A Kiwi’s guide to his home­land

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Ti­maru, home of the largest col­lec­tion of Maori rock draw­ings in the world. Take in the im­pres­sive in­ter­ac­tive dis­plays and a tour to a lo­cal rock-art site where the abun­dant lime­stone of the sur­round­ing Ao­raki re­gion pro­vided an ideal can­vas for an­cient artists. See teana.co.nz

LAKE TEKAPO

One of a string of stun­ning, glacierblue lakes along the eastern foot of the South­ern Alps, Lake Tekapo is a year­round des­ti­na­tion for sight­see­ing and ac­tive pur­suits. A pop­u­lar stop is the Church of the Good Shep­herd which has the best view around.

The real ac­tion ar­guably takes place at night in the Mt John ob­ser­va­tory high above the town. The ob­ser­va­tory is part of the UNESCO Ao­raki Macken­zie In­ter­na­tional Dark Sky Re­serve, the first in the south­ern hemi­sphere and the world’s largest. Pol­lu­tion and light-free skies make the area a stargazer’s dream. See earth­and­skynz.com

OA­MARU VIC­TO­RIAN PRECINCT

Through a mir­a­cle of con­ser­va­tion, the orig­i­nal 19th-cen­tury part of this south­ern coastal town is still in ac­tion with bou­tiques and gal­leries selling sec­ond­hand books, jew­ellery, cloth­ing and tra­di­tional crafts.

The exquisitely beau­ti­ful build­ings are made from the lo­cal white lime­stone and be­cause this is NZ there’s also Steam­punk HQ, a quirky sci-fi take on 19th cen­tury tech­nol­ogy. See vic­to­ri­anoa­maru.co.nz steam­punkoa­maru.co.nz

MANAPOURI POWER STA­TION

Aus­tralia may have the Snowy Moun­tains Scheme, but it ain’t got nuthin’ like Manapouri. Con­sid­ered to be NZ’s great­est en­gi­neer­ing feat, Manapouri is the coun­try’s largest hy­dro-elec­tric power sta­tion and is built al­most en­tirely un­der­ground.

Sea­sonal tours (Novem­ber to April) take visi­tors across Lake Manapouri (part of the Fiord­land World Her­itage Area and awe-in­spir­ing in it­self ) to a visi­tor cen­tre.

From there, a coach heads down a 2km spi­ral tun­nel to the power sta­tion’s vast ma­chine hall. It’s like a mad col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Dr Evil from the Austin Pow­ers movies and the MONA dude in Ho­bart, 200m in­side a gran­ite moun­tain. See re­aljour­neys.co.nz

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