New Zealand is home to some spectacular attractions, both natural and man-made. From ancient trees to sea-like lakes, check out these three enormous attractions whilst enjoying your next family getaway.
New Zealand may be a fair bit smaller than neighbouring Australia, but Aotearoa can still hold its own when it comes to the subject of size. Dotted around this most beautiful of countries are both natural and man-made attractions that make you feel insignificant in their presence – but what a sight they each are. Across the North Island, gargantuan displays of grandeur can be found, and with Wyndham resorts at Rotorua and Paihia, you’ll be well placed to seek each of them out as you take that well deserved holiday.
The Mighty Kauri
One of the world’s largest tree species, many of the kauri forests that once covered much of New Zealand’s North Island have now gone, due to a mixture of natural fires and over-logging. However, in the North Island’s upper reaches, several of these forests still remain, and giants lurk within.
Waipoua Forest is easily the biggest and best preserved of these, and there are several designated kauri walks that will bring you face-to-trunk with these monsters. A wooded path snakes through these millennia-old trees, each more remarkable than the last. You can get right up close and touch ‘Yakas’ – the seventh-largest kauri in existence, though you may feel ant-like in his presence.
Keep going and visit the ‘Four Sisters’ – a group of four impressive kauri growing very closely together. Meander back, past ‘Cathedral Grove’ – a viewing platform that looks out into the ancient woodland beyond – and hit the giant’s trail once again. In a little over ten minutes, as the path twists this way and that, your breath will be knocked from your lungs as you encounter ‘Te Matua Ngahere’ (The Lord of the Forest). This tree boasts a monstrous girth of over 16 metres and is believed to be over 2,000 years old, and is arguably an even more impressive sight than its near neighbour, the enormous ‘Tane Mahuta,’ (Lord of the Forest).
Lake Taupo resembles more of an inland sea than a lake, such is its immense size. It is, in fact, the biggest freshwater lake in Australasia – its surface area alone is the size of Singapore. That’s not even to mention its daunting depth – Lake Taupo plunges to a scary 159 metres from the surface to lake bed.
The lake is a magnet for those that love to take in a bit of fresh air. With jetboating, paragliding, snorkeling, and fishing all enjoyed this enormous body of water, there’s little chance you’ll get bored. You can even have a round of golf – we’re not joking! Every so often, a tiny pontoon appears on Lake Taupo’s surface, complete with three holes. From the shore 100 metres away, can you hit a spectacular hole-in-one? It’s insanely tough – but big money awaits the person who can hit the ball cleanly into the hole, which happens once every 8-10 days…
The Sky Tower
Soaring from Auckland’s modern skyline, the Sky Tower is the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest free-standing skyscraper, measuring some 328 metres from ground level to the tip of the spire. What’s more, on a clear day, the Sky Tower can be seen for more than 82 kilometres in each direction – dwarfing even the aforementioned kauri trees!
The Sky Tower is much more than a simply enormous structure, however. It comprises of a number of award-winning restaurants and bars, including the incredible Orbit – a rotating eatery replete with huge glass windows, allowing for 360-degree views of the city.
Why not take in a nerve-racking Sky Walk – a death-defying tip-toe around the building’s outer rim, from a height of 192 metres? If that’s not enough of a rush for you, take a leap of faith from the same platform with SkyJump – with a length of bungee rope attached to your ankle, of course!