New Zealand: A Magical and Unique Destination

This past fall I took a trip with three of my friends to the north island of New Zealand. Being from New York, I had not known much about this magical country. I had just two familiarities before this trip. One was the breathtaking scenes I had watched during The Lord of the Rings franchise. The other was what I have heard about there being a higher population of sheep than people.

These expectations were exceeded. Everywhere you turn in Aukland is simply gorgeous.

Here are a few notable destinations in the area:

The first day we took a visit to a black sand beach and hiking area, called Piha. We stood with the dark sand between our toes and I could not believe my eyes of the beauty around us. The luscious greenery of the untouched rocky mountainside against the refreshing sea left us in awe. A feeling that became familiar to us during this week. The beach was enjoyed by a few beach-goers, local surfers, and a hand full of hikers around the mountains of the beach. One thing about the Aukland area is that it is not overrun with tourists, which makes the experience that much more pleasurable.

Next, we were off to see New Zealand’s volcanic hot springs at a geothermic park called “Hell’s Gate” in a city called Rotorua. This brought yet another “I cannot believe what my eyes are seeing” moment. We were able to walk through the active mud pools. The extreme contrast between the molten ash and lush foliage was something I have never experienced before. There is even an active volcano on the premises! After the walking tour of the springs, we were able to go into the sulphurous mud pool. This removes excess oils from the skin, which left us feeling soft and refreshed. If you ever visit this great wonder of the Earth, you will receive instruction to steer clear of putting the mud anywhere near your eyes… listen to these instructions! I failed to do so and all I have to say about that is OW.

As we made our way back to the city of Aukland, we decided to visit a Cornwall Park. I guess you could loosely compare this Cornwall Park in Aukland to Central Park in NYC but subtract the stress of running into the people and add hundreds of sheep grazing the fields. We spent a morning strolling around the herds of sheep, ate some mouthwatering “Hokey Pokey” ice cream (an infamous NZ delicacy), and trekked up a small mountain in the center of the park, where you could view the whole city!

If I ever had the opportunity to return and see more of the kiwi life, I would hop on that 14+ hour plane from New York in a heartbeat. This travel destination would be something I would recommend to anyone. The people are friendly, inviting, and easygoing and the terrain of the area is one of the most unique and lovely in the world.