the per­fect es­cape in New Zealand


“If you love na­ture, ad­ven­ture, a re­laxed vibe, and hav­ing breath­ing space, New Zealand is the place for you,” rec­om­mends Hindy We­berTan­toco. She’s talk­ing about her re­cent hol­i­day trip with her fam­ily to the land of the kiwi, where they par­took in thrilling ac­tivites like hang glid­ing and lug­ing, and soaked in some of New Zealand’s cul­ture through music and tours.

In the Tan­to­cos’ itin­er­ary were stops at Auck­land, Wai­heke, Queen­stown, and Ro­torua. Auck­land is a ma­jor city be­tween two large har­bors, and its Sky Tower pro­vides views of the Viaduct Har­bor, lined with yachts and bars. Wai­heke Is­land, mean­while, is sit­u­ated in the Hau­raki Gulf and boasts many high qual­ity vine­yards, gal­leries, and bou­tiques. Queen­stown sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and is the base for ad­ven­ture sports and his­toric min­ing towns. Lastly, Ro­torua is a town in New Zealand’s North Is­land, where vis­i­tors can bask in the Māori cul­ture. New Year’s Eve found the fam­ily at the Won­der­gar­den Music Fes­ti­val, an event that mar­ries music, light in­stal­la­tions, and sump­tu­ous street food. Held at Silo Park in Auck­land, the fes­ti­val had the Tan­to­cos en­joy­ing music by Kiwi per­form­ers.

Known for be­ing the ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal of the world, New Zealand also has plenty of ac­tion to of­fer. “Hang glid­ing, paraglid­ing, fish­ing, horse­back rid­ing, zi­plin­ing, lug­ing, camp­ing, trekking...” Tan­toco rat­tles off the ac­tiv­i­ties that her fam­ily got into. But there were days too when they got to re­lax, go on road trips, and do “lots of noth­ing.” When asked what her most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences were, she men­tioned a he­li­copter tour of the Fiord­land Na­tional Park. “We landed on the top of a glacier and then hang glided off the top of a moun­tain. We re­laxed in a coast­line camp where it felt as if we were the only peo­ple on Earth. We also had a Māori teach us about tra­di­tional open-fire cook­ing, and we got to re­lax at a his­toric sport­ing and fish­ing lodge by a river.” Be­cause they had such a great time, the fam­ily plans to visit again soon. “New Zealand has all the con­ve­niences of the first world, but it doesn’t feel as fast as other big cities,” Tan­toco ob­serves. Echo­ing poet Thomas Bracken’s de­scrip­tion of the coun­try as “God’s own coun­try,” she adds, “The nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment is so beau­ti­ful and well-pre­served. Plus, there are still so many ac­tiv­i­ties we didn’t get to do.”

Asked to sum up her fam­ily’s so­journ, Tan­toco says, “It was [about] slowly trav­el­ing around sur­real land­scapes where there is so much space to breath and to be—the per­fect ex­am­ple of dis­con­nect­ing in or­der to re­con­nect.” •

New Zealand’s unique land­scapes gave Tan­toco both the ex­hil­a­rat­ing rush of nov­elty and the re­ju­ve­nat­ing peace that only a wide ex­panse of na­ture can bring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.